Pardon the Cheesiness

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock without WiFi for the last few years, you know what Pinterest is. And if you know what Pinterest is, you MUST know of the illustrious pin-testing career of Sonja Foust, the Pintester. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click on the linkies and be prepared to lose at least a few hours per day of your life to the greatest time-suck since Tetris.

For my part in the movement (teehee, I said ‘movement’ – it’s like poop,) I have to re-test a pin that the Pintester has already tested, and record my observations like the good little scientist that I am. Here is the story:

First things first, I must chose a pin to test.  I scrolled through the many experiments, looking for something that A) I haven’t already done, like this one

I made Dulce de Leche/Caramel in a can and it didn’t explode!!!

and B) that I couldn’t fail too badly at, because, quite frankly, if I failed at melting a Rolo in between 2 Ritz crackers, I’d have to hand in every Girl Scout badge I ever earned. And I’ve definitely had some Pinterest Fails during my pinning career. For example, this

does not work unless you’ve got some kind of crazy sophisticated gummy fruit slice cutting device and the patience of Gandhi and Mother Teresa’s lovechild. I have neither.

So I chose to make my own ricotta. It looked pretty easy. I love cheese.  Jay loves when I make store-bought stuff from scratch. Good decision. So I re-read Sonja’s post. Then read the original post that the recipe came from, Framed Cooks. Still looked pretty easy-peasy. Let the cheese-making commence!

In true Pin-Testing fashion, I was missing an ingredient- buttermilk- and I had zero intention of purchasing buttermilk for me to use just 1 cup and then forget about in the fridge only to find 3 cups of curdled nastiness in there later. This happens in my house. A lot. Rather than trying to remember the buttermilk substitute, I searched the interwebs for a recipe that did not involve buttermilk. I found one here at the Serious Eats Food Lab. Upon reading that recipe, I remember that the buttermilk substitute is just regular milk and lemon juice or vinegar anyway. So look at that-  I kinda followed the original recipe!

I prepared my cheesecloth/strainer. I actually had cheesecloth for some odd reason. I had a fine mesh strainer but it was small and didn’t have legs or anything so an empty pitcher was employed to elevate the contraption.

My cheese straining device.

Next, I put the milk, heavy cream, and salt into a saucepan to boil.

DSCN1055[1]

It got smushed in the back of the stove because I was also making a gravy and boiling water for dinner. This made it a pain in the ass to keep an eye on, but I kept watching and stirring that thing like I was trying to create life in a primordial ooze. Which, of course, ensured that it was NEVER going to boil… until the 3 microseconds that I glance away to answer the 47th “Mommy, come here!!” from the tiny architect building block towers in the living room. Then it all came to a giant boil, spilling over the sides of the pan, all over the stovetop.

I added in the lemon juice to the remaining milk and let it simmer, watching it get all curdled and gross. Like when the aforementioned architect leaves his partially consumed cup of milk in his crib. Gross, but I know this is part of the cheese-making process so I fight past the urge to gag. And pour the curdled mess into the straining contraption.DSCN1056[1]It was a good thing I opted to halve the recipe because my teensy tiny strainer couldn’t even hold the little bit that I made.

After I got all the milky grossness into the strainer, I remembered that I simply must try to do that dramatic ‘cheese hanging from the kitchen faucet’ shot. Here is how that turned out:

Lol! Yeah, right. I'm not the skilled man. This is as close as you're getting to that.

Lol! Yeah, right. I’m not the skilled man. This is as close as you’re getting to that.

Once it cooled off enough, I squeezed out as much moisture as I could because it was still too wet for my liking after an hour or so of draining. Added some salt and packaged it up in a gelato container because why not. And it tasted like ricotta! It didn’t taste like Polly-O, but it tasted good!

DSCN1058[1]Then I stood back and felt very Italian, having made my own ricotta and enough gravy for a few meals, all at the same time! Somewhere, my great-grandpeople are proud. Or wondering what the hell is wrong with me wasting time making cheese when I can go buy a tub of Polly-O for half the cost.

DSCN1059[1]

To use the Pintester vernacular: Nailed it!

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15 thoughts on “Pardon the Cheesiness

  1. I want to try this SO BADLY but I cannot justify using up a whole gallon of milk. But I will, someday.

    Also, fun fact! The stuff that drains OFF the cheese can be used in baking wherever buttermilk is needed. You can even freeze it for later use. I heard this on a food radio show 🙂

  2. nice job!!! I’m terrified to try anything like this, but you guys made it look so much simpler. I am unsure I could justify the cost to make it though, in relation to how much I would need LOL

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