September 17, 2008

Ricotta Cheese

how can you beat homemade cheese?

Ricotta Cheese / Cottage Cheese / Paneer

Makes 1 lb (16 oz)

1/2 gallon whole milk (or half and half) *
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons) **

  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, slowly bring the milk and the lemon juice to 200 degrees F. Remove from heat and cover. Place in a spot where the temperature will remain uniform (we suggest an unheated oven).

  2. After 1 hour, strain the curds and whey through cheesecloth.

  3. If making cottage cheese, add a touch of cream to the curds and enjoy!

  4. If making ricotta cheese, tie the corners of the cloth to form a bag and hang it to drain overnight.

  5. If making paneer, shape the paneer still in the cheese cloth, into a block, wrapping it tightly with the cloth. Put a heavy pot on top of a cutting board on top of the paneer to force out more moisture, resulting in a firmer block, suitable for slicing and frying. The longer you press the cheese, the firmer it gets. Not all Indian dishes requires cheese to be made into solid blocks.

* may use 1 quart milk and 1 quart buttermilk

** may be substituted with lime juice, vinegar, or other acidic liquids

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