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does the kind (brand?) of milk matter when making ricotta?

I made ricotta using The Farmer's Cow (from local Connecticut farms) milk and cream a few weeks ago (Barefoot Contessa recipe) and it was great. Then I made it with Hood milk and cream and it did not separate as well and was much fattier -- slippery and not the loose, soft curds I was expecting. I used the same vinegar both times (Trader Joe's white wine vinegar). Any ideas?

asked by susaneas over 6 years ago
4 answers 2899 views
9ac3a641 8957 4d8a b05c d028947d4131  stonecutting 32
added over 6 years ago

Yes. Many brands of milk in the US have been ultrapasteurized which cause the whey proteins to break down. With ricotta, it's a little less of a problem, but if you are making other types of cheeses then it matters more. Also, I wouldn't recommend using skim milk for ricotta - it came out rubbery and bouncy whereas whole milk made soft and pillowy ricotta. For a better explanation of the science behind milk, see here:
Here is a list of good milks to use in cheesemaking:
Hope this helps!

C4b35b3e a030 4605 bcae f5a7ba4644f4  sausage2

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

added over 6 years ago

I second what littleknitter says. The level of pasteurization matters, even in making ricotta. The less pasteurized the better. Unfortunately most organic milks are ultrapasteurized, while many non-organic are just pasteurized, so often the non organic versions work better. But, it should say right on the label the level of pasteurization. And, I also agree that skim milk yields weird rubbery curds (they remind me of pencil erasers).

9b94e94b 0205 4f2c bb79 1845dcd6f7d6  uruguay2010 61
added over 6 years ago

Not all milk is created equal in the USA. At some commercial milk plants, the fat is immediately removed from the delivered milk for butter production. This leaves them with skim milk. To create the 1%, 2%, whole milk, etc, they can use milk powder/whey powder to bring the fat content back up to the percentage of fat they need. . . . and they do not have to label it as such by USDA standards. This is why some milk tastes chalky. This will also be another reason ricotta can fail. I know of no organic milk production that follows these practices

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 6 years ago

Thank you for the feedback -- I had never heard about fat removal/replacement that usuba dashi explained -- sounds awful and worth research to be sure it never comes near my fridge.
And yes, I have tried ricotta with skim, and even 1%, milk and it was rubbery, NOT worth the trouble to make or to eat.
It may be I had a problem with the level of pasteurization, and since it worked before, I will be sure to stick with the Farmer's Cow milk.

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