Sunday, July 22, 2012

Homemade Creamy Goat Ricotta

i must admit i have never had much interest in ricotta cheese...until NOW!  i don't cook lasagna, cannoli, ravioli, blinis, blintzes, or too many cheesy things.  i'd rather partake in cheeses with a bit more flavor, like Saint Agur or Saint Andre, Cambazola...or a Triple Cream Goat Brie...just to name a few.  BUT i was watching Alex Guarneschelli's show about one of her favorite decadent breakfast ideas.  the show about homemade sausage, warm pop-overs, fresh peach preserves AND this homemade fresh ricotta.  she made it all look sooooo good and soooo easy i had to give it a try.

you know me...always with a twist....

i love making cheese and yogurts...
 there's something so fabulous about a fresh cheese hanging in the kitchen.
even when the day isn't going as planned i know i'm doing something right when cheese is hanging or yogurt is in the corner nestling under a bundle of towels.

i've made quite a few dairy products in my day...  goat cheese and Skyr (Icelandic yogurt) are my favorites... mozzarella is my downfall...just can't get it right,
BUT i have redeemed my Italian cheese making with this ricotta.  it is so easy and it's really soooo creamy and delicious.  it goes with just about any breakfast bread you can think of...muffins, pancakes, waffles, bagels, etc.... now i'll put ricotta on anything.   i DO, however,  have the slightest feeling it IS quite fattening, but i give myself a hall pass when it comes to calcium and protein rich foods...
who am i kidding...? 


i'm not the slightest bit ashamed to admit i went out and bought these carrot muffins at my favorite Mexican bakery just to slather this dreamy creamy goat ricotta on each bite.
i might not have baked the muffins, but i sure did make the ricotta and proud of will be to.

adapted from Alex Guarnaschelli.  i changed it slightly because i had 4 cups of goat milk.  check original for comments from other happy ricotta makers.

1 cup heavy cream
4 cups goat milk
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 tsp your taste

in a sauce pan, bring cream, milk, buttermilk to a simmer over medium heat.  start slow so as not to scald the milk on the bottom.  stir lightly.  when it starts to reach 175 F try not to stir.   as it heats to a full simmer you will see solids start to rise and the top begin to form a "raft".  do not stir in.  the "raft" happened at 210 F degrees for me.  turn off the heat and allow to sit for 20 minutes.

line a strainer with 4-5 layers of cheese cloth.  use a large spoon to scoop the solids from the surface into the strainer.  slowly pour the remainder, very gently, over the solids in the strainer, allowing the liquid to flow through  the strainer.   if the strainer gets too full, just wait for a few minutes to finish pouring.  if it doesn't seem to be draining very much at all, carefully run a spoon along the bottom of the cheese cloth to allow liquid to drain.  when all is in the strainer, let sit this way for 30-45 minutes or until you think you can pick up the corners and tie up as shown in photos.  i let mine drain in tied up pouch for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  my end result is so delicious and creamy kind of like a whipped cream cheese.  you can let it hang for as long as you want to get the consistency you are looking for.  remember it will thicken in the cold fridge and it's better to err on the side of moist rather than dry and stiff.  you can always strain it more later by setting it in a bowl with paper towels and more moisture will be drawn out.  i don't cook lasagna, but i think you might want it a little on the thicker side for that and other recipes.
when done, transfer to a clean bowl and stir in some salt.  i usually get about 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups creamy moist ricotta and i use about 1/2 tsp salt.  taste test before putting the whole 1/2 tsp in.

NOTE...i forgot to add that this makes about 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cup depending on how long you hang the cheese and how thick you like it.

OR...flavor with fresh herbs like chives, dill, rosemary, thyme...
serve with a drizzle of olive oil or i've seen it with honey...
this stuff is fabulous on anything!

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