On Wednesday, I talked all about my new cheese making hobby, and I just wouldn't leave you alone about saving your whey.
Well, first of all, it's loaded with protein, so you can use as a nutritious replacement for water in all sorts of recipes, especially bread recipes.
I've got an even better plan for it, though - Ricotta cheese! This recipe is so easy, it doesn't make sense not to make some ricotta cheese right after you finish making your mozzarella. Or you could freeze the whey and make ricotta another day, but I figure I've already got my pot dirty, so why not?
This recipe yields about 1 cup of ricotta cheese.
Here's what you need:
The leftover whey from making cheese
A pot big enough to hold about 1 gallon of liquid
An old (clean!) pillowcase or some fine mesh cheesecloth
About 1/4 cup white vinegar (optional, but helps the curds form)
Here's what you do:
Pour your whey into your pot and heat on medium until it begins to simmer. You should begin to see the ricotta separate into little white dots in your pot separated from the clear liquid whey.
Turn off the heat and wait about 5 minutes for the curds to continue to form.
Pour the mixture into a colander lined with cheese cloth or an old pillowcase or piece of a sheet.
Tie the ends together with a rubber band so that you have a bag of ricotta mixture. (Think like a hobo with a handkerchief tied into a bag on a stick.)
Hang the bag on a cabinet knob with your pot underneath to catch the whey. Check it periodically to see if enough of the whey has drained out. (I use a thick rubber band wrapped around the neck of the bag and then hung on the cabinet knob.)
When you can feel that the mass inside the bag is mostly mushy and no longer sloshy (very technical, I know), you've got ricotta! Scrape it out, season it with salt, and enjoy!
You could also add honey and dip fruit in it. Ricotta freezes well, so you can save it for your next lasagnia. I prefer to just eat it with a spoon...but I'm strange like that. Or, you can season it with pepper, olive oil and whatever herbs you have on hand and spread it on a cracker.
I got my recipe from here.
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