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.

9 comments:

  1. Yum. It looks amazingly good!

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  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.

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  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?

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  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.

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

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  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.

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  7. Muh!!!!!

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

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  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. [...]

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