Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Queso Fresco

I love cheese. Eaten alone or melted on top of things, cheese makes everything taste better. Two summers ago I worked at La Porta dei Parchi, a agro-tourism farm in Abruzzo, Italy where I learned how to make artisanal sheep cheese and I haven't been the same since. Namely because my clothes still smell like smoked mozzarella, but also because I have become obsessed with fresh, handmade cheeses.

For Christmas this year I got a DIY cheese making kit from Urban Cheesecraft and now I can make ricotta and mozzarella in my tiny kitchen. The kit comes with cheese salt, a candy thermometer, cheese cloth, citric acid and vegetarian rennet tablets. Making ricotta with this kit is really easy, all you have to do is mix a gallon of whole milk with citric acid and cheese salt and then heat the mixture up to 185-195 degrees. Make sure to stir constantly, or else the curds will be scorched by the bottom of the pan. After the desired temperature is reached, and the curds have separated from the whey, let it sit for ten minutes and then strain through the cheese cloth.

Last night I made this ricotta to go on top of a ragu know, just to give it a light finish.

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