Buttermilk Ricotta

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I bet you thought you heard the last of my year’s supply of butter-making didn’t you? yup, you thought i went through all that buttermilk and used up every last drop of cream too even, right? think again. 8 gallons of cream and 2 gallons of buttermilk goes a long way for 1 catty pilgrim.

You see, that cultured buttermilk i had just keeps on giving. as i said over here, you can easily make more of it with what you’ve got. and the cream, ok, yes it’s true, this is the last of it (sad face). i used this final quart of cream, plus a whole gallon of cultured buttermilk to make a big batch of the tastiest ricotta i’ve ever had. take it from this half italian tigress who has ricotta in her blood – i grew up on the stuff – this buttermilk version is swoon-worthy.

This makes a lotta ricotta – close to a full quart. since it lasts only about a week in the fridge at perfect quality, you probably don’t need to make this much. so go ahead, half it. of course, if you’re prone to eating it by the bowlful like me, then you better dairy up!

…basically, i’ve just decided i need a cow.

Buttermilk ricotta

1 gallon buttermilk
1 quart cream
2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
butter muslin or a double layer of cheese cloth thermometer

1. combine the buttermilk, cream and sea salt in a non-reactive stock pot (stainless or enameled covered iron) and heat on medium to 190 degrees – it should take about 25-30 minutes. stir occasionally and gently as the temperature nears to 190 to prevent scorching. be gentle.

2. as soon as the temperature reaches 190 degrees take off heat. cover and let sit for 5 minutes. you will have very delicate curds that should look something like this:

3. place a damp (rinse it in hot water and squeeze dry) butter muslin or double-layered cheese cloth inside a large strainer. place the strainer over a large bowl. gently scoop the curds into the strainer, and then pour the whey directly over. if you’ve made ricotta before using a different method you may notice that the separation of curds and whey is not as straight-forward with this method, and that it is a bit difficult to see the separation.

that’s ok.

4. at a certain point the whey will seemingly stop dripping through the muslin and strainer in the bowl. you could leave it there for hours and it will drain to perfection eventually. or you can lift the muslin out with everything tucked inside (it will be full of liquid so be careful) and tie it around a faucet to hang for about 30 minutes. the weight will help expel the excess whey.

5. when most of the obvious liquid is out, place the whole lot back into the strainer. it should still be quite soft and wet, like this:

6. after that it’s maker’s choice. i let it drain for another 20-30 minutes so that the finished cheese is still quite moist. it’s better to err on the side of too moist as it will firm up even more when chilled. when done, transfer to an airtight container. it will stay fresh for up to a week in the fridge.

or, before you do any such thing, you can scoop out a warm and generous hunk and christen your pasta arrabiatta with it.

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