Last week I had the pleasure, courtesy an awesome birthday gift, of attending one of Salvatore Bklyn’s ricotta making workshops at the incredible Brooklyn Kitchen Labs in Williamsburg. By now a seasoned ricotta maker, I was ready to learn some secrets from the pros and (hopefully) achieve a ricotta as smooth, creamy, and down right decadent as the ladies from Salvatore.
While the class was a little less intense than I hoped (I wonder if half of the people knew how to boil a pot of water), I did learn some tricks from Salvatore’s Betsy Devine. The result? Rockstar ricotta and a way better yield.
Here’s the dispatch on how to make your own rockstar ricotta:
Rockstar Ricotta my original recipe adapted with some tricks from Betsy at Salvatore
(Makes about a quart, depending on consistency)
1/2 gallon of whole milk, the fresher the better
3 ounces fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt, more to taste
1) Set up a strainer over a bowl. Put a layer or two of cheesecloth inside the strainer. If you don’t have cheesecloth, no worries — everything from sturdy paper towels to dishcloths or linen seems to work just fine.
2) Cook the milk on medium-low heat until it begins to simmer. Add in the salt. Betsy heats hers to a super high 197 F, much higher than any recipe I’ve ever read (my original recipe heats to 180 F). I am convinced, however, that the high temperature is part of the secret to her high yield.
3) Once you have that simmering, add in the acid. Stir it around for a minute and then let sit for a few minutes, the curds floating to the top.
5) SLOWLY SLOWLY SLOWLY pour your curdling milk onto the cheesecloth, spreading it around so the most moisture can drain. Wrap the top with plastic wrap.
6) Drain it! This is up to you — 10 minutes for super creamy ricotta, up to two hours for super dry, chunky ricotta or even drain it overnight in the fridge. Stick it in a mold and you’ll have ricotta salata after two days or so. 15 minutes seemed the tastiest strain to me. Eat it this way WARM with some olive oil, salt and pepper on bread!