Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ricotta Salata with Shannon Olson

It's "comfort food" in the long, cold North Dakota winter.

We interviewed Shannon last May and posted her recipe for dry buttermilk cheese.

At that time, she had 3 websites:  North Dakota Kitchen (recipes), A Southern Belle with Northern Roots (lifestyle), and Christian Living By Grace (spiritual).

Since then, she has added a deeply personal website, Shannons Pig Tales, a collection of stories about growing up with a narcissistic parent.

These days, Shannon and her husband are empty nesters, both their children having grown up and moved out (the last one only one month ago.)

So, now that she has some time, Shannon is hoping to tackle some of the "harder" cheeses.  Naturally, we hope that when she does, she will take some of her gorgeous pictures and share her experiences with us.

Ricotta Salata
By Shannon Olson at North Dakota Kitchen

I am in love with this cheese!
So far everyone that has tried it, has asked for more. Wonderful salty, sharp just perfect for snacking or with a good crusty bread.

This recipe is from Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll.

For this recipe I started with whole raw milk, skimming the lovely cream off the top and setting aside for another use.

Prepare your butter muslin, line a colander and place in a bowl to catch whey.

Mix 1 tsp citric acid that has been dissolved in 1/4 c cool water into 1 gallon whole milk.
In large pot heat to 185- 195 degrees, Do Not Boil. Stir often to prevent scorching.
Mine came together at around 192 degrees.

As curds and whey separate turn off the heat. Make sure whey is not milky.
Let set undisturbed 10 minutes.

Ladle curds into butter muslin, tie corners in a knot and let hang 20-30 minutes.
(AT this point you can now add 1 tsp salt and 1-2 Tbs cream and store in fridge for whole milk ricotta)
If not... skip instructions in parenthesis and continue on.

Remove ricotta from muslin and add 1Tbs cheese salt.  Press into muslin lined ricotta mold and put a saucer and glass of water on top.  Press 12 hours.

Unmold and rub surface with salt, cover and refrigerate. Turn cheese and rub with salt every day for 1 week.
Remove any mold with salt water dampened cheesecloth. I did not get any mold.
If cheese becomes too soft, dry surface and re-salt.
I kept my cheese in the butter muslin wrapped loosely and in the mold, stored in the fridge top shelf.
Age 2-4 weeks.
Warning if you taste it you won't be able to stop!

Now with that left over whey why not make a batch of English Muffin Bread!

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