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Homemade Cheese

The other day when I stopped by, Great Fermentations, to pick-up some winemaking supplies, Anita gave me a taste of a Ricotta Cheese marinated in red wine that they had just made. OMG … it was incredible.

So … of course … I asked for the recipe… so that I could share it with you.

Supplies such as, mesophilic starter, cheese salt, etc. can be found at Great Fermentations, 5127 E. 65th Street.

Other fun things you’ll find there are wine kits that make winemaking easy, beer making kits, cheese kits, fermenters, and people with a passion for and a great knowledge of fermenting.

For me, it’s like walking into my favorite “toy” store.

And, if Anita’s busy when you get there, no problem, all the folks at Great Fermentations are incredibly knowledgeable and ready to help. It’s a great store run by great people.

If you make the cheese or check out the store, I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Whey Ricotta
Originally from Italy, ricotta is a delicious, soft, fresh curd cheese used extensively in Italian cooking. It’s made from ewe’s-milk whey, but this recipe is a variation for those of us who don’t have a milking sheep in our backyard. You must use fresh whey.

2 gallons fresh whey, no more than 3 hours old
1 qt whole milk, for increased yield (optional)
¼ cup cider vinegar
4 oz prepared mesophilic starter, to improve flavor (optional)
½ tsp cheese salt (optional)
Herbs (optional)
2 tbls light or heavy cream (optional)

Pour the whey into a large pot.

Add the milk, if desired.

Heat the mixture to 200 degrees F.

While stirring, turn off the heat and add the vinegar. You’ll notice tiny white particles of precipitated albuminous protein.

Carefeully ladle the curds into a colander lined with butter muslin. Allow it to drain.

If desired, fold in the mesophilic starter.

When the muslin is cool enough to handle, tie the corners into a knot and hang the bag over the sink to drain for several hours.

When the cheese stops draining, untie the muslin and place the cheese in a bowl.

Add the salt and the Herbs, if desired.

For a richer, moister cheese, add a small amount of cream.

You can cover the bowl and refrigerate for up to one week … or … form into a log and marinate in your favorite red wine. Then, served sliced.

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