1 qt (1L) high quality whole milk
1 lemon, squeezed (about 4 juice)
2 pinches salt (opt)
Add the milk to the Instant Pot, close the lid and set the valve to “vent.” Push the [Yogurt] button and then [Adjust] until the display says the words “boil” in the display– or for the ULTRA choose the [yogurt] program and then select the recommended Temperature under “more” (181°F). Once the program is finished (in 20 – 30 minutes depending on the starting temp and quantity of milk), remove the Instant Pot stainless steel insert and put on a trivet on the counter. Pour in half of the squeezed lemon juice and stir slowly and delicately – the milk should begin to coagulate. If nothing happens after about 2 min, add the rest of the lemon juice and keep stirring slowly. Pour the mix through a fine-mesh strainer, or a regular strainer lined with a fine cheesecloth (or unbleached paper towel, or coffee filter) and sprinkle with salt (if using). Drain from 5 – 15 min (depending on how fine the strainer is) until only the milk solids remain. Using a spatula or spoon, pull the outer edges of the ricotta towards the center to form a small round loaf – lightly pressing and squeezing. Flip the loaf onto a small serving dish or plastic refrigerator container – where it will keep for up to 5 days. Save the strained liquid and use in any pressure cooker recipe in place of stock (for example to make rice) or in place of water for future baking projects. Note: This recipe can be doubled or tripled to make as much ricotta as you like – but we recommend trying the first time with just 1qt/1L of milk to get the hang of the process first.
2 litres full fat milk, don’t use semi or skimmed milk
1/4 – 1/3 c lemon or lime juice
Pour milk into the Instant Pot, pop the lid on and press “Yogurt”. Ensure it displays Boil (press Adjust if it doesn’t – you want it to heat the milk, not incubate it). Allow the Yogurt function to run a cycle, which should take 25 – 30 min. When the beeper sounds, hit cancel then press Sauté so that the milk remains hot whilst you add the lemon juice. Slowly dribble the lemon juice in a little at a time, stirring with a slotted spoon. Go slowly and keep on stirring, little curds should start forming after adding about a third of the juice. It takes about 5 min to get lots of curd forming and the remaining liquid (or “whey”) will start looking translucent and have a yellow-green hue to it (very similar to the whey you get when you strain my Instant Pot Greek Yogurt). This is when it’s ready to strain. Line your strainer/steamer basket with cheesecloth or strong paper towels and pour the curds and whey through them. Go slowly as there will be a large volume of whey to strain. Once almost all of the whey is gone, press the curds down with your spoon and then twist up the cheesecloth really tightly (be quite forceful with it!) to squeeze the rest out. Press it down flat into the strainer you are using, fold the cheesecloth neatly down and place a small plate on top. Weight it down with a couple of food cans (washed before using) and place the whole set up on another plate or tray and refrigerate for at least 6 hours if not overnight. Carefully unpeel the cheesecloth and cut the paneer into chunks. It will be easier to slice neatly with a knife greased with a little flavourless oil. Store paneer in a sealed tupperware container but many people store it in fresh water, changing it every day. It will keep unused for up to 3 days.
1 gallon whole, 2% or 1% milk
3/4 c distilled vinegar
1 t sea salt
1/2 – 3/4 c cream or half & half
Pour milk into Instant Pot cooking pot and cover with lid. Push the Yogurt button and then the Adjust button. The display should read “Boil.” During the Boil cycle, remove the lid and whisk the milk a couple of times during the cycle. When Beep sounds, remove lid and take temp. Anywhere from 170 – 180 F is fine. Slowly pour in the vinegar and gently move around the milk. It will begin to look curdled. Turn off the Instant Pot. Cover the milk with the glass lid and let sit for at least 30 min. Add salt to the cream and whisk together. Set aside. Pour cottage cheese into a strainer basket over sink and run a slow stream of cool water over the strainer basket to remove excess vinegar. Place cottage cheese into bowl. Pour salt/cream into bowl and gently incorporate. Refrigerate and enjoy. For Pot Cheese: Follow the exact same instructions for Cottage Cheese, but don’t add any cream or salt, after draining out the liquid. Makes 1 quart.
