When i’m home in Pennsylvania, everyone slowly meanders down to the kitchen to congregate in the morning on the weekend. There are rituals that have been formed over the years; coffee for dad, tea for mom, smoothies for everyone, that are made in a VitaMix whose not so gentle whirr often helps to push the latest risers out of bed. Newspapers and magazines take up every inch of the kitchen table, and in the most determined way, we always endeavor to finish the NY Times crossword.
More often than not, this is when the brainstorming begins for what will be eaten all weekend and invariably we end up cooking enough food for far more people than are ever present. One particularly motivated morning we finished making the No Knead Bread, which so often gets started on Friday night in anticipation of the weekend, and decided to make a batch of Ricotta.
I’d been meaning for months to try my hand at Ricotta. My mom makes it often, and has told me about how unbelievably easy it is. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical, figuring if it truly was so simple, why didn’t more people make it? Now i can safely say, it’s a travesty that more people don’t make ricotta from scratch. It is simple, and quick, and so much more delicious than anything you can buy at the grocery store.
No Knead Bread
(Adapted from Sullivan Street Bakery)
- 3 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- cornmeal or more flour, for dusting
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add water and stir with a wooden spoon until blended. Dough will be sticky, and should have a shaggy consistency. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 12-18 hours at room temperature.
When done rising, lightly flour a surface and turn out dough. Gently turn dough over itself once or twice and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 15 minutes.
Using enough flour to keep dough from sticking to your hands, gently shape into a ball. Generously coat work surface with cornmeal or flour and let dough rest there for two hours, covered with a tea towel. When ready, dough will have more than doubled in size.
At least 30 minutes before dough has risen, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees with a covered cast iron pot, or pyrex, in it. When heated, carefully remove pot from oven and slide dough into it, replacing the lid. The dough may look like a mess, and to even it out you can gently shake the pot. Bake for 30 minutes covered, and 15 uncovered until bread is browned.
- 1 gallon whole milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
In a double boiler, heat milk until it reaches 190 degrees on a candy thermometer (about 15 minutes). Add salt, yogurt, and lemon juice, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Reduce heat to low and maintain temperature for 15 minutes (the longer you cook it the thicker it the consistency will be). Don’t stir while curds are forming. Using a skimmer, or strainer, lift the curds out of the whey and transfer to a fine mesh sieve that has been placed over a bowl. Allow to drain for 1 hour. Transfer to a container and use within 4 days.