This last week, I happened to see a post of Simone’s about a Cheesepalooza Challenge, a group of people making different types of cheeses. I was SO excited. I love my cheesemaking, but I just kind of wing it, I’ve never had any sort of community with different people that make cheese. I emailed Valarie from A Canadian Foodie, who is one of the leaders of the challenge, and I was in!
This challenge is based on Mary Karlin’s book “Artisan Cheesemaking at Home”. I immediately ordered the book so I could get started! This challenge will run for a year, and every month a different cheese will be featured. Those joining in the challenge just have to make the cheese by the end of the month and post about it. However, you don’t have to be a blogger!
Onto the cheese! This month, the challenge was to make ricotta cheese. I have done this before and posted about it here and here. This time I used citric acid, cream, and whole milk to make the cheese.
In a large, heavy bottomed pot, combine the milk and cream.
In a small bowl, combine the water and citric acid, and stir to combine. I had some citric acid from my other cheesemaking experiences.
Add the citric acid to the milk/cream mixture, and add a little salt.
Bring the pot to 180 degrees F, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
As it heated up, the curds started to form.
When it reached 180 degrees, I turned off the heat, and put the lid on the pan. Let the cheese sit undisturbed for 15-20 minutes.
After the cheese has rested, strain through cheesecloth to separate the cheese from the whey. I used disposable cheesecloth – I love this stuff! I actually do reuse it – I just place it in boiling water with some washing soda, and let it boil for 20-30 minutes, then just let it dry, and reuse it over and over!
Let it drain as long as you want .. the longer it drains, the dryer the cheese will be.
First I made some crepes using this recipe for grain free crepes.
I took one cup of the ricotta cheese, and mixed it with some fresh mint and a little honey.
Using some plums we got at our farmers market, I sautéed them in honey and a little butter.
Oh my gosh!!! This combination was so incredibly good! I could eat all the ricotta cheese just by itself, but mixed with the mint, honey and plums … unbelievably good!
For each cheese challenge, we were asked to answer these questions from our tasting, so here we go!
- Appearance: so incredibly creamy!!!
- Nose (aroma): no scent that I could tell, until I added the mint! (although I am having bad allergies now, so my nose is not really cooperating!!)
- Overall Taste: So creamy and smooth, a lot like cream cheese!
- Sweet to Salty: Even though I added salt, it didn’t really have a salty taste. I would say more on the sweet side
- Mild (mellow) to Robust to Pungent (stinky): Very mild, not robust or pungent at all
- Mouth Feel: (gritty, sandy, chewy, greasy, gummy, etc.):so smooth! It kind of melted in my mouth. I think because of the cream and the whole milk, it was so rich and creamy
Who wants to join me in the Cheesepalooza Challenge? I am so excited about it – it is a great chance to experience making some cheeses in a low stress environment, and with people to help answer questions! If you are interested, send Valerie a message on her site, or let me know! It’s going to be fun!
This is linked to Frugal I Did it Tuesday.