This just in:
“Hey, Eben; loved the eggplant thing, but really would like a more in depth treatment of the homemade cheese, specifically, pictures like you did with the pasta thing. Can you do that, please?”
I can! Here’s a reprint of the ricotta recipe with pics.
½ gallon whole milk
½ gallon buttermilk
Pour all your milk into a non reactive pan over medium high heat; use the best pan you got, preferably one with a nice thick bottom to store heat well.
Milks starting their heat run on medium high; notice the nice, thick base on the stainless pan.
Stir the milk just about non-stop, taking care to check the bottom of the pan often, making sure that things aren’t burning.
Checking the temp often; on this run, separation began at about 110 degrees F.
As the milk gets hot, you’re gonna see curds starting to rise to the surface. As you see this happening, use a flat whisk or spatula to scrape the bottom and free up more curds, (Yes, they will get their whey… Sorry, couldn’t resist…)
Curds and whey starting to visibly separate
Snag a large colander or chinoise, the wider the better. Line the colander with cheese cloth; if you use real cheese cloth, you need a good 6+ layers to avoid stuff running through too much. On a tip from Michael Ruhlman in his book, Ratios, I bought some cheap, plain white handkerchiefs and use them for straining and after a good washing; they do a much better job, are reusable and are generally more satisfying to work with.
Stainless colander lined with 6 layers of cheesecloth.
When your milk mixture gets to roughly 175º F, you’ll see the curds and whey begin to separate; (The curds are the white globs and the whey is the watery leftovers, FYI).
At 165 degrees F, very distinct separation!
Pull your pan off the heat and with a ladle, carefully transfer your curds to the lined colander; do NOT press on the curds; let the moisture leave of its own accord!
Spooning off the fresh curds
Really nothing left at this point but whey
Gently grab the corners of your cloth, draw them together and tie ‘em with kitchen twine, (You DO have kitchen twine, right?) Let the cheese drain and cool for about 20 minutes.
There ya go, (Makes you want to say Braaaaaiiiiiiins, doesn’t it?)
My favorite draining trick; string tied to faucet over collander
Makes about 2 cups of finished cheese. Place it in an airtight, glass container to store; it’s good for a few days refrigerated, but it really shouldn’t even last that long, should it?
Cheese, please! This batch went onto a homemade pizza with sausage, tomato, sweet peppers and lime basil.