I saw this beautiful recipe on smitten kitchen a few weeks ago and just knew I had to give it a try! It was 100 degrees outside today and the last thing I wanted to do was spend it outside, so we rounded up our ingredients and the kids and I made some cheese!
*I am calling this mascarpone before Ricotta because traditionally Ricotta is made with whey, and this has the spreadable creamy texture of a mascarpone, but really it doesnt matter.. its just delicious. I’m a huge fan of Brie and this is a nice affordable substitute to me. I’m dreaming of this spread on a grilled pizza crust with some sundried tomato and pesto, fantastic!
Now… let me start by saying you DO need cheesecloth of some form, but you might be better off investing in good cheesecloth, its actually called Butter Muslin, and the holes are much smaller which means it drains slower but you end up with more cheese and no loss of precious cheese fats into the whey. I used regular old cheesecloth (a note on finding it in a bit) and just used many layers.
Finding cheesecloth.. NO, you cant just find it anywhere. I went to three stores before I found it. Some walmarts have it, but not all- you can check online before hand.. I didnt. Some Kroger/Smiths/Fred Meyers have it, but not all… Fresh Market/Albertsons turned out to be my source for it. You also need a thermometer. Could it be done without it? sure.. probably. When the milk is just about to simmer, thats close to the 190 target temp.. but a thermometer is $5.00 and will last you many years. Make the investment.
3 cups whole milk (I just used the cheap store brand. it worked fine!)
1 cup heavy/whipping cream (again, store brand)
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
Combine your salt, milk, and cream in your non-reactive saucepan and begin to bring up to 190*. I did this on medium high because I didnt want to scortch my milk. Make sure to stir so the bottom keeps moving. When your milk reaches 190* remove from heat, and stir in your lemon juice. yes, fresh squeezed! Its not that much extra work 🙂
Let it just sit now for about 5 minutes, you dont need to stir- leave it be. See those little curds on the side?
After 5 minutes start moving it over into your cheesecloth lined strainer, I like to move it over a little slow so it has some time to settle between scoops. Once its all in there, just let it sit for a good hour. it might take a bit less might take a little more. The whey will drain out, leaving you with a delicious spreadable cheese! A drizzle of honey on top, on a round of fresh bread… oooh heaven.
Next up I’ll have a goat cheese tutorial, and after that, Paneer! I have also ordered some rennet tablets, so I will be making some “real” cheese at some point as well! Yay!
Also coming soon: what to do with all that leftover Whey!