1 Gallon Organic Milk NOT the Ultra Pasteurized kind. Homogenized is ok.
An 8 Qt. Pan – MUST be Stainless Steel
A cooking thermometer
2 quart microwave safe mixing bowl
Dissolve1/4 tablet of rennet in 1/4 cup of cool, unchlorinated water and set aside to use later.
Dissolve 1.5 tsp. of citric acid, in 1 cup cool unchlorinated water, Pour into empty cold pot.
Now, pour cold milk into your pot and mix well with the citric acid. Next, heat this milk to 90F while stirring slowly, but constantly. Monitor the temperature. When you near 90F, the milk may start to curdle slightly. This is ok.
At 90F, remove the pot from heat and slowly add your rennet (which you prepared in previous step) to the milk. Stir in a top to bottom motion for approx. 30 seconds, then stop. Cover the pot and walk away for 5 minutes.
NOTE: If you have problems with milk forming a proper curd, try increasing temp to 95 or even 100F.
Check the curd, it will look like custard, with a clear separation between the curds and whey. If too soft or the whey is milky, let set for a few more minutes.
Cut the curds into a 1″ checkerboard pattern.
Put the pot back on the stove and heat to 105F, gently stirring the curds. Take off the burner and continue slowly stirring for 2-5 minutes. (More time will make a firmer cheese)
With a slotted spoon, scoop curds into a microwave safe bowl. (If the curd is too soft at this point let sit for another minute or so.)
Use your hand to press the curd gently to remove as much whey as possible. Reserve the whey for sweet Ricotta.
Microwave the curd on HI for 1 minute. More whey should come out of the curd. Drain off all whey. Quickly work the cheese with a spoon or your hands until it is cool enough to touch. Continue to press the curds together and remove as much whey as possible.
Microwave 2 more times for 35 seconds each, and continue kneading, ,Draining off all of the whey as you go.
Knead quickly now as you would bread dough until it is smooth and shiny. Add salt near the finish.
At this point the cheese should be soft and pliable enough to stretch like taffy.
It is ready to eat when it cools.
Form it into a large ball or make small baby cheeses, and drop into ice water to cool. Wrap and refrigerate.
When you are comfortable and confident with this recipe, you can use Goats Milk instead of regular Organic Cows Milk for a special treat.
Hopefully you have saved all of the whey for sweet Ricotta, which will be tomorrows blog!