The biggest mystery to me continues to be the variability of whey ricotta outcome. When I first started making cheese and tried Mary Karlin's ricotta recipes. I had some early success, but later had so many fails that I either I tried to find a way to make it palatable
(adding coconut milk did help, along with about 4 tablespoons of Ovaltine
) or threw it away. I tried again using a recipe I found here and had very good yield (1.3 lbs from 3.5 gal whey). Today I made my first Emmental using 4 gal. partly skimmed whole cows milk and thought I'd try ricotta again. Here's my steps:
1. Heated whey (guessing around 3.7 gal) to 160F
2. Added the reserved cream (about 1 pt.) and another pt. of whole milk.
3. Continued heating to 195F.
4. Added 1 1/4 cups white vinegar
5. Stirred, maintained temperature and covered pot with aluminum foil for 15 min.
Note that I did not add salt to the whey. Also, let me say that every time I've made ricotta from whey I've always had combination of "floating" curds and curds distributed through the body of the whey (usually more of the latter).
This time when I removed the foil there was a very nice "raft" of floating curds. Not until I started to ladle them off did I realize how thick and heavy the "raft" was. Anyway, turned out that after ladleing the curds into a ricotta mold there was essentially zero curds in the rest of the pot.
Ended up with 2.4 lbs of partially-drained ricotta with a really nice texture. I plan to drain a little more and salt and maybe try some dried ricotta or some of the spreads and dips posted here.