There are times when I need some fresh cheese stat but I can’t be bothered to step out in the crazy Bangalore Heat.(I can’t even begin to sympathise with you Chennai and Delhi folks!)For those times this recipe is a life saver.Also anything made at home is a thousand times more nutritious and free of dubious ingredients than something store bought.
The ricotta cheese made using this recipe is creamy, soft and not overly salty like the packaged variety available in the market.It is as easy as making Paneer at home.Infact,you can press the ricotta for longer and make a very paneer like firm cheese.
Having said that,I have wondered time and again about the difference between Paneer and Ricotta.Is Ricotta a fancier name for Paneer?Is Ricotta and Indian Chenna the same thing?The difference it seems is only technical.For you and me who are not cheese scientists Chenna and Ricotta is almost the same thing.
The texture of ricotta and Chenna is actually quite similar.Chenna is the fresh soft creamy cheese made with buffalo milk curdled using lime juice, which is actually the precursor to the firmer Paneer or Cottage Cheese.If Chenna is hung for longer period of time you get paneer which can be cut into cubes and fried or put in curries.In india,Chenna is used to make sweets like Rasagulla and Sandesh.
Have you ever made paneer at home?If the resulting cheese is not hung or drained for too long, it ends up with a very creamy texture.Well that’s Ricotta/Chenna.
Milk used to make Ricotta Cheese
if you have ever tried making paneer with toned milk(skim milk) you will know that its extremely disappointing. You will barely end up with half a cup of stingy looking cheese using skimmed milk.
To Geta creamy consistency the milk needs to have a good amount of fat in it.Thats the reason I have used full fat milk and further augmented the creaminess by adding a carton of cream.This gives me melt in your mouth creamy cheese which you will not be able to get with skim milk.
How to You use Ricotta Cheese
The easiest way to use ricotta is to spread it over some nice bread, top it with honey and fruit and make a picnic out of it.You could also crumble it over a crunchy salad to add another texture to it.I have made the most amazing summer salad with watermelon and musk melon with it recently.
Ricotta can also be used in making Indian desserts like sandesh,maal Pua and rasagulla. Its great in cheesecakes and tarts too.
How to Store Fresh Ricotta Cheese
Homemade ricotta doesn’t contain any preservatives(till you don’t add some) and so it doesn’t have a long shelf life.Outside the fridge it will not stay for more than a day(in hot places)Ricotta can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for about 4-5 days.
Serves: 2 cups
- 1000 ml of Full Fat Milk
- 100 ml of Cream
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Lime Juice
- Boil the Milk and cream together at high heat.
- Add Salt and Lime Juice.Mix with a ladle.
- Reduce the flame to low and simmer for 2 minutes till you see the milk separating.
- Cool.Drain in a cheese cloth and hang it over the basin so that the water from the curds starts to ooze out.Let the cheese hang for about 1 hour for a firmer ricotta.
- For a juicier and creamier texture hang the curd for about ½ hour.