I Made Cheese!

I think I feel like some of you do when you've made your first loaf of bread.  That I-can't-believe-it-actually-worked feeling.

My challenge led me to trying my hand at a lemon ricotta.  No real special equipment was needed, and the process was easy.

 I heated whole milk to 175 degrees, added in lemon juice and waited for the mixture to curdle, and the liquid to become clear.  The mixture was drained into a colander lined with cheesecloth and then hung to drain for a couple hours. 

The only time I buy ricotta is for a lasagna or pizza recipe.  Usually we end up with part of a container leftover that sits around in the fridge for a while until we toss it.  I've never thought of it as something that has tremendous flavor or use.

Not so here.  This ricotta is so creamy, with a hint of lemon flavor.  I've been making Olivia pizza sandwiches with it, and there have been no complaints that it tastes weird.

We've had it on toast in the morning, crostini with chives sprinkled on top at dinner.  A couple dollops have gone into salads.  Very versatile in other words.

I needed to use three lemons, probably a considerable amount more than a half-cup of juice cited in the recipe, perhaps 3/4 cup.  I kept adding a 1/4 cup of lemon juice at a time and then waiting 15 minutes to see the effects before adding more.  According to the directions, the amount of lemon juice needed depends on the acidity of your lemons.

The recipe calls for chives or other herbs to be added in at the end.  I decided to leave mine plain once I tasted it.  I prefer chives to be added as a condiment, and then the ricotta has more uses. 

I was able to use local whole milk here, which really made me feel like I had a homemade product.  Mr. Savory wants to know what other cheeses I can try making.  I plan on finding that out soon, as this was a fun and rewarding challenge.