Grilled Bread........yes today I am sharing a recipe for toast 😉 Luckily toast isn't the star of the show. The star of this platter is the creamy rich homemade ricotta. Homemade ricotta is delicious and you can whip up a batch in about 25 minutes but for 20 of those you can leave the ricotta and get on with something else.
I really urge you to try this, it is truly amazing! I love the way the curds form and you get cheese! Homemade cheese! Honestly even if you just do it for fun, please try it!
I suppose you could make this with shop bought ricotta but I promise you, making ricotta is easier than finding a parking space at the shops. What is more, you probably have the ingredients in the fridge/pantry right now! Otherwise I guess you'll have to find a parking space anyway and then you could just buy ricotta 😉 but you would be missing out on the creamy rich taste and the knowledge that you have made cheese! AND you can control the texture of your ricotta, if you want a very soft ricotta for spreading then you leave it to drain for less time, if you want a very dry crumbly ricotta for pizza then drain it well and squeeze out the remaining whey.
The key to a ricotta is the acid you add to the milk, you need enough to start the process but if you add too much you get a vinegar tang to your cheese. I like to use apple cider vinegar, but this will work with white vinegar or white wine vinegar, even lemon juice will produce ricotta. After heating the milk you need to add 5% by volume, of vinegar.
1 litre of milk = 1000ml
5% of 1000 = 1000 * 0.05 = 50
So for 1 litre of milk you need to add 50ml of vinegar.
The quantities I have given below make about 350g of ricotta. If you remember the rule of 5% acidity then you can make any amount of ricotta you like. Last week I made a small amount to put on a pizza, so I just used 250ml of milk.
Today we enjoyed the ricotta drizzled with olive oil, scattered with fresh herbs and a generous sprinkle of salt and freshly cracked black pepper. It was delicious with the grilled bread. 😉 I used fresh thyme in my dish, but mix it up and add your favourite herb. Make sure you use a good quality olive oil as the olive oil soaks into everything, so you want a tasty oil.
The by-product of making ricotta is whey, the watery part of the milk. I like to use it when I make bread as it gives my bread a slight sour-dough taste, it is also delicious used to make stock. Apparently people use it in the garden but that is definitely not my area of expertise!!!!
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Saturday Afternoon Platter - Homemade Ricotta and Grilled Bread
- 2 L full fat milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 100 ml apple cider vinegar
- Pour the milk in a large saucepan and stir in the salt.
- Heat the milk over a medium heat until it is just starting to boil. Stir it occasionally to stop it burning to the bottom of your pan.
- Remove from the heat and pour the apple cider vinegar around in a spiral.
- Stir gently and let it sit for 5 minutes to allow the curds to form.
- Place a sieve over a bowl and line with a clean tea towel (in the past I have used a new j-cloth)
- Slowly pour the curds and whey through your sieve.
- Allow it to stand for 5 - 15 minutes and then refrigerate until needed.
Then I drizzled it with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled over fresh thyme and seasoned it generously with salt and cracked black pepper. And of course don't forget the toast grilled bread.