Friday, March 22, 2013

You can make Homemade Cheese?!?

My sister is the best present giver. This year she turned into a mind reader. Awhile back my friend Amanda had made homemade cheese and posted about it and I was obsessed with this concept and really wanted to try myself. I never told my sis, but for Christmas this is what I had waiting under the tree.

YES! And while making cheese, I had great tunes to listen to. For my birthday she got me the greatest speaker on the planet, which I just so happened to have pinned on pinterest and she didn't even know. She just saw a weird ceramic bear and thought of me!

 So on to the cheese making.

Here is the recipe courtesy of the DIY Cheese Kit:

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

1/2 cup cool water
1 tsp citric acid
1 gallon milk
1 tsp cheese salt

Other tools:
Large pot (5 quarts or larger)
Cooking thermometer
Fine Cheesecloth

1. Pour water into a small bowl and stir in citric acid
2. Pour milk into large pot and add citric acid solution and cheese salt and stir well.

3. Set the pot over medium heat and gently check the bottom of the pot with a spoon every 2 minutes or so, so there is no scorching. Avoid stirring as much as possible to allow curds to form. If the milk seems to be sticking, reduce the heat. Heat the milk to 180-185 degrees.
4. As soon as the curds and why separate clearly (you will see white curds floating in yellow whey when you move the curds), turn of the heat. Let stand, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.

5. Line a colander with cheesecloth then carefully pour the curds and whey into the colander. Drain until the cheese reaches the desired consistency, 15 to 30 minutes. To expedite the process, gently lift the cheese cloth by the corners and rock the curds around.
Here are my tidbits on the whole process. This is a lot of work and you need a helper. I was impatient waiting for the curds to form. I may have stirred too much, but it did come out just fine. The draining took a long time to not have a really watery cheese. I feel like the cheese cloth got all clogged with cheese at a point and nothing more was draining. We finally got it to the right consistency, but ended up using a fine mesh colander we have.

The cheese was delightful and I was pleased with the result after all that work! This is what I did with my cheese.

Roasted Vegetable and Ricotta Pizza

1 pizza dough (I bought a TJ's Whole Wheat)
3/4 cup of homemade ricotta cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
Half a package of fresh baby spinach
1 cup sliced red pepper
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup chopped onions
balsamic vinegar
olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 375. (Usually you put the oven at 450 for the pizza stone, but that would be too hot for the veggies)
2. Sprinkle oil, salt and pepper over pepper and mushrooms on a baking sheet and cook in the oven at 375 for about 20 minutes.
3. Saute onions in olive oil until cooked. Add in balsamic vinegar and removed from heat.
4. Saute spinach in olive oil quickly. It doesn't need much since it will also get to cook in the oven.
5. Raise the temperature up to 450.
6. Stretch the dough out.
7. First sprinkle down the mozzarella.
8. Then add spinach, peppers, mushrooms, and balsamic glazed onions.
9. Finally dollop ricotta cheese on top and spread around.
10. Cook for roughly 18 minutes.

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