1/2 gallon whole milk
1 t salt
Pour milk directly in your instant pot. This does not require pot in pot. Place your pot on “Yogurt” function and hit the adjust button until you see ‘Boil’. Place lid on and in venting position. Allow to complete the boil cycle about 30 – 40 min. Check temp of your milk, it should be 180 F. Remove pot and set it on the counter. Stir in salt. Cut your lemon in half and squeeze the juice from each half into the milk. Let mix sit for 15 – 20 min until you see the whey start to separate from the milk. Place a mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the mix into a mesh strainer. Let mix drain about 20 min. If you do not have a mesh strainer you can use a regular strainer with cheese cloth or coffee filters. Refrigerate up to 5 days in an airtight container. If you do not have an instant pot you can make this on the stove over a medium heat bring your milk to almost a boil at 180 degrees.
2 litres full fat milk don’t use 2% or skimmed milk
60 – 80 ml lemon or lime juice
Pour milk into the Instant Pot, pop the lid on and press “Yogurt”. Ensure it displays Boil (press Adjust if it doesn’t, you want it to heat the milk, not incubate it). Allow the Yogurt function to run a cycle, which should take 25 – 30 min. When the beeper sounds, hit cancel then press Sauté so that the milk remains hot whilst you add the lemon juice. Slowly dribble the lemon juice in a little at a time, stirring with a slotted spoon. Go slowly and keep on stirring, little curds should start forming after adding about a third of the juice. It takes about 5 min to get lots of curd forming and the remaining liquid (or “whey”) will start looking translucent and have a yellow-green hue to it. This is when it’s ready to strain. Line your strainer/steamer basket with cheesecloth or strong paper towels and pour the curds and whey through them. Go slowly as there will be a large volume of whey to strain. Once almost all of the whey is gone, press the curds down with your spoon and then twist up the cheesecloth really tightly (be quite forceful with it!) to squeeze the rest out. Press it down flat into the strainer you are using, fold the cheesecloth neatly down and place the small plate on top. Weight it down with a couple of food cans (which I wash before using) and place the whole set up on another plate or tray and refrigerate for at least 6 hours if not overnight. To use, carefully unpeel the cheesecloth and cut the paneer into chunks. It will be easier to slice neatly with a knife greased with a little flavourless oil. I store my paneer in a sealed tupperware box but many people store it in fresh water, changing it every day. It will keep unused for up to 3 days.
2 qts light cream or half-and-half (can be previously frozen)
1 packet direct-set mesophilic starter or 4 oz prepared mesophilic starter
cheese salt (opt)
If you’re new to cheese making, use direct-set as it makes life simpler. Bring cream to room temp. Pour cream into a large pot or bowl. Add the mesophilic starter and stir thoroughly. Cover and leave it alone at room temp for 12 hours. A solid curd will form. (This isn’t the type of cheese where you see a separation of curd and whey – it’s simply a thick, solid curd.) If your house is not 72 F, it may take longer. If it’s not set by 12 hours, don’t worry about it. Just give it a few more hours. When it’s ready, you should be able to put a spoon in the curd and scoop it back. (Similar to the consistency of a firm yogurt.) Line a colander with butter muslin. Pour the contents of the pot or bowl into the colander. Tie the muslin corners together into a bag and hang to drain. Let it drain anywhere up to 12 hours. The consistency of your cheese will be determined by how long you let it drain (about 9 hours). The longer it drains, the firmer it will be. If you like a soft cream cheese, a shorter draining period is well suited to spreads and dips. If planning to use it for cheesecake, for example, hang it longer. Experiment with draining times to suit yourself. (There’s no right or wrong here, just what you prefer.) The cream cheese will also become more firm after you chill it when it’s finished. Butter muslin and cheesecloth are reusable, by the way. (Butter muslin, which is finer, is used for soft cheeses. Cheesecloth is used for hard cheeses.) Rinse the cloth out then boil it in water with a little washing soda. Rinse in fresh water then hang to dry and use again! (You can purchase butter muslin, cheesecloth, starters and other ingredients and supplies from a cheesemaking supply company. Place the