A friend of ours was caring for pregnant cow that was due to give birth in December. Turns out she was a little farther along than anyone thought and the baby calf was born, full-term, this week! Because of this unexpected blessing my friend had a surplus of fresh milk. She was kind enough to give us two quarts to try out.
We have never had actual, farm-fresh milk before and were excited to try it out. It was quite yummy, richer and sweeter than what you would find on your grocer’s shelves. Even store bought whole milk doesn’t compare!
We are not a heavy milk drinking household so we decided to use the milk to make ricotta cheese. Earlier this summer I watched a video at Gardenfork TV on how to make ricotta at home. I made a small batch using store bought whole milk, it turned out well and was very easy to make. I was anxious to see if there would be a difference in flavor by using actual fresh milk.
- For every 2 cups of milk add 2 tablespoons of vinegar.
- Using a large pot, bring the milk up to 165º. If it gets a little hotter it’s no big deal, it can actually go up to 185º with no noticeable difference.
- Be careful not to stir too much. I made this mistake and my ricotta ended up rubbery like mozzarella.
- Remove from heat and allow to sit for a few minutes to cool down.
- Using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, strain your milk. This will allow the curds to separate from the whey. (You can freeze the leftover whey to use in recipes, I hear it is wonderful in homemade bread!)
- The longer you allow the curds to strain the crumblier they will be. This is up to you.
Using fresh milk gave the cheese a richer flavor overall. I wish I hadn’t made the mistake of stirring too much, I was really in the mood for a nice, creamy ricotta! Oh well, the ”mozzarella-like” finished product was still yummy!