What to do with Five Pints of Raw Milk – Make Ricotta!
I love ricotta! I can eat is by the tubfull and still go back for more. Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration; when Adriana and Gabriele used to have their wonderful cheese stall in Edinburgh Farmers’ Market, I would buy a tub of the most amazing ricotta and a punnet of dusky, fragrant raspberries. By the time I got back to the car, gobbets of cheese would have been scoffed along with the juicy berries. I’ve never really gotten over the loss of these two incredible cheesemakers, (see here as to why).
This week I was fortunate to have been given some raw milk. Yes, you read right … RAW MILK! My readers south of the border may wonder what all the fuss is about, but those of us in bonny Scotland have been deprived of buying unpasteurised milk for far too long. I grew up on its lactic deliciousness. It is unlike any other milk – it’s rich, it’s creamy, it’s full of goodness.
For a long time now, I’ve been hankering to make ricotta, but couldn’t be arsed and it would’ve cost a fair few quid to make. Besides, I wanted to make it with raw milk. So now with all the ingredients, there is no excuse to procrastinate any longer, !
The recipe used called for 8 pints of milk. With only 3 pints (well actually I had more like five but wanted to use the rest for drinking, making rice pudding and/or custard).
It’s very simple to make ricotta, but does take a wee while for it to go from its raw, liquid state to an unctuous, creamy mound for breakfast.
First, you heat the milk until 180F with either white wine vinegar or citric acid (I used the latter made into a solution with warm water) and salt, which is optional. This is best done in a stainless steel pan.
Once the milk has reached the correct temperature, you should be able to see the curds separate from the whey. Mine didn’t so I added a little more citric acid. Cover the pan and leave for about half an hour. Some recipes say an hour, others say three! Take your pick.
Pour the curds and whey into a muslin-lined colander, cover and leave for another couple of hours.
Once drained, I put the curds and muslin into a plastic cheese form, popped it back in the bowl, left it for another hour or so. I then tipped the curds out from the muslin and back into the mould, then put that back in a bowl, covered with the muslin and shoved it back in the fridge overnight.
This was the result. For my first attempt, I was pretty pleased with the result. We had it with Scottish strawberries, homemade gooseberry jam and Dunkeld Smoked Salmon.
The whey won’t go to waste, it’s been frozen to be used in bread making and soup!
#SupportingDairyFarmers and Year of Food and Drink Scotland, 2015
(c) Lea Harris, Off the Eaten Track, 2015.