drained cream cheese in a bowl and dump it out of the butter muslin. Add 1 t cheese salt and mix it in (if desired–you don’t have to add salt at all!). You can also add flavorings now–if you want all your cream cheese to be the same. Or, go ahead and transfer the cream cheese to containers and flavor each container separately for your own homemade variety pack. Leave some space in the container so you have room to mix in herbs and seasonings or fruit. Make cream cheese with chives and onions, nuts and honey, or cinnamon and brown sugar. Add bacon bits or chopped ham. For fruit, use jams. How much to add is up to your own tastes. For a savory cream cheese; add herbs, garlic, onions or other minced vegetables to taste. For a rosemary and garlic cream cheese spread, add 1 1/2 t dried rosemary and 1 1/2 t garlic powder plus an extra bit of salt (maybe 1/4 t) to about 6 oz. Start out adding less and test to taste until it suits you. Remember that flavor will increase as the cheese sits in the fridge, so don’t overdo it with the seasonings. Chill the cream cheese after placing it in containers. (It’s best chilled before using, though you can use it right away.) This cheese keeps well in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Use it to spread on toast or in recipes just as you would cream cheese from the store.
2 c whole milk
2 T vinegar (can sub lemon juice)
pinch of salt
Start by prepping your draining bowl. Can stretch some unbleached cheesecloth over the edge of a colander and secure with a rubber band. Place milk and salt in a sauce pan on the stove top. Turn the burner on a low-medium heat and place a candy thermometer in the pan. Stir occasionally until the temp reaches 165 F. Turn off heat and add vinegar. Give it one little stir, just enough to move around the vinegar and let the whole mix sit for a 1 – 2 min. Pour the mix into your prepared bowl slowly and gently. Let the cheese sit on the counter for about 20 – 30 min to drain. Once the homemade Ricotta Cheese has drained you can place it in the fridge in an air tight container until ready to use or you can use it right away! This recipe makes about 1/2 c of homemade ricotta cheese per 2 c milk used and will store for a few days in the fridge, but make sure to use it up within a week.
1 gal milk
2/3 – 3/4 c vinegar (can sub cider vinegar or rice vinegar)
Put a gallon of milk in a non-aluminum cooking pot and slowly heat it. This recipe is perfect for milk that’s just starting to turn. Stir occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. You want it to reach a good scald, which means a skin forming on the top. If you’re a thermometer sort of person the temp should be around 180 F or so. Turn off the heat. Add vinegar. This is pretty interesting to watch. The vinegar forces casein and albuminous protein out. But it looks a little bit like magic. As you stir in the vinegar, the hot milk should rather quickly separate into curds and whey. The whey looks almost greenish. At this point you can let the whole pot sit and rest for 10 – 15 min, which lets the whey collect together in a happy protein meeting. Traditionally the curds are gathered in cheesecloth and hung up to drain, a messy process. This version is much firmer so this step isn’t required. Simply drain the pot over a fine mesh colander. Let the colander drain for an hour or so, till the cheese is cool. Then store it in the refrigerator. Can keep it in a glass container. Eat it within 4 – 6 days. Can add different seasonings to the milk (salt and cajun spices, for example) to create a cheese that’s flavored throughout.
1 gallon milk (raw or pasteurized, skim or whole… whole will make a much tastier cheese)
1/2 c apple cider vinegar (can sub white or white wine vinegar)
1 T each salt and ground herbs of your choice
Heat milk to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat and add vinegar. The milk should begin separating/curdling right away. You want to fully separate the whey from the curds (whey should be yellowish clear, not milky looking). Once separating, pour the whey and curds into your colander lined with cheesecloth over another large pot (you could do this over the sink, but why waste all that useful whey?). Stir in salt and herbs to the curds, then tie up the cheesecloth with a twisting motion to press out whey. Place your ‘something heavy’ over the bundle and allow to drain. Don’t over drain or this cheese will be TOO dry. This cheese makes a lovely appetizer and fries well for some extra fun. Don’t be intimidated by cheesemaking – try it out! Have fun with it!
