My daughter is a food blogger. It was someone else in our “village” who inspired her. Simply cooking is pressure for me. The inevitability of having to do it every day is spirit deadening. It hovers, black and rude. You need so much stuff. Tools and ingredients. I cannot think what to use or where. When in food trouble, I usually cannot solve it. Flat, oily things are produced. Or raw.
I worked myself out of a mess yesterday, and offer this help to you. I don’t ever read a recipe that solves problems one creates by using bad tools. Or does not assume that you understand the basic chemistry of cooking.
My daughter called me one day and said she had just made ricotta cheese, and that it was so cool. Curds and whey pulling apart like the separation of the continents.
It is easy, she said. I was a sucker. Don’t know what attracted me; probably getting a whole lot of ricotta for only the cost of a gallon of whole milk.
You need a thermometer, whole milk, and cheese cloth. OK. Went to Wal-mart. Bought a meat thermometer, and after finishing my first batch of ricotta without incident, realized that I already had one. Stored them away together.
Trying the cheese again yesterday, “mistakes were made”, as George the stupid used to say. First I used a gallon of milk instead of a half gallon. Still OK, my pot was big enough and I doubled the lemon juice and vinegar. I remembered that it took a long time to get the milk to 185 degrees, and not to touch the bottom of the pot with the point of the tool. And that if the heat were up too high, the milk would burn.
Put the big pot of milk to the back burner and waited. Using the smaller of the thermometers for a while to check the heat, on about the third measurement, noticed it said “DO NOT PUT IN WATER”. Omg, milk is just like water! I am going to ruin this tool! I turned then to the other thermometer.
Used the next thermometer for its take on the heat. It went all the way into an area called “test zone” and stayed there. Beyond 200 degrees! Pulled the pot to the front burner to cool down. I felt the milk with my finger. Hot. Still not sweating, like usual, I proposed to let the pot just sit and let loose of a number of degrees, and then add the lemon juice and vinegar.
When I did so, no continents were formed. Nothing happened. Then realized that the warning on my first thermometer was one about dish washing, and that the second one was broken, I used the first again to determine the pot was not up to 185 degrees yet. Could one continue heating even if the lemon juice and vinegar were already in the milk?
Yes! Using the little thermometer, all ingredients warmed up to the correct temperature, and then continental shift began. Saved the cheese.
Branny Boils Over/ Homemade Ricotta Cheese