A ricotta style cheese is easy to make with skim milk power, hot water and a bit of vinegar or lemon juice.
#100daysofcooking, Recipes

Day 73: Who made the cheese? That would be me


Lemon Farfalle with Peas and Homemade Ricotta


I’ve combined baking powder and vinegar to make volcanoes. I have mixed water and cornstarch to make Oobleek.

So when I read that I could turn milk powder and water into cheese, well … hell’s bells, count me in.

It all comes back to the zombie apocalypse / emergency preparedness research done for yesterday’s post on what to do with skim milk powder. Sure, I made a trio of beverages and aggregated a list of other tricks and tips.

But making your own cheese deserved further investigation.

This homemade cheese is a version of ricotta, which itself technically isn’t a cheese at all because it is made from cheese byproducts. In Italy, the byproducts would normally be the whey that is drained off while making mozzarella or provolone.

Ricotta, which translates to re-cooked, is made when an acid and heat are added to the whey. In your kitchen, you make ricotta by adding the acid to hot milk — or, in this case, milk made from skim milk powder.

It takes about a half-hour or so to make (most of this time is spent bringing the skim milk power and water up to temperature). Once it is drained, it can be used right away which is what we did in a lemon ricotta farfalle.

Kitchen Castoff Used

Skim milk powder

Lemon Farfalle with Peas and Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Lemon Farfalle with Peas and Homemade Ricotta Cheese

This is how we did it

For the ricotta cheese

The amount of cheese you make will be equal to the amount of skim milk powder you use. The ratio of water to skim milk powder is 2 – 1. I looked at a couple of recipes, including this one from Food Storage Made Easy and this one from momprepares.com.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup skim milk powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 – 4 tbsps vinegar or lemon juice
  • a bit of salt

Method

Combine the powdered milk and water in a saucepan over medium-low heat and keep a thermometer at hand. Stir the milk until it reaches 180 degrees (just below the boiling point).

Stir in the vinegar or lemon juice, mixing well. Cover with a clean kitchen cloth, and let it sit for about 10 – 15 minutes until it is cool. Then drain away the liquid, using either cheese cloth or a strainer. (I used a strainer and it worked fine.)

Note: After I put in the vinegar and left it, I went back and nothing had happened — there were a few bits of cheesy curds at the bottom of the pot. I solved this by bringing the same batch of liquid and milk powder back up to heat, then added more vinegar. It immediately separated out into curds.

For the Lemon Ricotta Farfalle with Peas

Quick, easy and tasty. There are lots of versions of this; I borrowed this one from steelehousekitchen.com.

Ingredients

  • Farfalle pasta, cooked according to directions. We usually cook about half a box for the two of us
  • ½ cup reserved pasta water
  • 1 cup or so of ricotta
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 1 tsp dried)
  • ½ tsp chopped fresh mint (optional)

Method

Cook pasta according to the directions on the box. Reserve ½ cup of the water that the pasta was cooked in. In a large bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt. Fold in peas and add the reserved water. Mix well.

Add the cooked pasta to the cheese mixture, sprinkle in the herbs, and stir to evenly coat.


Curious about my “Kitchen Castoffs” concept? Here’s the explainer describing my 100-day project.

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