1 T water
1 1/2 t powdered gelatin
12 oz Colby Jack cheese, finely shredded
1 T nonfat milk powder
1 t salt
1/8 t cream of tartar
½ c & 2 T milk
Line a small 4 x 5 loaf pan with plastic wrap, letting the excess hang over the sides. In a small bowl, combine water and gelatin and stir. Let sit for 5 min. Combine cheese, milk powder, salt and cream of tartar in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse a few times to combine. Meanwhile, heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. When milk begins to simmer, remove from heat and transfer hot milk to a measuring cup to make pouring easier. With the food processor running, slowly add hot milk through the feed tube at the top of the bowl. Add prepared, thickened gelatin mix. Stop food processor occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl, and continue whirring until the mix becomes perfectly smooth (about 1 – 2 min). Working quickly, transfer mix to prepared mold, pressing mix down into the pan with a rubber spatula to remove any large air bubbles. Smooth surface of cheese, and cover with the overlapping plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Slice as needed and use as you would individually-wrapped processed American cheese.
1/2 lb cheese, a mix of sharp and mild is best
1 t dry mustard
1/2 c good beer
1/2 c butter, room temp
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t smoked paprika
freshly ground pepper
2 T ghee or clarified butter (opt for storing more than a week)
Grate or chop the cheese into a fine consistency. Place in a bowl and add the mustard and beer. Let sit at room temp for several hours until the cheese softens. Add the mix to a food processor along with the soft butter, Worcestershire, cinnamon, smoked paprika, pepper and cayenne. The texture should be smooth and the flavor assertive. Adjust the seasoning to your tastes. Pack the mix into a small glass mason jar, making sure to press down with the back of a spoon to eliminate any air bubbles. Store in the refrigerator until hard. To store it beyond a week: Melt ghee or clarified butter in a small bowl and pour it over the top of the jar. Refrigerate until hardened. This will help preserve it. To serve, let come to room temp so that it has a spreadable consistency. Yield: 1 cup.
1 gal pasteurized whole goat, sheep, or cows milk
1/4 t direct-set mesophilic starter culture
1/4 t liquid calcium chloride diluted in 1/4 c cool non-chlorinated water
1/4 t liquid animal rennet diluted in 1/4 c cool non-chlorinated water
5 T Diamond Crystal kosher salt
In a nonreactive stockpot or Dutch oven, gently heat the milk over low heat until it reaches 86 degrees. This should take about 15 min. Remove the milk from the heat. Sprinkle the starter culture over the milk and let it hydrate for 2 min. Whisk the starter into the milk, using an up-and-down motion to distribute thoroughly. Cover and let the milk ripen at room temp for 1 hour. Add the diluted calcium chloride, whisking it gently with an up-and-down motion for 2 min. Then add the rennet in the same way. Cover the pot and let it sit at room temp for 1 hour. At this point the curds should have formed a solid mass and light yellow whey will float to the surface. The curds should show a clean line of separation when cut with a thin knife. (This is called the clean break test.) If the curds do not separate cleanly, let the curds sit for another 15 min, and test again. Using an offset spatula or thin knife, cut the curds into a grid of 1/2″ squares. Let the cut curd sit undisturbed for 10 min. Stir the curds gently using a flexible rubber spatula for 20 min, while raising the temp slowly (over low heat) to 90 degrees. This process will break the curds up into smaller pieces and allow them to release more whey. Let the curds rest for 5 min, undisturbed. While the curds rest, line a colander with damped butter muslin or a double layer of cheesecloth, letting excess cloth hang over the sides of the colander. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the curds to the prepared colander and let drain for 30 min. Save and refrigerate 2 c of the leftover drained whey to use later. Tie the corners of the muslin together to create a sack, slip a wooden spoon handle through the knot, and hang the sack over a stockpot or bucket. Transfer the pot to the refrigerator and let drain overnight. At this point, the cheese should no longer be dripping whey. The next day, unwrap the cheese from the muslin and gently slice into 1″ thick slabs. Place the slabs in a single layer in 1 or 2 rimmed baking dishes and sprinkle with 1 T salt on each side of the slabs. Cover and refrigerate until the feta is very firm and has stopped extruding whey, about 5 days. Drain off the extruded whey and flip the slabs over once a day. Slice the slabs into 1″h cubes and transfer to a 1 qt canning jar. Whisk the reserved 2 c of whey with remaining 3 T salt to create a brine. Pour the brine over feta and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 3 weeks. Makes about 1 pound.
