Homemade Ricotta Cheese

When I made mozzarella cheese, I discovered that you can make ricotta cheese with just a few steps.  The word ricotta actually means cooked twice and that is what you do.  You take the left over whey and cook it again.

How. Much. Fun!!

So much fun, in fact, that I forgot to take some of the pictures so pay extra attention so you don’t forget a step!

Here is what you need:

All of the whey left over from the mozzarella cheese.

1/8 cup of vinegar

(You can add about 1 cup of milk at this point to increase the yield if you want.)

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Add the vinegar to the pot with the whey and cook to 180 degrees. (Add the milk here as well if desired.)

photo(31)Line a colander with cheese cloth and slowly pour the whey into the cloth.  Hang it and let it drain for a couple of hours  (Yes….that is a pony tail holder hanging from my kitchen faucet!!  🙂 )  Whey is rich in nutrients.  If you don’t want to throw it out, here are some ideas of how to use it.

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When the cheese is ready it will be dry and crumbly.  This yielded 8 ounces of ricotta cheese.

photo(34)Add salt if desired and store in refrigerator until ready to use. Lasagna……..HERE WE COME!!!

Find out how to make your own lasagna noodles.

HOMEMADE AMERICAN CHEESE

cheeseA few weeks ago a friend of mine and I were at lunch talking about our most recent adventures in the kitchen and I proclaimed, “I am tired of buying velveeta cheese!”  She literally flapped her arms erratically and told me that she had come a cross a recipe for it on Pinterest.  I pulled out my phone and we looked at it.  I stopped at the store on the way home from lunch and made it that afternoon.  (Yes….I DO have issues!)

I was so excited.

And then I wasn’t.

Now…..American Test Kitchen did in fact create a recipe for American cheese.  It makes wonderful grilled cheese sandwiches.  I makes fantastic sliced cheese.  But the all time favorite chile con queso….it does NOT.  I have, however, made several batches of this cheese and will never buy individually wrapped slices of American cheese.  (I say never loosely.  There will be a time when I am in a crunch and will buy it or I will find it on sale so cheap that I can’t resist.)

If you want a similiar recipe that you can make melty velveeta chile con queso out of go here.)

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Here is the Recipe:

1 TBS water

1 1/2 tsp powdered gelatine

12 ounces Colby Cheese, grated

1 TBS Whole Milk Powder

1 Tsp salt

⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 Cup plus 2 TBS whole milk

NOTE: Whole milk powder cannot be substituted for non-fat dry milk powder.  That yellow can there in the picture is what you want.  I found it at Wal-Mart in the Hispanic food section.  It is all in Spanish….I can’t read a word of it!  Once you have a can of it, you will be hooked. You can use it to substitute milk in recipes!!

NOTE #2: You CANNOT buy pre-shredded cheese.  They add cellulose to it so it won’t clump.  It will ruin this recipe!

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Pour your water in a bowl and sprinkle your gelatin over it.  Set aside.

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Grate your cheese.  (I did this in my food processor and then had to dump it in a bowl to change out the blade.  Not my smartest move!)

IMG_4831Line your loaf pan with saran wrap.  This mini-loaf pan is what I had on hand.  The best pan to use is a 5X4.  My cheese ended up a little short.

IMG_4829Sprinkle your milk powder, salt, and cream of tartar across the top.

IMG_4830Pulse a few times to mix it all together.

IMG_4834 Heat the milk until boiling and then whisk together with the gelatin/water.

IMG_4835Pour into food processor.

IMG_4836Pulse in the processor until your cheese is nice and creamy.  Use a rubber spatula to spread into your bread loaf pan, and refrigerate.  (I forgot to take a picture! :))  Press firmly and wrap the saran wrap over the top.  refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Now….  You can add flavors to this cheese.  I am going to make some pepper jack and tomato basil!  YUMMY!!!  Just add the ingredients when you add the salt.)

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