This past summer, I kept seeing gorgeous photos in foodie magazines of ricotta cheese slathered on grilled bread and garnished with herbs and olive oil. When I was served a winery salad that included baked ricotta, I became intrigued. I’ve heard of homemade ricotta cheese, but I didn’t know how easy it was until I did a little research. A lot of recipes I stumbled on used lemon juice or vinegar, but a couple from The Lee Brothers’ Simple Fresh Southern cookbook and aboutfood.com just used buttermilk combined with whole milk. All that was needed was heating. The Lee Brothers added salt to theirs, but I prefer to add the seasonings later to have more control over the flavorings to correspond to how the ricotta cheese will be used. This versatile spread can be mixed with herbs and served with crackers or baked to be cubed and put in a salad as a nice change from the usual ubiquitous goat cheese.
The recipe for Tomato Party on Toast, shown above, can be found by clicking here
The recipe for baked ricotta cheese and a great salad, shown below, can be found by clicking here
Ingredients and Directions:
You will need 1 cup of buttermilk for every 4 cups of whole milk
Grab a pan, cooking thermometer, colander, and enough cheese cloth to line the colander.
Pour the milk and buttermilk into the pan. Heat over medium heat until the temperature reaches 180 degrees F and you can see the liquid separating into clumps of solids. Take the pan off the heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Place the cheesecloth lined colander over a bowl to catch the liquids and ladle the mixture into it. Give the liquids a chance to drain out, then gather up the edges of the cheese cloth and twist the ends together to squeeze a bit more of the liquid out. The bundle can sit this way for up to 30 minutes before it is either served or refrigerated for later use such as in a cheese cake or lasagna. The longer it sits the firmer it will be. It’s great blended with any herbs or lemon zest and served right away with crackers as part of a cheese board or platter.