Fresh whey, no more than 3 hours old, left over from making hard cheese
Heat the whey in a pot until foam appears, This usually happens just prior to boiling; if the mix boils, it will taste burned. Turn off the heat; let the whey set for 5 min. Gently skim off the foam and place the whey in a colander lined with butter muslin. Let drain for 15 min, then refrigerate. This ricotta will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Yield: About 1/2 lb per gal of whey.
1 1/2 level t citric acid dissolved in 1/2 c cool water
1 gal pasteurized whole milk
1/4 t liquid rennet (or 1/4 rennet tablet) diluted in 1/4 c cool, unchlorinated water
1 t cheese salt (opti)
Gently bring the milk up to 55 degrees F in a large, stainless steel pot. While stirring, add the citric acid solution to the milk at 55 degrees F and mix thoroughly. (You may use skim milk, but the yield will be lower and the cheese will be drier.) Heat the milk to 90 degrees over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Remove the pot from the heat and gently stir in the diluted rennet with an up-and-down motion for 30 seconds. Cover the pot and leave undisturbed for 5 min. Check the curd. It should look like custard, with a clear separation between the curd and why. (If the curd is too soft or the whey is too milky, let set for a few more min.) Cut the curd with a knife that reaches all the way to the bottom of your pot in about 2″ squares. Place the pot back on the stove and heat the curds to 105F, gently moving the curds around with your spoon. Remove from heat and continue to stir slowly for 2 – 5 min. (Stirring for 5 min will result in firmer cheese.) Scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon and put into a 2 qt microwaveable bowl. Press the curds gently with your hands, pouring off as much whey as possible. Reserve the whey. (You can use it to make ricotta cheese.) Microwave the curds on high for 1 min. Drain off all excess whey. Gently fold the cheese over and over (as in kneading bread) with your hands or a spoon. This distributes the heat evenly throughout the cheese, which will not stretch until it is too hot to touch (145F inside the curd). Rubber kitchen gloves are very handy at this stage. Microwave 2 more times for 35 seconds each; add salt to taste after the second time. After each heating, knead again to distribute the heat. Knead quickly until it is smooth and elastic. When the cheese stretches like taffy, its done. If the curds break instead of stretch, they are too cool and need to be reheated. When the cheese is smooth and shiny, roll it into small balls and eat while warm. Or place them in a bowl of ice water for half an hour to bring the inside temp down rapidly; this will produce a consistent smooth texture throughout the cheese. Although best eaten fresh, it can be stored in the refrigerator at this point. (If you are using store-bought milk, and your curds turn into the consistency of ricotta cheese and will not come together, switch brands of milk. It may have been heated at the factory at too high a temp.) Yield: 3/4 – 1 lb from 1 gal milk. Note: You can also pull this into strips or strings (think homemade string cheese). Pull the strips, drop them in the water to cool, then pack them tightly in a pyrex container or wrap in plastic wrap. Theyre not as pretty as the store bought ones. Although the original recipe recommended storing the cheese in water, I prefer storing it in a tightly sealed container without water. Water storage makes the cheese soft and washes out the salt.
Optional Lipase Powder
If you want to add lipase powder to give the cheese more flavor, use 1/8 1/4 t, dissolved in 1/4 c cool water and allowed to sit for 20 min. To start, probably try the mild and see how you like the flavor. Add the lipase and water mix at the same time you add the citric acid solution. If you add lipase to this cheese, you may have to use a bit more rennet, as lipase makes the cheese softer.
1 12 oz tub Philadelphia whipped cream cheese
1 1/2 t finely minced fresh garlic
3/4 t Italian seasoning
1/4 t & 1/8 t salt
1/8 t onion powder
Gently stir the garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and onion powder into the whipped cream cheese. Store the spread in your fridge for at least a couple hours. Overnight is even better. Stir once more before serving. Makes 12 ounces.
1 gal whole or low-fat milk
2 t citric acid powder
1/4 t liquid rennet
1/4 c cool water (55 – 60 degrees F)
Pour the milk into a large, heavy-bottomed pot and add the citric acid, stirring for 2 min. Bring the milk to 105 degrees F. (It doesn’t matter whether you stir). Check the temp with a thermometer. Remove the pot from heat. In a small cup, dissolve the rennet in the water. Add this mix to the milk and stir for 30 seconds. Cover the pot and let stand for 15 min. Using a wide, shallow ladle, scoop the curds carefully into a microwave-safe bowl and pour off and press out the excess liquid. Microwave on high for 1 min. Pour off excess liquid, being careful because it will be very hot. Turn curd and microwave on high for 30 seconds longer. Remove cheese from microwave. Drain off excess whey. Repeat process, draining and pressing off excess whey… until no whey is left. Using a wooden spoon (or your hands…be careful, it’s hot), stir and stretch the cheese for about 10 min or until it’s stringy and shiny. If the mozzarella cools too much, it will become hard to stretch. If this happens, reheat the cheese for 30 second intervals until it becomes pliable again. Shape your mozzarella in big balls or little balls (bocconcini-esque). The mozzarella can be served right away or refrigerated, covered in water, for up to 3 days. Change the water after a day or 2. Makes 1 lb.
1 gal milk
1/4 c cultured buttermilk
1/4 t liquid rennet
1/4 c cool water (55 – 60 degrees F)
1/4 t calcium chloride
Warm the milk to 88 degrees F over a low flame in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Stir in buttermilk. Cover and turn off heat. Let stand 1 hour. Dissolve the rennet in the cool water and add mix to the milk, along with the calcium chloride, stirring for 30 seconds. Mix should still be at 88 degrees F. Cover again and let stand another hour to coagulate. Using a long, thin knife, cut the curds into 1″ cubes. Gently stir them a few times. The temp should still be at 88 degrees F. Carefully pour the curds into a colander, lined with butter muslin (re-useable cheesecloth). Tie together the ends of the muslin to make a bag and hang in a cool room or refrigerator to drain for 4 – 6 hours. Remove the cheese from the muslin at this point it is pretty large and looks like a typical fresh cheese. Slice the cheese ball in half. Lay the halves in a dish that can be covered. Sprinkle all the surfaces with coarse salt, cover, and allow to sit at room temp for 24 hours. Let the beneficial bacteria do its work! After 24 hours, your cheese halves will be sitting in quite a bit of liquid. Drain off this liquid and salt the surface one more time. Let sit at room temp for another 2 hours. Use the Feta right away or cover it in salted water and refrigerate it for up to 4 weeks. Yield: 1 lb.
1 c boiling water, divided
6 T milk powder, divided
1 lb cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 t gelatin, divided
Prepare a “loaf box” by lining a small box with plastic wrap. Combine 1/2 c boiling water, 3 T milk powder and 3/4 t gelatin in the blender. Blend 5 seconds. Add 1/2 of the shredded cheese and blend until smooth (about 3 min.) Pour into your “loaf box”. Repeat with remaining ingredients and pour on top of first layer. Cover and refrigerate overnight before slicing.
1 litre (1 qt) water & 2 T non-iodized salt, boiled for 5 minutes
4 litres (1 gal) full cream milk, at least 3.4% fat
4 litres (1 gal) lite or semi skimmed milk, no more than 1.4% fat.
