Fresh ricotta, farmer’s bread, avocado, and sweet peppers are a perfect lunch for any sandwich fan. The hardest thing about making homemade ricotta is having the patients let the cheese drain, decreasing the water content and concentrating the flavor and richness. My homemade ricotta is quite close in flavor and texture to true ricotta and can be so much better than the store-bought product. Real Ricotta is a by-product of cheese making, it is made from whey. I don’t have access to a large amount of whey, so using pasteurized whole milk gives me wonderful creamy ricotta, that is as good as the real stuff.
What milk to use?
Cow’s milk that is UHT heated, which stands for ultra-high temperature — heated to 275 degrees in order to kill bacteria, does not work very well in making homemade ricotta. All organic milk in supermarkets is UHT treated to extend its shelf life to 16 to 21 days. I guess with the price of organic milk it takes some time to move that product off the shelf. So I stick with pasteurized whole milk which makes great ricotta, once you taste the pure flavor, you will look never be able to look at the store-bought stuff again. On the other hand, if you have access to goat milk you will get the same results. Cow’s milk naturally gives you a sweet flavor while goat’s milk or sheep’s milk will give you a richer taste.
Making your own Ricotta
There is something satisfying about making fresh cheese, I know of people after they made the recipe who got that “I MADE CHEESE” attitude.
Making cheese often involves both starter culture and rennet. You can also make cheese very simply, letting the natural bacteria do their work, causing the cheese curds to separate from the whey. Ricotta cheese is a very simple to make cheese. My ricotta recipe, when combined and whipped with a little heavy cream, becomes creamy and fluffy and can be the base for amazing sweet or savory dishes. Take the time, make your own homemade ricotta and enjoy the experience of making your own simple cheese.
I have made over time several different batches of Ricotta
- one batch with buttermilk, whole milk, and salt
- one batch with whole milk, cream, salt, and white vinegar
- one with whole milk, cream, salt, and fresh lemon juice
They all turned out great, the one made with whole milk, cream, and white vinegar seems to give me the cleanest taste and the best consistency.
FYI: the only equipment needed to make ricotta is a stainless steel pot, cheesecloth, and thermometer
Treat yourself to a simple sandwich that transfers you to the Mediterranean
When you think of sandwiches you think of a quick lunch. The truth is, that a great sandwich served is appropriate for lunch, dinner, or a snack. If you are a sandwich fan, what is more, satisfying than homemade ricotta, mashed avocado, and roasted sweet peppers, on fresh-baked crusty farmer’s bread. Farmer’s bread is the perfect bread for that sandwich, be sure to slightly toast it crispy before topping it with a generous helping of homemade ricotta.
What is Whey?
Whey is one of the primary proteins found in dairy products. If you are opening a yogurt container and see the liquid floating on top, this is whey. The same liquid that forms when you make ricotta or yogurt. Whey has the flavor of plain yogurt, so it lends itself to use in your smoothies. Whey protein contains an incredible range of essential amino acids, which are absorbed quickly. Amino acids, often referred to as the building blocks of proteins, are compounds that play many critical roles in your body. I keep my liquid whey refrigerated in a tightly sealed glass container and store it up for one week.
A refreshing balance, contrast, and clean layers of flavors,
that transfers you to the Mediterranean
An easy-to-make sandwich
The hardest thing about making homemade ricotta is having the patients let the cheese drain.
A great sandwich that is appropriate for lunch, dinner, or a snack
Homemade Ricotta, Farmer's Bread & Avocado
- 1/2 gallon whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 pinch sea salt, fine ground
- 3 tbsp white distilled vinegar Heinz
- 12 ounce sweet peppers mini
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pinch garlic clove
- 1/2 tsp Oregano, fresh
- 1 pinch sea salt, fine ground
- 1 pinch black pepper, ground cracked
- 5 slices Farmer's bread home-baked or store-bought
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 5 sprigs fresh basil
- 2 each avocado
Start with pasteurized milk
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring the milk and cream to a temperature of 175 F.1/2 gallon whole milk, 1/2 cup heavy cream
Add the vinegar
- Add the vinegar and sea salt and stir briefly. Once you add the vinegar, curds will form. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes undisturbed1 pinch sea salt, fine ground, 3 tbsp white distilled vinegar
Drain the Ricotta
- Line a colander with a quadruple layer of cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Ladle the mixture into a colander. Stop draining when the mixture begins to look like ricotta, 5 to 15 minutes, depending on how dry you like it.
Roast mini peppers
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut the mini peppers in half lengthwise. I leave the stem but you can cut it off if you wish. Remove seeds and membranes - remove those with a paring knife.12 ounce sweet peppers mini
- Place the peppers in a large bowl. Toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and oregano. Arrange the seasoned mini peppers in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake them until tender, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 pinch garlic clove, 1/2 tsp Oregano, fresh, 1 pinch sea salt, fine ground, 1 pinch black pepper, ground
- Brush farmer's bread slices with olive oil and heat in a skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown, top with homemade ricotta, mashed fresh avocado, roasted peppers, and enjoy.5 slices Farmer's bread, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 each avocado, 5 sprigs fresh basil
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate