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Use for over-acidified milk (aka ricotta failure!)

I had a cup of left over heavy cream so I thought I'd try to make some ricotta with it but I had no regular milk so I just added 2 cups water. I proceeded with the usual recipe -- heating to 190F adding 2 Tblsp lemon juice and took off heat. However, no curdling took place. So, I went online and searched around for Qs & As to seek an explanation/correction. One site suggested that I re-heat and add a little more acid so that's what I did. However, there still are no curds. I tasted the milk and it is pretty acidic. If ricotta isn't possible now, is there any other use for this rather tangy milk?

asked by justpicked about 5 years ago
5 answers 10313 views
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added about 5 years ago

This information came from a cheese making site gilttaste.com: you absolutely can’t use ultra-pasteurized milk/cream, which basically rules out most commercially available organic milk. (It’ll say if it’s been ultra-pasterized or UHT treated on the package.) Milk with that designation has been rapidly brought to a very high temperature (about 280°F) to kill bacteria and extend shelf life. This process completely changes the structure of the milk proteins in a way that makes them unable to form curds.

Unfortunately, nearly all cream-heavy or whipping is pasteurized. (there a couple out there that don't in my area) Also, sometimes, if you are using fresh lemons the level of acidity varies. This can change the outcome.

Pancakes? Buttermilk bread? Any baking recipe that calls for buttermilk? Are we talking mouth-puckering or strong tang? If its too strong...perhaps its best to toss it. Good luck!

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added about 5 years ago

thanks chef susie -- I ended up tossing it but I think you're right about the cream. It was unhomogonized but it was pasteurized so it may have be super-heated. I am on the hunt for raw milk near me -- I want to be able to make all kinds of cheese and I don't think it's possible with the products that are readily available at the grocery store.

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added about 5 years ago

Yes, SeaJambon you don't need organic. I copied that notation and forgot to delete that word. You don't need RAW either. (its nice though) However, you may need to modify recipes and use particular additions to compensate for your regular milk. Its easy. ULTRA-PASTEURIZATION..is the death knell of cheese making. Lots of cream is UHT...they want it to last!! Even some milk, that is for small disposable paks is done this way. Sometimes, things just don't set. If you are interested in cheese making you might consider getting a small kit online. My local beer maker had a cheese making kit. It has a couple things all grouped together...(yes you can buy separately) but, it helped me delve into this cheesemaking with strong, instructions. The kit was 25 plus tx.

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added about 5 years ago

You don't need raw milk (in fact, you may be less happy with that) -- look for pasteurized or vat pasteurized -- it is the ultra-pasteurized that is the problem. Think of pasteurization as a spectrum, with vat pasteurized on one end (lowest temp/longest time) pasteurized in the middle and ultra pasteurized on the other end (highest temp/shortest time). It should say on the package (although you may have to read the fine print on the back) if it is ultra-pasteurized. Most organic in our area (Seattle) is simply pasteurized. Made cheese just last night (very successfully) with organic, vat pasteurized. Don't give up! Oh, and just know that your cheese will periodically fail. Another time, in a rush, used chlorinated water (distilled is the correct ingredient). You'll still get curds, but not necessarily the cheese you were expecting. Sometimes it will fail and you'll never know why -- but you usually end up either with a buttermilk (good ideas for use, ChefSusie!) or a thin sour cream. So, sometimes you just have to be creative on how you are going to use this not-quite-the-cheese-product-you-were-expecting, but still something that is edible and has uses...just different uses than originally planned!

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Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.

added about 5 years ago

I am curious about why you are using cream to make ricotta. Ricotta, which means re-cooked, is traditionally made from whey left over from making pecorino (sheep) cheese. The liquid is definitely not creamy. Also sheep's or goat's milk is used in Italy, and that prodeces a sweeter, tastier ricotta. If you have a local sheep or goat herd, it would be worth making friends with their owner for future ricotta and cheese making efforts.

Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against high-quality fats, but if you want ricotta, you might have better luck with a different recipe. Should you have extra cream again, perhaps try making quark--I use whole milk for that, but I know there are full fat quarks, so that might be a good experiment.

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