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Microwave Ricotta

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“Make your own ricotta in your microwave! Store-bought ricotta is loaded with gums and additives to keep it from separating... but it inevitably will when heated, leaving you with gritty pellets of cheese floating in water... in the middle of your lasagna. Make your own ricotta (technically, this is a type of paneer, but who's counting?) in less than 5 minutes in the microwave. Lemon juice will add a noticeable citrus tang, which is nice for sweet pastry, but may not be ideal for savory applications. Also, lemon juice may need as much as an extra 2 tsp. Milk becomes more acidic as it ages and may need less coagulant, so if your milk is less than fresh, reduce the acid a bit. UHT-treated milk (the kind that comes in boxes, or any organic milk) will give less-than-ideal results (smaller yield, and sticky curds). Adapted from a recipe by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt at Serious Eats. http://bit.ly/cU38G1”
READY IN:
4mins
SERVES:
2
YIELD:
0.375 cup
UNITS:
Metric

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Moisten 4 layers of cheesecloth or two layers of food-safe paper towels and lay into a colander set over a bowl.
  2. Combine milk, salt and vinegar or lemon juice in a 4-cup glass bowl or measuring cup. Microwave on high until bubbles form around the edge, 2-4 minutes. (An instant read thermometer should read 165-170°F). Remove from microwave and stir gently for 5 seconds; solid white curds should separate from translucent whey. If not, microwave up to 30 seconds more (if using lemon juice, add an extra 1-2 tsp before reheating).
  3. Transfer curds to lined colander using a slotted spoon or wire-mesh skimmer. Cover exposed curds with a layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate until desired texture is achieved (see next step). The whey may be used for bread-making or for enriching a garden.
  4. 5 minutes drain time will give a soft, almost cream-cheese-like consistency, great for immediate consumption drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper as a snack or appetizer, or with honey and berries as dessert. 15-20 minutes of draining will give you a cottage-cheese-like consistency good for moist savory applications like lasagna, manicotti, ravioli or spinach dip, for moist sweet things like cheesecake, or for uncooked pastry applications like cannoli filling. 2-24 hours will result in a dry, firm, crumbly curd best for pastries like ricotta pancakes, ricotta gnochi, or tortas.

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