Author Topic: When Life gives you citric acid...  (Read 92 times)

Offline KazAugustin

  • Young Cheese
  • **
  • Location: Malaysia
  • Posts: 13
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Soap-maker, Cheese-maker, Writer, Linux lover
    • Challis Tower Books
When Life gives you citric acid...
« on: July 08, 2016, 02:11:41 AM »
This is a sad tale with a happy ending, proof that quickish thinking (aka utter panic!) can sometimes save you from disaster.

As I live in southern Malaysia, I only have supermarket milk to depend on. (The really good quality, non-homogenised stuff is only available in a small geographic area around the capital, Kuala Lumpur. Sigh.) Flush with success from my Fourme d’Ambert, I decided to go for a Cambozola. I got 2L of supermarket milk, a brand I hadn't tried before for cheesemaking. (Yes, I know. I won't do it again.) Cambozola normally asks for a 1:1 milk:cream ratio, but the only cream we can get here is UHT, so I went with 750mL of cream and 1.25L of “super-charged” milk liquid (200g milk powder + 1L water).

I began my recipe, added all the cultures, rennet and whatnot. And waited. And waited. And waited. No curds. The milk had barely thickened after more than 4 hours of ripening! The milk had obviously been over-pasteurised. Aaaargh!!! What to do? I had some citric acid in the pantry and decided to use the failed curd mixture thing to make that most detested of cheeses: Ricotta. Bland, grainy. Bleech! Better than throwing the lot away. Barely. I could always put it in lasagne, I thought.

Friends, ah friends, the Ricotta I got from my Cambozola debacle was unlike any ricotta I had ever tasted in my life. It actually had flavour! It wasn't the Ricotta of which I was familiar, drywall/gyprock filler, but a real cheese! So I made an Italian cheesecake out of it, with a topping of berry jam.

I’m so glad the recipe went wrong. If it hadn’t, I would never have discovered the joy of Real Ricotta. I’m now a convert. This is going to be the start of a beautiful, and tummy-satisfying, relationship!

Kaz!

Offline MrsKK

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Wisconsin
  • Posts: 1,899
  • Cheeses: 62
  • Default personal text
Re: When Life gives you citric acid...
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2016, 07:15:26 AM »
I always told my cheesemaking classes that there are rarely true failures in cheesemaking, but many "results other than expected".

I'd venture to guess that what you ended up with was very similar to mascarpone, but because of the culturing also had elements of cream cheese.  At any rate, you had a successful result, just not what you expected.

True ricotta is made by re-cooking whey that is left over from making a cultured cheese - my best and highest volume results are from mozzarella whey.  It is light and fluffy and only gets grainy if it is allowed to come to a boil or there are bits of the "original" cheese curd left in the whey.  You are probably thinking of ricotta made by heating milk and adding acid to it.

Offline atalanta

  • Young Cheese
  • **
  • Location: Barnsley's Ford, Southeastern PA
  • Posts: 9
  • Cheeses: 0
  • If it tastes ok, it probably is.
Re: When Life gives you citric acid...
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2016, 07:27:00 AM »
Nice going! There's this gourmet shop I go to in Philly that has baked ricotta. Looks a lot like your cheesecake and is divine. I'm thinking of doing something like that with the left over ricotta from my "failed" batch from Monday.

Offline KazAugustin

  • Young Cheese
  • **
  • Location: Malaysia
  • Posts: 13
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Soap-maker, Cheese-maker, Writer, Linux lover
    • Challis Tower Books
Re: When Life gives you citric acid...
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2016, 08:43:45 AM »
Aw, @MrsKK, does that mean that I have to go through the whole Cambozola disaster again to get that Ricotta? I followed a recipe for "Sweet Ricotta" from Amrein-Boyes', which uses whole milk rather than whey ("Traditional Ricotta"). I think I may just give it another shot this weekend. Just to be scientific about it all, of course.  ;)

@atalanta, oh, you've got to try it. It's delish. I got the recipe from Allrecipes. Here's the link: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/8168/sicilian-ricotta-cheesecake/. I left out the cinnamon and used the full complement of 6 eggs. I hear they're healthy now! LOL