How to make Ricotta Cheese
What is Ricotta Cheese?
Ricotta is believed to originate in Italy during the early part of the 13th century, its name means “ cooked again”. This vasertile cheese has played a major role in Italy’s cuisine in particular and also in the world’s cuisine in general since then.
Ricotta comes in shape of a liquid appearing during the production of mozzarella and provolone. This liquid is first called whey and kind of watery and foamy. Then this whey will be cooked once again till it turns into curd texture and that we get our ricotta.
Ricotta holds great flexibility that the housewives can create many different combination from it. Many Italian dishes such as pasta, ravioli, tortellini and also deserts such as cheesecakes, cookies, etc. use ricotta as a crucial ingredient. Ricotta also works well as a topping in bagels, Italian bread and sweet rolls. You can serve it in hot or cold if you want to add ricotta in your salad as a dip.
Most important thing is that this cheese is proved good to our health, which allows us to create unlimited dishes based on its incredible capability.
Where does Ricotta Cheese come from?
Since the 1980s, ricotta has been sold in American grocery stores as a product made from cow’s milk and sharing much similarity with cottage cheese. It bring to the diner a mild, light sweet taste but moist, firm texture.
You can also make your own ricotta with lemon juice, milk and half of hour at home!
How to make
Can you freeze Ricotta Cheese
If your kids’ favourite dish is lasagna, it must be a headache problem with the leftover ricotta cheese. This such expensive cheese can be in bad condition if you put it in the refrigerator for a long time without a proper method. In this article, we will figure out how to freeze ricotta in the right way to keep the best quality.
How To Freeze Ricotta Cheese
With your Ricotta alone:
The expiring date of ricotta can last for around three months if it is put in low temperature condition. But you can lengthen this time by simply follow these instructions:
- Use fresh ricotta cheese. This is not only good for your dish but also helps a lot in storage process.
- Put the ricotta in the fridge in packed condition. If you haven’t opened it, put the whole inside. If you have, use a freezer bag and enclose it firmly. Make sure the is no gas left in your bags before enclose them.
- Use heavy duty freezer bags if you store ricotta in containers in case of burning.
- Your cheese will be sour if there is still whey left in your container or bag, so remember to clean everything before putting your cheese inside.
- The temperature is required to be zero degree Fahrenheit or lower to ensure the best quality. This is the key point to store your expensive cheese so you can use a thermometer to make sure about the proper temperature.
Everything after put in the fridge won’t keep the same taste and texture as before. Ricotta is not an exception. Nevertheless, you can use it in lasagna, soups or any dishes that need cooking.
- There will be some liquid on top of ricotta when you thaw it after days in the refrigerators. Use an electric mixer or a large spoon to mix it in the cheese until it is not too soupy.
Make sure that your cheese hasn’t turns yellow or has had not so nice flavor. This is a sign showing that the cheese has become rotten.
With Ricotta Cheese as an ingredient:
It is surprising to know that ricotta is stored better in form of an ingredient in a dish instead of a cheese itself.
I will take lasagna as an example in this case. Here are some steps to free lasagna with ricotta inside.
- First you need to cut it into parts with proper sizes.
- Use plastic or wax paper/ bags to cover each part one by one.
- Use a freezer bag to cover each part once again.
- Put into the fridge under a low temperature.
This approach helps you store your dish in a long time and is also convenient when you only want to thaw a small part of the dish.
Dishes with ricotta as an ingredient which perform well in freezing condition can be listed as: Lasagna, gnocchi, tortellini, manicotti, cannelloni, ricotta pie, ravioli, ricotta calzones and other kind of ricotta pasta.
Thawing process is also important to notice:
- Thaw your dish in the fridge first
- If you use oven for reheating, remember to add a bit water so that the sauce can be distracted from the pasta
- If you use microwave, it would be much better if you cover the dish with plastic or wax paper or aluminum foil.
You can also freeze your deserts such as cheese cakes in the fridge but they shouldn’t be stored for more than a month.
If you follow the above instructions correctly, you can double your ricotta’s available time. Hope you gain the best results with your ricotta cheese!
Substitute for Ricotta Cheese
- 1. Yogurt
- 2. Béchamel Sauce
- 3. Tofu
- 4. Goat Cheese
- 5. Whey
- 6. Cashews
- 7. Clabbered Milk
- 8.Queso Fresco
- 9. Crème Fraîche
- 10. Parmesan
- 11. Mozzarella
If you are a cheese-aholic, ricotta must be something very familiar. Made from whey drained off from the production of mozzarella and provolone, this fresh cheese is a great ingredient in pasta and dessert dishes. However, with someone who is seeking for a low-fat dish or is a vegetarian, ricotta is not much a wise choice. Thus, this article will help you find a perfect substitute for the ricotta to fit every diner.
Yogurt can be quite interesting if you’re willing to find a light taste. Many Mediterranean and Middle East housewives use yogurt to make the sauce in their dishes.
- Going under a fermentation process, this dairy product can contain potassium, B12, and other important nutrients. Some might worry about this lactose fermentation, yet the oven would be the game changer. The bacteria, which actually aid your digestion, would be roughly inactive after being heated.
- One good thing is that you won’t have to worry about calories and fat since this product is much lighter than most of cheeses. Vegan will also find this an ideal solution when they can make themselves this “cheese” easily.
