Gross, I know. But it was so much more exciting than Ricotta Cheese Making, 101. I've been wanting to make Mozzarella Cheese, but after buying the raw milk and carting it home to Georgia, I soon realized I was going to have to send away for rennet and citric acid powder. When life gives you raw milk, make ricotta! It doesn't require anything more than utensils and lemon juice or vinegar. So away I went.
I found some instructions on the internet, and because it seemd so easy, I decided it was worth a try. Naturally I documented the experience. The hardest part of the entire process was finding raw milk. I work at an agricultural college, in the deep south. Farms abound. Unfortunately, raw milk does not. I contacted a professor from UGA in the area who informed me that because of health issues all the milk is sold pastuerized. BUT - when I was in SC over Easter, I found a little Mennonite store that sold bulk items and local dairy items. Lo and behold, there were my gallons of raw milk. It was from Holsteins, which aren't known for their high fat content, but it would do. I put them in a cooler with ice to make the 5-hour trip home to south Georgia. (the gallons of milk, not the cows)
To make the cheese, I poured a gallon of the milk into my large stainless steel pan, and inserted my candy thermometer. The directions said to heat the milk to 200 degrees F, stirring every now and then to prevent scorching. When the milk reaches the correct temp, add 1/4 cup white vinegar or lemon juice. If the milk is at the correct temp, the milk solids should begin to separate from the whey immediately. If not, just keep stirring and they will separate when it reaches the correct temp.
Guess what? It worked!! This is what it looked like in the pot. You turn off the heat, and let it sit for about 15 minutes.I lined a colander with flour sacking, and placed it over a large bowl. Pour the contents of the pot into the lined colander. I let mine sit for a bit, because it was very hot!Then wrap up the cheese and let it drain. I suspended mine in a smaller plastic colander over a smaller bowl in the fridge for a few hours.Later I took it out and lightly salted it and readied it for my homemade pizzas.
John's lasagna pizza (before the mozzarella)
My white pizza
It was really easy, and the ricotta I made not only tasted wonderful and fresh, but it had a firmer texture than what you buy in the store. I HATE runny ricotta!! I put what I didn't use into an airtight container and then into the freezer. Now to buy the mozzarella cheese making supplies!