Since the winter weather doesn’t look to be approaching an end anytime soon, now is the time to experiment in the kitchen before the work of summer begins. Looking for something to do with the excess raw milk in the fridge, I quickly came across a recipe for ricotta cheese, but it required citric acid, which is not something that I keep around the house, nor is it something that I would choose to work with if a natural alternative is available. After a little digging, I found just that; the same basic recipe with white vinegar instead of citric acid. For my first attempt in cheese making, this seemed like the perfect recipe. Though I found the finished product to be a little bland, I added some salt, sundried tomatoes from last year’s garden, and basil – it was delicious! I can’t wait to use this in some homemade ravioli. As an added bonus, and in the spirit of not wasting a thing, the whey that is drained away from the cheese can be used instead of water in making bread. I put mine in the freezer for the next time I feel like baking.
2 quarts whole milk
3 tablespoons white vinegar
Herbs, spices, and other addition,s as desired
First, heat the milk to 200 degrees, stirring regularly to prevent scalding. Add vinegar and continue to stir. Bring mixture back to 200 degrees and then remove from heat and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Pour mixture through very fine cheese cloth known as cheese muslin or other fine cloth such as a pillow case. Allow to drain thoroughly (you can also squeeze gently to remove moisture quicker). The longer you allow the mixture to drain, the “dryer” your cheese. Add additional ingredients for flavor as desired. Use or freeze for later.
It is always exciting for me to try something new and discover one more thing that I can make at home for my family that is natural and healthy. For a first time cheese maker, this recipe is simple with immediate results!