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Homemade Ricotta with Pho Herbs. Photo by Make Things Well.
Making ricotta at home is really, really easy. No seriously. You can have freshly made cheese in a few hours plus a quart or so of whey. Never used whey before? It's a secret ingredient for marinating meat as well as adding an interesting tart-umami for sauces and soups. I personally like to use whey as part of a foam to top pasta dishes. It's so light and airy but provides this backbone you can't quite place but can definitely taste.
One of my favorite spins on homemade ricotta is to mix in some herbs you find in pho: culantro, ngo om, grated ginger, charred onion. But there's nothing wrong with some simple honey for a sweet touch or high quality extra virgin olive oil for a savory spread. Ricotta is a malleable base for anything you can think of!
- 1 quart high-quality milk (if you can get un-homogenized milk, awesome; if you can get raw milk, even better)
- 2oz vinegar (I like lemon juice or champagne vinegar)
1. Bring your sous vide container up to 78C.
2. Pour milk and vinegar into a large gallon-sized Ziplock bag and submerge into water, removing air at the top.
3. Cook 1 hour.
4. Strain mixture into a fine cheesecloth over a large container.
5. Let drain 1 hour in refrigerator.
6. Wrap curds in cheesecloth and squeeze tightly to remove remaining whey. Save whey for later use.
7. Now you can either use the curds as-is, whip them for a fluffy ricotta (simply whip in a food processor), or press them into more solid blocks to use as a paneer-esque substitute.