For this recipe you’ll need to get culture and rennet from a cheese making supplier (e.g. cheeselinks). They will also give you dosage rates (how many mg/ml per litre), you will also need some basic equipment so have a look for that at the same time.
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Standing time 1 hours 40 minutes
Settling time 10 minutes
Turning time 1 hour
Draining time overnight
Brining time 24 hours per kg of cheese
Maturation time 4 weeks
Heat your milk to 34°C in a saucepan over low heat (allow for temp of room +/- 1°C).
Add starter cultures according to manufacturers instructions.
Allow this milk to stand to ripen for 40 minutes at 34°C (we placed the saucepan into a big water bath to help the milk retain its warmth).
Stir in the rennet (we used a liquid version). This will coagulate the milk. Stir well for at least 3 minutes using stirring paddles or a wooden paddle or similar. Stop stirring but wait until milk has completely stopped moving before carefully removing the stirring paddles.
Allow this mixture to stand, completely undisturbed, for about 60 minutes so it coagulates. Ideally it’s still warm and in the water bath. Do not stir or move vat during this time.
Cut the curd using a long sharp knife (a bread knife works well) so it ends up about the size of peas. Do it slowly, patiently and carefully.
Let this mixture heal for a minimum of 5 minutes. Allow curd to be well covered by whey. It helps to set the outside of each ball of curd.
Now it’s time to stir: using your hands, gently stir to separate the curds. As curd firms up you can be a bit rougher. Clean sides and bottom of vat with hands to get any curd off the sides. The curd needs to be quite dry. Check curd regularly.
Bring curd up to 42°C over a 45 minute period using a warm water bath. Stir constantly. The curd needs to be quite dry. Check it regularly.
Now stop stirring. Allow curd to settle for 10 minutes then decant the whey – keep to make ricotta.
Stir the curd one more time to break up lumps. Do not allow the curd to re-knit. (If it does, tease it apart gently.) Fill hoops (cheese moulds with holes to let the cheese drain) to ¾ level and place on drain table or tray.
Now it’s time to turn. Be careful, because you want the curds to knit together now, but you also want to turn it early.
Turn 1 – as soon as possible
Turn 2 – 30 minutes later
Turn 3 – 30 minutes later
Drain overnight at max. 20°C.
In a saturated solution for about 24 hours per kg of cheese.
Cheeses are placed on wooden shelves in a room or a clean tub at 10–15 degrees and 70-80% relative humidity. The cheese is turned and rubbed with a damp cloth at least weekly until the cheese is ready for eating. This style of cheese can be eaten after about 4 weeks
For a fresher style cheese, we also used a starter culture and rennet. An active yoghurt culture would work, giving the milk some gentle acidity. Talk to the cheese supply shop about what you may need in terms of cultures and rennet and the quantities in which to use them.