Have you ever thought about making your own cheese? It sounds difficult, but there are a few types that are really quite simple! (Then again, yogurt is supposed to be easy and I’ve given up on that for the time being after having only about a 33% success rate.)
I’ve experimented with making mozzarella, ricotta, and mascarpone cheeses, and have had great success with ricotta and mascarpone (which are basically the same process, mascarpone just uses cream instead of milk).
Using one gallon of milk and one pint of heavy cream, I get about four cups of ricotta cheese, for a cost of about $4.79. You can buy a container of two cups for around $2.79 at King Soopers, so it’s not a huge cost savings – probably less than $1 for two containers.
However, the one big advantage is that it is probably better for you, since you don’t need to put any stabilizers or additives in when you make it fresh! And, it’s always impressive when you say that you make your own ricotta cheese.
There are tons of tutorials about how to make ricotta, but I’ve found that this one from Smitten Kitchen works best for me. The use of a bit of heavy cream really helps make a thicker product, and I think results in less waste.
You don’t even have to use lemon juice (which can be kind of pricey) – I use vinegar and actually have had better success with that versus lemon juice, though if you’ll be using the ricotta in a sweet dish or ricotta is the main star of the dish, you might want to use lemon juice as the vinegar is a little sour-er. Go here to see how to try your hand at making ricotta!
Do any of your make your own ricotta or other cheeses?