Tuesday, February 03, 2009


An unexpected invitation to Maria and Luca's home at the weekend gave me the opportunity to watch Luca making ricotta. This is how he does it:

In here he has got 70 litres [!] of fresh milk which he is heating to 37 C. He then adds natural rennet.

He stirs the mixture well and leaves it to rest for 1.25 hours.

He stirs the mixture again with a mestola, then adds 1,200 ml cold water for each 10 litres of milk. He mixes this for 10 minutes then leaves it for 10 minutes.

The cheese [not what Sicilians call the ricotta] falls to the bottom of the pan. It is taken out and put into special wicker or plastic containers. Later salt will be added to these cheeses and they become what are known as tume [singular - tuma].

The mixture remaining in the original pan is reheated [which is the meaning of ricotta] and 1 litre of cold milk is added for every litre of the original milk. Luca mixes this carefully so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan and brings the mixture to the boil. He switches off the heat and awaits the curds.

The whey is put into another container. Later it will be drained and 100 gr of salt will be added to it for every litre of milk. From this provola cheeses will be made.

When Luca shouts "Pronta!" Maria is at his side immediately, armed with a serving spoon and a pile of dishes. She takes off the foam and it is given to the cats. Sometimes, at this point, she uses the spoon to draw the sign of the cross on the top of the mixture in order to give thanks but she didn't do so this time.

Maria spoons the hot ricotta into the dishes.

It is eaten with warm bread.

And the verdict? It is tenerulidda, which in dialect means "soft".


Ardent said...

Welshcakes my mother makes her own cheese also. There is nothing more delicious than fresh, warm Ricotta.


P.S. My mother makes it a little differently.

Rowena said...

Oh dear, how I wish I was there!! What a treat to have been able to witness this. Do Maria and Luca run a cheese shop, by any chance?

Ah, and one more thing...Maddie says grazie :-)

Claire said...

This sounds delightful. We make cottage cheese. Home made is definitely superior. Too far too come for a taste, alas!

Crushed said...

It must be fascinating to watch. We made butter at school once.

That took a week or two.

Interesting what you say about ricotta actually meaning reheating. A bit like Balti actually means the bucket a Balti is eaten out of in India.

Saretta said...

Wow, that has got to be SO good!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Ardent. I'd be very interested to know how your mother makes it, too. Ciao, Rowena. I thought of you as I watched this. No, they don't own a cheese shop . This is for home consumption. Love from Simi and me to you and Maddie. [Other readers - Maddie is Rowena's cute little dog. Do click on Rowena's link to have a look.] Hi, kissa. Yes, it is a bit far. I'll bet your cottage cheese is superb. Ciao, Crushed. Yes, it was certainly interesting to watch. I didn't know that about balti. Hi, Saretta. Unfortunately I couldn't taste it as I have a milk allergy. I can eat ricotta cold or as an ingredient but not hot like this. But it looked and smelt good and everyone was smiling as they tasted it.

Anonymous said...

Thats facinating Welshcakes..my husband was Italian and his father did this but I didnt get to watch (only taste..lol)

do you know how much renet per litre he uses... 70 litres of milk...that is awesome...thanks for sharing that

Anonymous said...

Welshcakes -

Thank you so much for posting this. it was something I knew (vaguely) the general principles of, but the pics made it quite clear. Now I'd like to have a go for myself, 'though I doubt I'd start with 70 litres!

BTW, thank you too for the on-going reviews of The Silver Spoon. They're great fun to follow.


marymaryquitecontrary said...

How long can they store the cheese and how many kilos would they have made from 70 litres of milk?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, A'Jay. Didn't write down how much rennet but I will find out. It's great to hear from you. Hi, Ludlingtonian. Always great to hear from you, too. Glad you like the foodieposts lately. Do let us all know how you get on if you have a go at this. Hi, MM. I will find out for you.

CherryPie said...

What a fascinating process :-)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

It certainly was, Cherie.

Betty said...

I had no idea that making ricotta cheese was such a long process. Very interesting.

PinkAcorn said...

Pretty amazing process...I've never had or even heard of eating warm cheese with bread...I'll ask my Dad about that one!

Sally said...

I loved this post Welshcakes, it was truly fascinating as I've never seen ricotta being made or eaten it warm. Thank you so much - glad you love the cookbook; I gave it to one of my daughters the moment it appeared in English and she truly loves it. Hope all is well your end and you're feeling increasingly stronger - lots of love to Simi from Bowser in the snow.

Trubes said...

Hello Welshcakes, I really enjoyed reading this article. I should think a lot of patience is required during the process. Did Simi get a sample too. Chloe is rather partial to a little parmesan, I'm sure she would love Ricotta.
More news about our new baby on my site.
So good to see you posting so much again I never miss my daily read.
I hope your health is still improving, keep it up.

Love from a snow covered Liverpool,


Whispering Walls said...

What a shame you couldn't try it, WL!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Betty. I hadn't realised that, either. Ciao, pink. Do tell us what your Dad says about it. Hi, Sally. Thank you. I'd never seen it being made before, either. Do you have a pic of Bowser in the snow? Simi and I would love to see one if you do. I'm much better, thanks. Thanks, Trubes. No, Simi likes harder cheese. I'm a lot better though I still lose my balance at times. Love to you all from Simi and me. Take care in that snow! A grest pity, WW; "ma pazienza!"

jmb said...

How interesting Welshcakes. I never thought about the fact that ricotta means recooked. It is far more popular here than it used to be and is available in every supermarket (well the commercial variety). When I first came here you had to go to the Italian part of town to buy it and that is quite a way from me. So I did it rarely.

Ellee Seymour said...

How wonderful. It all sounds so easy.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, jmb. I never thought about the meaning until I saw the process, either. I can remember when you could only get it in one or two shops in the UK but now it's easy to find there. Hi, Ellee. Yes - you just need the right equipment and a lot of the old "pazienza"!

Anonymous said...

now my mouth is watering
have you tasted the Blaenavon Cheeses
They are made in a tiny workshop in a shop on the highstreet, they are delicious.I love the one infused with Penderyn Whisky
I loved the music you gave us too -manuela villa. must look her up on U tube

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hello, Valleys Mam. No, I don't think I've tried those cheeses. It will certainly be on my list of things to do when I next come over. I'll look up the website, too - thank you. Glad you liked the music, too.


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