|My husband found your book at the town library fundraiser sale, printed in 1982! I looked you up and was happy to see you are still going strong!|
Diann Kite, The Covered Wagon Country Store, Kent, CT
|Response to a Q & A from Last Month|
|Just a couple of comments on the question about making whey ricotta in the July newsletter. |
I have learned, from teaching food fermentation classes at the University of Florida, that making ricotta from cheddar cheese whey can be tricky.
I agree with your response that care needs to be taken while increasing the acidity (the precipitation pH range is very narrow for the whey proteins), especially when it is added to a hot mixture. Too much acid will make these proteins more soluble and they will not precipitate.
|However, depending upon how the cheese was made, the pH of cheddar cheese whey may be a little high, thus requiring judicious use of an acidulant (prior to heating). |
In general, a titratable acidity of 0.3 (or pH 5.4) is recommended in Kosikowski's book (he recommends adding approximately 0.4% vinegar to cheddar cheese whey before making ricotta). I always had my students use the Pearson's Square as a simple way to calculate how much acid to add. Yes, I realize that, in the home, you may not have the titratable acidity or pH data.
More importantly, in my opinion, the temperature (195-200F) being used may be too high. We have found that a temperature of 185F works a lot better for whey ricotta (and slightly lower than that for making ricotta from milk). We got a much better yield, and the curd was a bit less firm and gritty than when we tried making it at a higher temperatures.
Best of luck in your ricotta future.. I haven't made it in years (since retiring). My wife is pushing me to make a batch soon.
Ron Schmidt, Gainesville, Florida
|Reply from our Technical Advisor- Jim Wallace|
We must consider that this cheese was made long before the science of it all was known.
Cheddar is not so tricky if you pull the whey and heat it at the proper pH, but it does leave you a narrower window before it becomes too acidic.
The whey is still warm and the culture is still steaming along in it's growth phase, so, pretty soon it's into the low/no yield territory due to its acid development.
|Parma, any of the Alpine, or traditional basket cheeses such as my Pepato Toscano recipe guideline would be ideal because their pH is just above 6.0 when pulled.|
This gives you the choice of making a much richer, sweet ricotta with a lower yield at about 5.9-6.0 (I use this for dessert with toasted pine nuts and honey.) Or, a bit drier and less sweet ricotta (but with a higher yield) when taking it down to the 5.5-5.8 range. This is great for fillings and baking.
When working In Parma, Sicily, and in the Alps, I see them send a very sweet whey to the cooker as soon as they pull the curds at about pH 6.0 or slightly above with no acid addition.
Here, I do not focus too much on the measurement tools, but teach folks to use their taste. 5.4 is just about where the whey is neutral - neither sweet nor tangy. So, good whey for ricotta can be as low as just being able to taste the last sweetness in the whey.
At my workshops and in my guidelines, I recommend 185F but it's not terrible if they go a bit higher. However, by 195F they are cooking the flocs as they form (=dry and granular).