Author Topic: ricotta NEVER works  (Read 4478 times)

Offline dayflowr

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ricotta NEVER works
« on: October 03, 2010, 07:23:09 PM »
I don't understand what I am doing wrong. I have tried making ricotta numerous times, and the only partially successful try was when I made mozzarella and I ended up with about 2 tablespoons.  I tried again today after making cheddar. I used the whey right away (about 8 quarts), didn't let it sit around. Heated it to 195, added 1/4 cup vinegar. Nothing. Continued heating to 205. Added another 1/4 cup of vinegar. Got a small amount of ricotta lining my cheesecloth. Using very find cheesecloth so it is not an issue of it going through. What in the world am I doing wrong?


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Offline MrsKK

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Re: ricotta NEVER works
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2010, 09:15:53 PM »
Although most books I read say that the whey must be very fresh, I have had better results in making ricotta the day after I make the other cheese.  My best yields come from cultured mozzarella (I've not had any luck at all with making ricotta from 30-minute mozz) and I don't use vinegar to precipitate the ricotta, just heat.  When the whey reaches about 207-210 degrees, I take it off the heat, as the ricotta "clouds" are starting to form.

Other than your whey being very fresh (you should still get SOME ricotta from it), the other thing I notice is that your temps are a bit lower than what I aim for.  Ricotta really does precipitate at just below the boil.

Have you checked your thermometer to see if it is properly calibrated?  If it is measuring high, that could be your issue too.

Best of luck!

Offline clherestian

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Re: ricotta NEVER works
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2010, 07:42:49 AM »
For me, it is about getting the right acidity along with the right temp. If I were you, I wouldn't add a certain amount of vinegar just because a recipe calls for it. The recipes assume a certain whey acidity level, and yours might be different. It helps if you know how acidic your whey is to start with.

First off, it is way easier if you add some milk to the whey. Heat your liquid and hold it for a minute. If you don't have any precipitation, add about half the amount of acid that your recipe calls for. Wait for a minute and check if you have precipitation. If not, slowly add more acid till you see curds precipitating. Sometimes if you add too much acid, you will see your curds sink to the bottom instead of floating. 

Ricotta made from different cheeses will require different amount of acid. Also, if you let the whey sit around, it will require different amounts of acid. To start with, try making ricotta with whey from the same cheese. recod everything you do till you get a feel for how much acid you need.

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: ricotta NEVER works
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2010, 10:42:09 PM »
The best yields come from pasta fileta type cheeses and romano, which is where riccotta originally came from. Not all cheese whey has enough proteins left to waste your time on.

As with Mrs KK I never make it the same night as the first cheese. Wait at least over night.

Offline ConnieG

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Re: ricotta NEVER works
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2010, 08:59:25 AM »
This is helpful.  The last time I made Ricotta I added a half gal of milk to about 3 gal of whey thinking I wanted a nice yield for cooking.  Well the curds matted and fell to the bottom of the pot in a mass.  It was a tasty fresh cheese but not anything useful.


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Offline clherestian

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Re: ricotta NEVER works
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2010, 10:18:06 AM »
If they matted together and fell to the bottom, then I would guess you added to much acid. The right amount of acid will yield a sweeter, lighter curd that floats.

Offline ConnieG

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Re: ricotta NEVER works
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2010, 10:28:58 AM »
Yes, I added the vinegar per the recipe but I'm thinking that even though I can't afford the PH meter for a while I at least need to use the paper strips and add the vinegar slowly.  I have also been unhappy with the vinegar taste to the ricotta recipes - even thought my recipe says you won't be able to taste vinegar I find the flavor overpowering.

Offline clherestian

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Re: ricotta NEVER works
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2010, 01:10:35 PM »
You shouldn't need ph strips. You can just watch it and see when it precipitates. it will look like a white cloud forming.

If you don't like vinegar, you can use citric acid or lemon juice.

Offline Ken

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Re: ricotta NEVER works
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2010, 03:26:04 PM »
Whenever I make ricotta I have had great results from UHT (Ultra high treated) milk. I have had litttle resuts from whey.

Offline dayflowr

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Re: ricotta NEVER works
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2010, 09:54:13 AM »
Thanks for the input. I generally try it first without vinegar and then heat it a bit more if nothing happens before adding vinegar. Does the kind of milk make a difference?  I'm using goat milk.


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Offline Susan

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Re: ricotta NEVER works
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2010, 04:22:29 PM »
I also struggle with ricotta.  I have never used vinegar.  But just heated the whey.  When it seems like nothing will happen, at just over 200 degrees I get that 'white cloud'.  The tricky part is straining it out of the whey.  The 'curds' are so tiny and grainy they clog up a cloth.  I scoop them off the top with a ladel and put that in a gold coffee filter to let it drain.  That seems to work fine. but it fills up fast.  Does anyone have a good method of straining ricotta?
Susan

Offline MrsKK

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Re: ricotta NEVER works
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2010, 06:59:08 PM »
I use a slightly coarse weave fabric (not too coarse or the ricotta all runs through it!) inside of a colander.  Every hour or so, I scrape down the inside of the fabric to loosen up what has collected on the cloth.  I also lift up the corners of the cloth, as sometimes they "seal" themselves to the colander.

After the liquid had drained out enough that I can tie the corners of the fabric without any of the whey/curds spilling over, I tie the cloth over a barbecue fork (about the only thing long enough to span my colander), tying the diagonal corners to each other.  It seems to drain better that way, too.

Offline ancksunamun

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Re: ricotta NEVER works
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2010, 09:57:23 PM »
I have had no problems with making Ricotta and always get a pretty good yield from just the whey.

I bring my pot up to 95 degrees celcius and once I get a foam on the top I drop in 40mls of vinegar (roughly) and a tablespoon of salt. I let it boil up until all the ricotta comes to the top and then use a metal mesh sieve to scoop it all out into a cheesecloth lined bowl.

I then knot the cloth up and hang it to drain for about half an hour. Perfect ricotta!

Offline Tar

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Re: ricotta NEVER works
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2010, 05:45:59 AM »
.....................
Not all cheese whey has enough proteins left to waste your time on.
As with Mrs KK I never make it the same night as the first cheese. Wait at least over night.
This is obviously true.  It may also depends on the  milk and protein type in the milk.

Offline motochef

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Re: ricotta NEVER works
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2010, 10:02:13 PM »
My instructor taught me to add the vinegar and the salt at the start of the heating process. We did both with whole milk and whey. The whey was not as good as the whole milk both in taste and yield. The whey was form raw milk. I'm going to use my whey for the garden. They whole milk stuff is just too good!

  Here is how I make mine
1 Gal of whole Milk or Whey
2.5 ounces of white vinegar
Palm full of Kosher salt

High direct heat to 190 stirring often and shut off and let sit for 20-30 minutes . You can double this..