1/4 t direct set thermophilic starter culture
1/4 t lipase powder, mixed with 4 t unclorinated water
1/2 t rennet mixed with 1/4 c unclorinated water
1/2 t calcium chloride mixed with 1/4 c unclorinated water
Sterilize everything in 2 gal water for 15 min. People are often surprised to discover that it is made with low fat milk (no more than 2.5% fat), because it has such an intense flavor. Once sterilized, put the big pot on a small saucepan of water to act as a double boiler. Add the milk and alternate a litre of each type to so that it mixes well, and then bring the temperature up to 95F. Once at temperature, add the thermophilic culture and mix well. Cover and allow to sit for 15 min. Add the calcium chloride and mix well. Then add the lipase mix and stir for a minute. Keeping the mixture at 95F, add the rennet mix and stir for at least 1 min. Remove from heat. Cover and allow to set for 45 min. When you get a clean break, cut the curd by using a balloon whisk. Push the whisk all the way to the bottom of the pot and lift back out. Do this all the way around all over the surface for 3 times. This will ensure that you have cut the majority of the curd to about 1/8″. Let stand for 5 min, then stir at 95F for 10 min. Increase the temp to 108F over half an hour and hold this temp for 15 min continuously stirring with the whisk to prevent matting. You will notice that the curd will start to shrink into smaller grain sized pieces. Increase the tempto 126F over half an hour stirring regularly. When the temphas been reached you should notice that the curd will have a very small grain size and that it will be dry to touch and squeaky when you chew them to test for doneness. Let the curds rest for 5 min off the heat. Drain the curds and whey into a cheese cloth lined colander. Be careful as the whey is quite hot. Gather up the cheese cloth and form a ball of curd big enough to fit into your 2 lb mold. Cover one of the corners of the curd with the cheese cloth and top with the follower then press at 5 1/2 lb for 15 min. Remove the cheese from the press, and slowly unwrap the cloth. Turn the cheese over, rewrap it in the cloth, and press at 11 lb for 30 min. Repeat this procedure, press at 16 1/2 lb for 2 hours. Repeat again, pressing at 22 lb for 12 hours. Remove the cheese from the mold and unwrap. Immerse the cheese in the brine solution. Use a 1/2 gal ice cream container, add the cheese first then pour over the brine. The brine should be at room temp and not hot or the cheese will begin to break up and absorb too much salt. Leave it at room temp 70F for 24 hours, and flip the cheese occasionally. Take the cheese out of the brine solution and pat it dry with paper towel. Here is your chance to smooth the cheese with your hands if there are any rough bits. Then place on a sushi mat and put it into the cheese cave at 55F/80% humidity for 10 months. Turn the cheese daily for the first week, then weekly after that. Remove any mould that forms on the exterior with some left over brine and a bit of cheese cloth. This also helps to harden the cheese as it ages. You can usually wax this cheese at about the three month mark, because otherwise, even if rubbed with olive oil the wheel is just too small to hold the required amount of moisture and it will dry out. The trademark texture and flavor of this cheese is obtained though the lengthy maturation process which results in a cheese with a hard, gritty texture. This cheese is well worth the wait.
8 c (1/2 gal) best quality whole milk
1 1/2 c best quality heavy cream
1 t coarse salt
1/4 c fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons), strained to remove pulp
Combine milk, cream and salt in a 4 – 5 qt pot and warm mix over medium-high heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent scorching, until mix registers 195 degrees on a candy thermometer. It should take about 15 min. Add lemon juice, gently stirring until just combined. Remove pot from heat and let stand 5 min. The combination of the acid and the residual heat in the mix will cause it to coagulate, or curdle – separating into a soft mass (curds) and a cloudy liquid (whey). After lining a mesh colander with a triple layer of cheesecloth and placing it inside a deeper, slightly larger bowl, gently pour curds and whey into colander. Let mix stand, pouring off whey occasionally, until most of whey has drained from still-wet curds, 20 min. Gather up ricotta in cheesecloth and turn it out into a bowl. Serve within a few hours, or refrigerate up to 4 days. For a denser ricotta, which can be preferable for baking, hang it to drain for another hour. Repurpose whey or discard it.