July 29, 2009

Home Creamery: Ricotta Salata

Ricotta Salata

A couple of weeks ago I was out at Kookoolan Farms to take a goat cheese class. While I was there I picked up a nice basket mold for ricotta salata. Raw goat milk was available at a nearby farm. I had everything I needed to try to make ricotta salata.

Ricotta Salata 1I decided to follow, more or less, the instructions in Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It. First, I made a batch of Whole Milk Ricotta using a full gallon of raw goat milk. I used the two-pan method to heat the milk; that's milk in a smaller pan, water in a larger pan, small pan into the water. I find it gives much better control with much less risk of scorching.

Ricotta Salata 3

The curds are fairly fragile at first, so I carefully ladled them into a colander line with butter muslin. Ricotta Salata 4Then I used a food-safe rubber band to make the muslin into a bag and hang it from the skimmer to let the cheese drain.

Ricotta Salata 5After an hour, I carefully transferred the curds to the ricotta mold. I used a bit of plastic over the cheese, then set a plate on top and a can of tomatoes on the plate to use as a weight.Ricotta Salata 6

The instructions say to remove the cheese from the mold after an hour and turn it over. That didn't seem reasonable because of the shape of the mold, so I added more weight and continued to press the cheese for about 8 hours.

When I was satisfied that it was drained as thoroughly as it would be, I unmolded the cheese and salted it liberally with cheese salt. Then I wrapped it in cheesecloth and put it into the refrigerator. Every couple of days for the next two weeks I salted the cheese and changed the cheesecloth.

The cheese turned out very tasty and fairly creamy, with a slight hint of goaty-ness. It isn't a grateable cheese, but that's just a matter of continuing to age it before tasting.

Overall, I'm rather pleased with the result, especially because this was my first attempt at making a semi-hard cheese. Now that I know cheesemaking isn't really all that difficult, I'll try some longer-aging cheeses.


  1. Yum. It looks amazingly good!

  2. Thanks! I was really pleased that my first attempt at a molded cheese turned out so well. It's really much easier than I had feared it would be.

  3. Forgive my simple question but I don't know a thing about making cheese and it sounds very interesting. Can you use pasteurized goats milk to make the cheese?

  4. You can use pasteurized milk, just not ultra-pasteurized. Any milk will work fine, cow, goat, or sheep. Probably buffalo as well if you can get it. I used goat milk because I had some raw goat milk to use. I had originally planned to use cow milk. It would have worked fine, but tasted different.

  5. Which milk do you prefer best in terms of flavor?

  6. It depends on the cheese. For ricotta I prefer cow milk, but for ricotta salata, I really like the result from raw goat milk.

  7. Muh!!!!!

    I like to make it with bufalo milk ! more fat...and Iusualy prepaire fill with smoke....

  8. [...] To keep the lightness in this dish, it’s best to use a fresh pasta. We’re enjoying trying out different ones from Valicenti Organico, and have had great success combining the kale with such flavors as Sriracha, carrot and dill, and hemp; here, we chose a seasonally-inspired garlic chive linguine. Kale as a salad is pleasing enough to stand on its own, and can be made more substantial with some cooked whole grains, such as farro or wheat berries, tossed in. A further variation is to add some fresh herbs, and spring mint is a current favorite. If ricotta salata isn’t available, feta can be used instead, or try making it yourself. [...]