This will be an update on my ongoing experiments in ricotta making. In the first post on the subject I described the different methods I have tried so far, all very interesting. [You may want to read that before you you move on.] I ended the post by outlining the following course of action:
My plan for the immediate future is to repeat recipe #3 using less citric acid to evaluate the difference, then keep some agra for the next time, when I will repeat recipe #4.
Recipe #3 is the recipe at the bottom of this page (How to make this cheese: Ricotta from Whey). I made Manchego according to the recipe in the book Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll1, using 1 gallon of whole milk and 1 gallon of non-fat milk, all organic cow milk. I estimated that the resulting whey (siero di latte) was 1.5 gallon and followed the recipe for ricotta referenced above, adding 1.5 cups of milk to increase the yield, salt as indicated, and using 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid. The ricotta coagulated well: I scooped it and drained it using my ricotta mold (in the photo). The yield was about 12.5 oz. (350 g). I ate 3.5 oz. (100 g) with just a bit of sweetener, to assess its characteristics, and used the rest to make a nice dessert (which will be the subject of a future post). I saved a pint-size bottle of the leftover acidified whey (to use as agra) and stored it in a cool place (I saved another pint and the stored it in the fridge, as a backup).
A week later, I made the same cheese with the same quantity of milk and made ricotta as explained above, except that, instead of adding the citric acid, I poured in the pot the bottle of agra I had set aside. The ricotta coagulated well, as before. The yield was again about 12.5 oz. (350 g) and again I ate 3.5 oz. (100 g) and used the rest to make the same dessert. The ricotta was a bit more flavorful, and texture-wise a bit creamier than the one made I had made with citric acid. I am happy with the way my experiments are progressing: I am enjoying myself and the results of my efforts are quite good.2
Addendum: Since the beginning of my cheese-making adventure, I have been experimenting with different types of milk (cow and goat) and with cow milk of different fat contents. In both cases described above, I added non-fat milk to the whey. This is subject to change as I continue my experiments. I also need to quantify the acidity of the acidified whey I add and evaluate the effect of its variability.3 [The photo on the right was taken after I originally published this post and shows a batch of ricotta after I unmolded it.]
My previous post on ricotta was connected to the Home Creamery Event organized by Kirstin of Vin de la Table. This month the event is about making buttermilk at home. You can read the announcement here.
1 In step 4 of the recipe, I stirred the cubes with a whisk gently for a few minutes until they were cut into small pieces. Then I moved on to step 5.
2 Here is an example of something I made using my ricotta as ingredient.
3 Here you can read a bit more on this subject.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the ricotta fatta in casa audio file [mp3].