- On the other hand, this replacement can’t afford the best taste. Its texture and flavor is kind of similar to cream and mayonnaise at the same time.
Remember to use plain yogurt with no added flavors or sugar. Greek yogurt is also sugar-free either and is something that Greeks use in their dips.
2. Béchamel Sauce
Bechamel Sauce, which is also known as white sauce, is made from cooked butter and flour. This “roux” is then mixed with milk or cream to enrich the greasy taste. Many of modern sauces nowadays origin from this basis béchamel.
- An advantage is that you can have a better control over the sauce’s consistency. The more milk, the runnier this sauce would be and vice versa.
- In addition, unlike ricotta, Bechamel also prevents you from burning your dish since it needs more time for cooking.
Some diner may want to look for a replacement for ricotta because of dietary sensitivities or allergies, or because they are a vegetarian. Actually, this tofu can be quite flexible as well as suitable as a substitute for ricotta cheese.
- It can recreate the same thickness and moisture as ricotta.
- More than that, tofu can even be a better base than being a feature.
- You can also free your mind in creating with a little bit basil mixed in, then your tofu can become a big change.
4. Goat Cheese
In this case, goat cheese seems to come very close to our actual ricotta. Not to be confused with aged goat cheese, fresh goat cheese is similar to Fromage blanc, except made with goat’s milk.
- A good goat cheese can even beat ricotta and give out much stronger in flavor. Though this goat’s product may turn out sharp and spicy, goat cheese holds a great similar in flavor with ricotta.
- In contrast, goat cheese can melt uncontrollably under the heat so that you should consider when using it in a long time cooking recipe.
We also have another kind of goat cheese, which is called goat’s milk ricotta. Many Italian use this as a substitute as cow’s milk is rare to find.
During the process of making mozzarella or provolone, there will be some stuff left behind, which is called whey.
You can make your own ricotta from that watery fluids by adding a little milk into the mixture. The milk will help whey shape its density and flavor. This process would be easier to handle the texture of your final result.
After drying everything out, your runny whey will become a ricotta with much more surprise when tasting. Some people call this whey is Ricottone, not Ricotta.
Vegan may find many options in this article when another healthy food come out.
- The texture that cashew can create for stuffed shells is unneglectable. It can be much more perfect if mixed with some spinach or bay leaves.
- Cashew can bring out as much protein as cheese can as well.
Remember to soak cashews overnight so this protein can be enriched, and also the cashews will be much softer to be placed in the food processor. Finally, mash them all until they reach the same thickness as your ricotta.
7. Clabbered Milk
Clabbered cream and buttermilk cheese are the two incredible fillings for pasta. Clabbered, which is made from the curdling and souring process over time, can be a bit thicker than crème fraîche and significantly less sour than sour milk.
You can enjoy that similar cream by some lemon juice or whole milk. Take out 1 tablespoon of juice mixed with 1 cup of milk. You can also achieve a similar result using vinegar.
If the vinegar taste or lingering lemon might bother you, you should use tartar cream instead.
Queso Fresco, or queso blanco, which means “fresh cheese”, is made originally from raw cow’s milk or a combination of cow and goat milk in Mexico.
- Its flavor can be quite innocuous since it is mild, fresh, bright and milky at the same time.
- Queso Fresco has a trademark salty-sour kick just as clabbered milk due to the same making process.
- One of many good points of this cheese is that it can satisfy the taste of ricotta. . It’s great with tomatoes and best for lasagna.
- Though it is soft and quite easy to break down into a runny liquid, it is better than ricotta in the creamy state.
- However, finding a Spanish store selling this cheese is a real challenge.
9. Crème Fraîche
- Crème fraîche is a sibling to sour cream yet it is reduced the tartness more than sour cream.
- This cream is also high in thickness so it can give you the expecting ricotta’s creaminess.
High-fat content inside this cream can give you better chance to get rid of burning your dish, but this can become a big problem for people trying to lose weight.
You can make your own cream faiche by mixing buttermilk and whole milk in a ratio of 1 tablespoon buttermilk: 1 cup of milk. Put them all in an oven for heating in about 1 minute then refrigerator for cooling in 12 hours.
This name is given to Italian cheese which is hard in texture and all made from cow’s milk.
- This hardness is heaven to anyone who is finding an acceptable grittiness of ricotta in the substitute. Cottage cheese can also be mixed in to reach the ideal result.
- Nevertheless, too hard in texture can drive your cheese to be too dry. One solution is mixing it with another cheese/ cream listed above to get the best dish.
If you’re finding a way to complete stuffed shells or baked ziti, parmesan’s dryness can be fixed with a bit of a stringy mozzarella.
It is a great missing if you mention Italy without mozzarella. Be careful when buying Mozzarella because a bad Mozzarella can result in dryness and heaviness.
Beside, this “perfect” fresh cheese still shows some weakness as a replacement for ricotta. One of these is not giving such strong flavor as we expected. Clumping texture and fibrous texture are two other problems that we should consider when using this.
Though this Italian treasure can be perfect on its own, it just can be the last consideration after all of the above.
Hope all the products above have helped you find the best replacement for your ricotta. They are not only useful as backups but also great companions for many more dishes. It’s all depend on your creativity.
- How to make Ricotta Cheese
- Can you freeze Ricotta Cheese
- Substitute for Ricotta Cheese