Waste-Free CHEEEEESE: Ricotta

Last month I tried my hand at making some homemade ricotta cheese, and I am convinced this is the easiest thing in the world to make, because I did not screw it up!

I borrowed the recipe from one of my favorite blogs: Modern Hippie Housewife.  She has a lot of other great ideas and recipes for homemade products that end up being far less waste-full than store-bought options.

This was my first attempt at making ricotta using just cheesecloth, whole milk, salt, and vinegar.  *Next time I think I will add some herbs.

Here is what I did:    

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1. Combined milk and salt in a large pot and then heated over medium. I stirred the mixture every 30 seconds – 2 minutes until the milk heated to 203 degrees Fahrenheit, or 95 degrees Celsius.

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2. At tempture, I removed pot from the heat and stirred vinegar in a figure eight (MHH recommended “about 4 times,” so that is exactly what I did). The vinegar curdled the milk and separated the curds from the whey. I let this stand for 30 minutes.

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3. I covered a large bowl with folded cheesecloth (mine was HUGE!). You should at least fold your own cloth in half (double-lined). Also, be sure that your cloth is long enough to tie up the corners. I scooped the curds using a slotted spoon into the cheesecloth bowl.

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4. Once curds are all in the cheesecloth, tie up the corners and tie it somewhere to strain for 30 minutes. I copied MHH and tied to our wet bar sink.

IMG_06805. That’s it! You can keep the ricotta in the fridge for up to 4 days, but I used mine right away to make ricotta gnocchi (Zamparelli’s Italian Bistro, that fresh ricotta is delicious mixed with great olive oil, mint, basil, and parsley, and then topped on roasted or grilled zucchini.

Check out the MHH recipe–> here.

How I made this recipe waste-free/waste-conscious:

This recipe used minimal waste because I purchased my whole milk in a returnable glass bottle, and used salt and vinegar that was purchased either in bulk or in a recyclable container. Finally, and perhaps most obviously, by making this delicious fresh cheese at home we stayed away from extra store packaging.

Give it a try!

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