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How to make ricotta cheese sous vide

How to make ricotta cheese sous vide

How to make ricotta cheese sous vide

Ricotta is an Italian curd cheese; a light, fresh variety that partners well with salty cured hams, fresh figs and honey. Its delicate, creamy flavour makes it ideal for both savoury and sweet dishes, from classic spinach and ricotta ravioli and ricotta salads, to desserts such as cannoli and Neapolitan pastiera.

Ricotta is traditionally made from leftover whey, a by-product of making other cheeses such as Pecorino. It is easy to make at home – by replacing the leftover whey with milk - and contains just two ingredients: milk and acid, plus any flavourings you wish to add, such as salt or herbs. After heating the milk, the vinegar is added and the mixture is cooked until the curds have separated. It is then a simple matter of collecting the curds and straining them through muslin.

Using a water bath to make fresh ricotta is fuss and mess-free, and produces consistent, stable results. Once made, the ricotta is best eaten on the day, but can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

If you don't have access to sous vide equipment you can still make ricotta at home with our alternative guide.

1
Fill the water bath with clean, cold water and set the temperature to 78°C
2
Pour the milk into a large, food-grade zip lock bag and stir in the salt
Pour the milk into a large, food-grade zip lock bag and stir in the salt
3
Carefully lower the bag into the water bath, without allowing any water to get in to the bag or allowing any milk to leak out. You will see the air is expelled from the bag, caused by the surrounding pressure of the water - this is known as the Archimedes principle. Once all of the air has been expelled, seal the bag
4
Leave the milk in the water bath for 30 minutes, before opening the bag and stirring in the vinegar
5
Reseal the bag, again using the Archimedes principle, and leave to cook for a further 15 minutes
Leave to cook for a further 15 minutes
6
Line a sieve with a few layers of muslin and set it over a bowl
7
Use a slotted spoon to collect the curds that have formed in the bag and transfer them to the sieve
Collect the curds that have formed in the bag
8
Leave the cheese to drain for 1 hour, then tie up the muslin and squeeze out the remaining liquid. Leave for a further half an hour to one hour to finish draining
Tie up the muslin and squeeze out the remaining liquid
9
Transfer to a bowl and serve

Serving suggestions

Frances Atkins uses ricotta as part of a cake and serves with a red grapefruit and mango press, Dominic Chapman uses it to stuff courgette flowers while Francesco Mazzei uses it in his very challenging but delicious Lasagne pastachina.

 
 

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