I didn't know until well, today. But we have a farm quite nearby with an milk machine (not the cows, an actual machine). From this machine you can tap extremely fresh raw milk. The milk has only been stirred and cooled, nothing else. So I decided to make some ricotta with it. Now actual real ricotta is made from the whey left over from traditional cheese production but this comes pretty close (you can make traditional ricotta as a byproduct for halloumi) . I've made ricotta before many times with store bought milk and have found that lemon juice just doesn't work for me. Even vinegar has failed me when using just a couple of tablespoons. So this time I'm using Jamie Oliver amounts to curdle the milk.
To quote my mother; the raw milk itself has a hint of barnyard in it. While not unpleasant it does make for a definitively cheesy flavour. The flavour is lovely but strong, I went ahead and added an extra bit of salt making a rather outspoken ricotta. So this cheese is perfect for any savoury applications you have in mind (I'm stir frying some with some wild spinach tonight) but I wouldn't use it for a desert.
- 5 litres raw milk
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 250 ml white wine vinegar
Add the salt and milk together in a pan and heat up to 90 degrees Celsius. According to this brilliant episode of Food Lap 80-85 will do but it is raw milk so I'm not taking to many chances. You can also just watch the milk and it should be ready to go once the milk gets frothy. Now add the vinegar and take off the heat. Put the lid on and leave it alone for 15 minutes.
Now lift the lid and use a slotted spoon to lift out the curds. I was amazed at how many curds I was getting with the raw milk, so much more than store bought. Let it drain in a sieve lined with cloth. I don't have any muslin or cheesecloth so I used a thoroughly rinsed cheap thin tea towel. Foodlab even used paper towels.
How long you let it drain is up to you but I find 30 minutes provides a good texture. Keep it sealed in the refrigerator and eat within a couple of days.