Fresh

From the Forum: Ricotta Advice Needed

This question came in recently via the Forum:

I do have a question as well. Trying to make ricotta today, I used 2% instead of whole milk. Added some citric acid and salt, heated to 195, and couldn't get the curds to separate, save a few lonely stark white ones floating on the top. After a while (since I assumed all was lost, although I wasn't sure why) I added some rennet to experiment. It separated, those curds sinking to the bottom, wispy off-white. I let them sit and then drained into butter muslin, which is now hanging to drain. Not sure what the finished product will be, or where I went wrong. Should I just not have used 2%?

Thanks,
Heather

I don't think a low-fat milk would entirely prevent the proteins from coagulating, it would just likely lead to a drier, less creamy texture. Perhaps the milk was ultra-pasteurized? If you have any further advice for Heather, leave a comment!

Ben Bernanke Loves Him Some Blintzes

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Photo by Susanica on Flickr.com
In a speech last week in Charlotte, NC, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke revealed that way back in 1958 the Charlotte Observer published an article with his grandmother's recipe for cheese blintzes. The article, "Ben Will Enjoy Grandma's Blintzes," also quoted little four-year-old Ben asking, "Grandma, why don't you teach my mommy how to make blintzes?"

Cheese of the Week: Dancing Ewe Farm Ricotta

Dancing Ewe Farm Ricotta, Drizzled With Honey

Granville, NY is a tiny country town nestled in the valley between the Adirondack Mountains of New York and the Green Mountains of Vermont, and dotted with historic Victorian homes and rolling, rustic farmlands. It is the home of Dancing Ewe Farm, who make some of the best fresh cow's milk ricotta anywhere. Yes, that's right, cow's milk. Though the name of the farm proclaims otherwise, and though ricotta is sometimes made with sheep's milk, this stuff is pure bovine.

The soft, fluffy curds are shipped fresh in the basket in which they were drained, with an indication on the label as to when the batch was produced. The label on the one I tried on one recent Thursday indicated that it was made two days prior, on Tuesday. Now that is fresh ricotta, my friends. Because of this, the only place you can find this cheese is at Murray's retail counters (it is too difficult to ship). But lest that prevent you from procuring some, let me remind you: this ricotta cheese is some of the best you will ever taste. Curdy, milky, it would be a perfect addition to many pasta dishes, and with some honey drizzled on it (as pictured above), it makes an incredible dessert.

Available for $12.99/lb at Murray's Cheese, retail locations

Ricotta Salata


It's been an ugly week people. Mass murder at home and abroad. Racism. Swarms of bad ideas and without Kurt Vonnegut to make it seem funny somehow.

It's made me get real philosophical about the world and forced me to attempt to come to a separate peace with all of the stupid cruelty that it encompasses.

Crème Fraîche: Heavy Cream Redux


Recycling.

This is something that we, as people trapped in a culture that is treading water creatively speaking, are all too familiar with.

The coolest cars on the road look like heavily Photoshopped versions of cars from decades ago when people had style. The best movie I saw this year was a dark re-tread of a cheesy cop-drama I loved as a pre-pubescent kid. My current favorite bands all sound like the distilled essence of bands from the last 30 I already loved. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the End of the American Century.

As depressing as recycling can be when used as a metaphor for the death of western civilization as a viable narrative it can be really fucking useful around the house when you need to do something with left over supplies from a truly Roman-vomitorium-style feed.

Bad Curd Nerd!

Wesley Lindquist of High Bridge, Wisconsin has given us all a wonderful lesson on how to set the raw dairy movement back a few years, having sickened at least 40 people with his unpasteurized white cheese curds. Cheese curds are fresh curds of cheese that are removed in the middle of the cheddar-making process (before pressing) and sold separately. When they are very fresh, they make a squeaky sound when you chew them, and are a very popular snack in Wisconsin. (And like most American culinary foodstuffs, there is also a deep-fried version of cheese curds, usually available at state fairs and the like.) It is illegal to sell any raw dairy products in Wisconsin, and Mr. Lindquist has been ordered to cease production. Personally, I would've thought his classy "unlabeled clear plastic bag" packaging would've tipped people off to the latent danger of his comestibles, but I guess sometimes you just gotta have some cheese curds.

Full Story

Goat Cheese Disaster.

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This is a problem that, I'm sure, few people have: too much expired goat milk. As it happens, this is a problem I'm faced with on a somewhat regular basis.

Being a thrifty and resourceful lad, I decided to attempt to turn this sow's ear into a silk purse by making a very simple goat cheese out of the unsalable, but still good, gallon of goat milk from Coach Farm.

The recipe calls for the gallon of milk to be heated to 190º and then mixed with a 1/2 cup of plain old white vinegar. In theory, this should lead to a supple paste of goat curd forming in your pot, which you then gently break up with a spoon, salt and then drain into a cheesecloth lined colander. After a few hours of draining you should have

Goat Cheese Disaster

Cheese of the Week - Burrata

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Burrata is a luscious, fresh cheese from Southern Italy, made from buffalo or cow's milk. Burrata is essentially unspun mozzarella curds mixed with fresh cream ("burro" is Italian for butter) stuffed into sheets of pulled mozzarella. This little pouch is then wrapped in leaves of the Asphodelus ramosus (an herb with leaves similar to leeks). Usually served with sliced tomatoes, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, burrata is a uniquely delicious experience.

Available seasonally from the Bedford Cheese Shop

Cheese of the Week - Tnuva Feta

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In honor of Passover, the cheese of this week is Tnuva's Feta-Style Sheep’s Cheese, made in Israel from cow's or sheep's milk. This briny cheese is kosher for Passover (as are most kosher cheeses) and crumbles nicely for salads.

I will be away from a computer for the next several days, so the blog will be on hold. Happy Passover and Easter everybody!

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