An Over Abundance of Milk

Last night I discovered that I had overbought milk. I had a fresh container in the bottom of the fridge and I had just purchased another, both half gallons. We cannot use that much milk in a reasonable period of time. So…I decided to make some ricotta with one of the containers.
This is really easy and it meant that we could have cheese blintzes for breakfast in the morning. Blintzes are crepes filled with ricotta and a little berry sweet, in this case lingonberry jam. Yum. Roll the crepes around the cheese and jam and bake until warm the whole way through. We topped them with whipping cream and a little dab of jam on the top. What a treat.
To make ricotta heat milk (skim or whole or whatever you want to mix up) to 185 degrees. Pour in vinegar or lemon juice, stir, and watch it separate from the whey. The whey will start to appear as a clear, slightly green water. I had a half gallon of milk and I used about 1/4 cup vinegar. If you don’t start seeing greenish water, then add a little more vinegar. After it has separated, pour into a colander which is lined with cheesecloth. Let rest and drain into a bowl. Draining into the bowl is important because we use the whey as well. More in a minute about that. When it stops dripping, dump the resulting cheese into a container with a lid. You can add salt or cream as you wish. I added a little cream to this batch for the blintzes. Cover and refrigerate.
One wonderful way to eat this ricotta is with honey drizzled over it while it is still warm and sprinkled with cinnamon. Yum. Great with a little granola for breakfast too. It is also great mixed with onions, garlic, roasted red peppers, chopped olives or whatever you like, and spread on crackers. It can also be used to make cheesecakes.
Now the whey. It is a pale yellow and somewhat clear. It makes great borscht, which we like a lot. I use it in place of broth in the recipe. In general it is a good soup base and can be frozen. It also is great to use as the liquid when making bread, which I did later in the afternoon. I made a rye bread with some cornmeal, honey and wheat flour. Great sandwich bread and you have the benefit of the added nutrients in the whey.
If you are really curious about whey, which a lot of home cheesemakers feed to their pigs, read http://www.naturalnews.com/033476_why_protein_superfood.html and get all the information you could possibly want. It is also used, I have gathered, for natural ferment starter in pickles, sauerkraut and the like. Better read up on that as I have little knowledge of this.
Well the blintzes were marvelous and the bread made great sandwiches and French toast. I recommend trying it. It is much easier than it seems to make this great cheese.

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