Fresh Cheese Curds/Ricotta

Age is not important unless you’re a cheese.
Helen Hayes

How timely this week at the cooking club…”Say Moo” and it so happens that I made cheese curds/like ricotta yesterday for our spinach and ricotta stuffed tomatoes, call it too lazy to go to the store for ricotta and I didn’t have rennet so I substituted lemon juice and ended up with small curds, but the cheese tasted just fine and I’ll use the remaining cheese for an antipasto dinner and drizzle good olive oil and some fresh herbs over the cheese.

I strained my cheese in a mesh strainer lined with cheese and allowed to drain for an hour or so before storing in a canning jar and refrigerating.

Here is Hugh’s recipe, but I had to adapt it according to what I had on hand which was 1/2 gallon whole milk…
2 liters whole organic milk, either raw or unhomogenized
A pinch of salt (1/2 teaspoon)
2 tsp rennet

Pour the milk into a clean non-reactive saucepan and add the salt. Heat the milk gently to 38C, or blood temperature, and immediately remove it from the heat. Stir in the rennet until it’s well combined, then leave for 15 minutes, for the milk to separate into curds at the top and whey at the bottom.

Either use a jelly bag or line a colander with a large, double-layered piece of scalded muslin. Use a slotted spoon, or small sieve gently to scoop up the curds in as large pieces as possible, and put into the muslin. Tie up the corners of the muslin and hang to drip above a bowl or sink for about three hours.

Unwrap the muslin, place the cheese in a jar or bowl, cover, and store in the fridge. The curd cheese will stay fresh and “sweet” for around two to three days, before turning more tangy and cheesy, at which point it’s probably better suited to cooking with or to add to fresh, savory dishes. Use within a week.