Ricotta Cheese

making ricotta cheese

Making ricotta cheese

Ricotta is a low-fat, spreadable cheese made by reheating the whey once you have removed the curds for pressing into cheese. The word Ricotta is Italian for recooked. While some prefer it mixed with sugar and then spread on bread, others season it with salt and pepper and use it as a savoury spread.

I had tried making ricotta cheese before but had never had much luck. So I decided to look on Internet to see what temperature the whey should be heated to. I discovered that 94ºC – just below boiling point – was the magic temperature.

It is important not to let the whey boil as this will toughen the curds.

Heat the whey on a medium heat to 94ºC. Once it the liquid has reached this temperature, the creamy curds will float to the top of the pan.

Straining the ricotta cheese

Straining the ricotta cheese

Skim off the curds into a piece of muslin. I used a jam bag and stand and a fine-meshed sieve.

How long you leave the cheese to drain for will depend on how firm you want the finished cheese to be. After a couple of hours, the cheese was still quite moist and spreadable. I seasoned it with salt and pepper, added some lemon zest and chives and mixed well and it was delicious.

ricotta3The colour of the whey changes drastically once the curds have been removed and it almost looks greenish.