The internet, food television and access to equipment has opened up all-new vistas for the now-burgeoning bandwagon of people who are looking to do more than just skim the surface of conventional cooking. You can experiment with cultures and fermentation and end up making French cheeses like camembert and brie and also brew your own alcohol at home. Amateur setups too have started all over where home brewers meet every month to share their experiments with the yeasty brew. This quiet revolution will soon take kitchens across the world by storm and we couldn’t be happier.
Try this at home
Say cheese with this no fuss recipe for ricotta salata, a dry and salted ricotta. The younger the cheese, the saltier it is, but it blooms into a mellow treat as it ages. It is made with readily available citric acid powder rather than hard-to-find rennet.
Ricotta Salata Makes 300g; 1 hour + draining, curing and aging
Fresh pasteurized cow/s milk 3.5l, at room temperature Full-fat cream ½ cup (optional) Citric acid powder 1tsp Non-iodized salt 1tsp + 1tbsp + extra for salting
Combine the milk, cream (if using), citric acid powder and 1tsp salt and mix thoroughly using a whisk. Place in a large, non-reactive (stainless steel) pot over a medium-low heat. Heat the milk to 85-90 C, for about 15-20 minutes. Stir frequently with a flexible rubber spatula to prevent scorching. As the milk reaches the desired temperature, the milk curds will begin to form.
When the curds and the whey separate, and the whey is yellowish-green in color and just slightly cloudy, turn off the heat. Gently run a thin rubber spatula around the edge of the curds to rotate the mass. Let the curds set, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.
Line a ricotta mould, colander or plastic strainer with water-dampened butter paper. Ladle the curds into the colander, being careful not to break the curds. Use along handle mesh skimmer to capture the last of the curds. If any curds are stuck to the bottom of the pan, leave them there. You don’t want scorched curds flavoring the cheese.
Gently toss the curds with the remaining 1 tbsp salt and toss with your hands to distribute. Line a ricotta mould with a damp cheesecloth and place on a draining rack over a tray. Press the cheese into a mould, cover the tails of the cloth, and weigh it down with a 1kg weight (a pint of water). Press for 1 hour, then unmould the cheese, unwrap, flip it, re-dress in the same cloth and return to the mould. Press with the same weight for 12 hours, or overnight.
Unmould and unwrap the cheese, then slightly rub the surface with salt. Re-dress in clean cheesecloth, return to the mould, then set it on a drying rack in a box in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
Unwrap the cheese and rub all over with more salt and return undressed to the mold. Continue this salting and flipping process once a day for a week to cure the cheese. After 3 days remove the cheese from the mould and place on the draining rack.
If any unwanted mould appears wipe it off with a salt and vinegar solution. After 1 week, brush any excess salt from the cheese. Use immediately or wrap the cheese in paper and refrigerate for 2 weeks (for a mature cheese) up to 2 months.
Per Serving 547 kcals, protein 29.17g, carbs 43.75g, fat 29.17g, sat fat 18.23g, fiber none, salt 2g