Step by step

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - Masterclass -

1 Fill a large saucepan with wa­ter to about 1cm deep; this pre­vents the milk from scald­ing. Com­bine 4 litres of ho­mogenised milk with 300ml pour­ing cream and add to pan. The ex­tra cream in­creases the fat con­tent to make the curds ex­tra creamy.

2 Add 120ml freshly squeezed lemon juice and 2 tbsp salt, and stir the mix­ture gen­tly to com­bine. Lime juice (used to make pa­neer), ap­ple cider vine­gar or but­ter­milk can also be used as the acidic el­e­ment in place of lemon juice.

3 Place the pan over low heat and heat slowly, with­out stir­ring, un­til it reaches 90˚C on a ther­mome­ter (about 1.5 hours). At around 80°C curds will form on the top. Re­sist the urge to stir – this will cause the curds to re­lease more whey, mak­ing the tex­ture chalky. A low heat is best to achieve nice soft curds with mois­ture in the ri­cotta.

4 Once the curds have formed, re­move the pan from the heat and stand for 10 min­utes for curds to set­tle. They will still float on the sur­face dur­ing this time. If you no­tice at 90˚C that the milk hasn’t sep­a­rated or cur­dled enough, leave the pan on the heat and add more lemon juice, a ta­ble­spoon­ful at a time, un­til you can clearly see the sep­a­ra­tion of curds and whey. Don’t let the mix­ture ex­ceed 95˚C.

5 Care­fully scoop out the curds with a slot­ted spoon – do not pour – into a large ri­cotta bas­ket or a muslin-lined colan­der. Stand the bas­ket over the pan for 15 min­utes to drain ex­cess whey and re­serve the whey (see be­low).

6 Ri­cotta can stand at room tem­per­a­ture for up to an hour if you want to serve it warm and fresh. Oth­er­wise store in an air­tight con­tainer in the re­frig­er­a­tor. Ri­cotta can also be stored in the bas­ket cov­ered; the longer it’s left in the bas­ket, the firmer it will be­come. Fresh ri­cotta will keep for 10 days to two weeks re­frig­er­ated.

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