Sometimes we’re so used to heading out to the supermarket that it’s easy to overlook what we already have. I’m in lockdown and avoiding going to the supermarkets for as long as possible. And when I was getting low on cheese, I decided to make my own.
You might think that making cheese is complicated. Certainly, there are many artisanal kinds of cheese that require skill and expertise to make. But not this ricotta cheese. It’s super cheap and easy to make. And you can even make it using powdered milk.
We’ve been in lockdown for over five weeks. I have been surprised how I’ve been able to make what I have at home a strength – and that’s from someone who is already frugal! But what I am starting to miss is cheese. I decided to make this recipe with powdered milk because I have several packets of full-cream milk. My kids actually prefer powdered milk to fresh milk – odd but true. I prepare it as a special treat, but even so, I’ve got a lot still to use up.
I had always assumed that you needed fresh milk to make ricotta cheese. If you are a professional cheesemaker you probably want to use the best ingredients. But I’m a mum in lockdown trying to make my ingredients stretch while clearing out the cupboard. I trialled using powdered milk to make ricotta cheese thinking it would fail but was pleasantly surprised with how good the results were. Why don’t you try and see?
And before anyone asks, yes of course mozzarella is the best on pizza. But ricotta cheese works. It doesn’t melt and spread, but it’s still yummy.
140g (1 1/3 cups) full cream milk powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice (or vinegar)
Salt (to taste)
- Line a colander or basket with cheese cloth. I often like to use a (clean and new) chux wipe. You could also use thin cotton material, e.g. pieces from a torn sheet or cotton lining of a dress.
- Combine the milk powder with one cup of milk, stir to combine, then gradually add a further three cups of water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil.
- Add a decent squeeze of lemon juice (around one teaspoon). Boil the milk until firm curds start to appear.
- Allow the saucepan to cool slightly, and then pour the mixture into the prepared cheese cloth.*
- Let the mixture drain for a 30 minutes or more. I often like to twist the cloth to drain more of the liquid; this results in a firmer textured ricotta cheese.
Note: keep the remaining liquid, the ‘whey’. This makes super light pancakes, and can also be incorporated into smoothies.
|Half a lemon
This recipe makes between 200g and 250g of ricotta, depending on how firm the end ricotta is. A comparable product costs $4.30 for 250g (and of course, it’s not homemade and super fresh).