Of all the things I love in life, cheese has got to be right near the top. I even love stinky cheese. Cheese, cheese, put some cheese on it and I’ll probably eat it. (Stahp. I didn’t mean that.)
Anyway, you may even know that I don’t mind ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese) because I ate copious amounts of it for the 3-day military diet. So what was I to do when I discovered that it can be made at home? Why, make it, of course.
Of course, this is only homemade in that I have combined stuff I bought from the store. I don’t have my own goat or anything, although I wouldn’t mind having one, I think. I love goats… Well, I’m not sure I’d love a goat enough to milk it. I love my dog, but, you know, I don’t grab her tits and she doesn’t try to kick me. It’s an agreement we have.
Anyway, I waited a while to do this one because I did not have cheesecloth. Luckily, Amazon came through for me.
For some reason, I had it in mind that a dish towel wouldn’t do the trick. Also, cheesecloths are surprisingly cool. I’m pretty sure we used these as burial shrouds in Easter passion plays when I was a good, church-going little fucker.
Instructions said to lay the cheesecloth in a fine mesh strainer. Yeah, well. I couldn’t find mine, so a colander it was.
(Keep your eye on that colander. Looks like it might rise from the dead at any moment.)
To make ricotta cheese, you will require dairy products…
You will also need a thing in which to boil your dairy products.
The instructions said this would take about 10 minutes to heat to the appropriate temperature, appropriate temperature being when the milk starts to separate into gross-looking chunks and grosser-looking watery by-product. Mine took waaaay longer than 10 minutes.
And then when I went to scoop out the chunky things with a slotted spoon, as instructed, this was all I got:
My hand is there for perspective, and also because I’m still showing off my gel nails. (This picture is from last week and I’ve taken it off since then, but it was still lookin pretty good a week and a half in, right?)
So I boiled that shit some more. If a little is good, a lottle is better, after all.
When I figured I’d boiled it to within an inch of its poor little life, I tried the slotted spoon method again, but didn’t have too much success. It was at this point that my mesh strainer miraculously reappeared and I got the bright idea to just dump the whole pot of gross-looking stuff in the mesh strainer and then transfer the chunky bits to the cheesecloth.
So, really, at this point, the cheesecloth was just a cute place to set the cheese. The mesh strainer accomplished everything I thought the cheesecloth would do.
Still, I couldn’t resist the opportunity for a photo-op of a cheesecloth hanging off my faucet. I call this one “Suck It, Pioneer Woman” or “I’m Homesteading, Motherfucker.”
Let’s pause here while we pretend to wait for the cheese to drain, because I started trying to do math in my head. This whole process yielded maybe a cup of ricotta cheese after I put in 4 cups of whole milk, 1 cup of buttermilk, and 1/3 cup of heavy cream.
A half gallon of whole milk costs $2.79 at my grocery store. I used 4 cups, so that’s about $1.40.
A 32 oz carton of buttermilk costs $1.79 and I used 1/4 of the carton, so that’s about $0.45.
Then I used 1/3 of a cup of heavy cream from an 8 oz carton at $1.85, so that’s $0.62.
So I’ve already spent $2.47 for this homemade cheese and that’s not taking into account that the remaining dairy product in those cartons will probably spoil in my fridge because I don’t use whole milk, buttermilk, or heavy cream for anything.
A 16 ounce ricotta cheese carton at the store costs $2.69.
I leave it to you as to whether you think the price is right. I, for one, am skeptical. Because this is how much you end up with:
As far as the taste, I have to admit, it was much better than grocery store ricotta, if only because I got to drain off all that ookie water stuff and just have the curdy part. Yerrrrm. So, yeah, maybe if it really only took me 15 minutes, and I ate a lot of ricotta cheese, this would be worth it.
As it stands, though, I pretty much don’t give enough craps to keep on doing this and there is a non-existent amount of money saved if you don’t happen to have your own heavy cream producing goat wandering around, and you have mutually agreed that it’s ok if you grab her tits.