Homemade Goat’s Milk Ricotta on Toast with Roasted Fruits

What if I told you that you were about 60 minutes away from fresh, homemade ricotta, including the clean up? Would you say I was full of cheese?  Well, it turns out I am. Full of it. And it’s delicious.

As most of you know from reading My New Roots, I am not a huge dairy lover, but there are exceptions – those of which include most dairy of the goat persuasion. Once in a while, a girl just needs a little cheese in her life. I was inspired to make ricotta at home from a video I saw kicking around the web about Salvatore Brooklyn, an artisanal cheese producer in New York. A wife-and-wife team of exceptionally enthusiastic foodies, created their own successful business making the best ricotta this side of Italy. I was so moved by these two that I ran out, bought some milk and headed for the kitchen, only to be sitting down to a gourmet lunch about an hour later. Unheard of! I was almost disappointed that it was so easy. Almost. All pretend upset was quickly forgotten upon the moment my lips graced yet another bite of rich, creamy, delicate cheese that I had in fact, made all by myself.

Ricotta hails from Italy, where it is traditionally made from the leftover whey from cheese production. The ladies from Salvatore Brooklyn however, make theirs from whole milk, making it far richer than the traditional type. I followed suit.

And why goats milk, you ask? I feel like I’ve beaten that drum enough times already (you can read more about my feelings here and here), but I will tackle the new topic of homogenization.


Homogenized milk: A threat to our health?

Homogenization is the process by which cow’s milk is treated under extremely high amounts of pressure so that it does not separate into its respective fat layers when it is stored. For those of you that remember the milk man coming around to deliver the day’s supply, you may recall the extremely rich “cream layer” that formed at the top, as the milk at that time was not yet homogenized.  This seemed to be an issue for people, the whole “shaking the bottle” ordeal. If only we’d known we were asking for trouble when doing away with this inconvenience – but isn’t this always the case when we mess with Mother Nature?

Although it may not seem like a big deal, homogenization changes the milk’s normal, natural, and healthy fat structure into microscopic spheres of fat containing a powerful digestive enzyme called xanthine oxidase (XO). Kurt A. Oster, M.D., who worked during the 1960s through the 1980s, hypothesized that homogenization posed a threat to our health, as these teeny spheres of fat are small enough to pass right through the stomach and intestines, without being digested first, leaving XO to float freely around in the blood and lymphatic systems. When XO breaks free from its fat envelope, it attacks the inner wall of whatever vessel it is in. This creates a wound. The wound then signals the body to send a sort of patching “plaster” to seal off the wound, bringing a number of plaque-forming substances, including cholesterol, to the site of the damage. [1] You can imagine what happens after years of this process going on in the body, patching injured arterial walls over and over again: atherosclerosis, or “hardening of the arteries”, leading to heart attack and stroke. Although Oster’s theories have been criticized, his work is continually published in regards to this subject and highly regarded among respected natural health practitioners.

Where am I getting at with all this? Well, it’s just one more reason to carefully consider giving cows milk the boot and introducing a little goat dairy into your life. The fat globules in goat’s milk are smaller, allowing it to remain naturally homogenized and needing no mechanical processing. I repeat: goat’s milk is naturally homogenized, easier to digest and comes without the potential dangers associated with homogenized cow’s milk.


 

I just know that someone is going to ask what to do with the leftover whey, because you’re all such fantastically aware, non-food-wasters. Whey makes an excellent smoothie base, as it contains high-quality protein. You can also add it to soups, stews, or use it bread baking instead of water. And although I have not tried it yet, use whey to boil rice or other grains in place of water or broth.

Making this cheese is such a dramatic and empowering process that you will undoubtedly be dazzled by your culinary abilities. Kids will also love to get involved with this, and because it is so simple they will not only achieve a successful product, but feel a sense of accomplished and connection to their food. If you have never had the pleasure of creating something from scratch that you previously thought you had to purchase, I urge you to give this a try.

*   *   *   *   *   *

I am receiving a lot of questions about where I am working these days, the Nordic Food Lab, so if you are curious, have a look at this video put out by The Guardian.

Bonus recipe! Check out my Quinoa Salad with Peas and Cashews at Bon Appetit.

source: [1] Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2003.

Copyright 2012 My New Roots at mynewroots.blogspot.com

84 comments

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  12. Sandra Diverio

    Wow, I just discovered this website!! I just started Weight Watchers and I am hunting healthy, low calorie, Low GI carbs recipes 🙂 I have browsed a few and I found a few very interesting ones!! I live in London, so measurements and products may be hard to fin here, but I am ready to try a few!

    Thanks.
    Sandra

  13. Pingback: Golubka Kitchen
  14. Amy

    I just tried making this and it didn’t work. I used a thermometer and got it to 175 degree (as I saw on some of the cheese making links provided), but when I added the fresh lemon juice nothing happened. After a while I figured I had nothing to lose, and thinking maybe there had not been enough acidity in my lemon juice, so I tossed in some vinegar. Still nothing. I think I needed to get the temperature a little higher. While my thermometer had been moving up and got to 175, I tossed the lemon juice in immediately. I think I should have maybe given it a minute to ensure the whole pot had reached 175. Will try again later.

  15. Caitlyn

    Hello Lovely,

    As I am sure it is probably more preference and doesn’t matter, I wondered though do you use pasteurized goats milk or raw goats milk?

    Have a wonderful day!

  16. Pingback: Homemade Ricotta Cheese & a Ricotta Frittata | the flexible foodie
  17. Anna

    Hello Sarah,

    I just LOVE your blog. You are a true inspiration 🙂

    I was trying to check out your links about Goats and Goat Dairy you mentioned in this post, but for some reasons the links do not seem to work – I get a 403 forbidden message? It would be great if you could fix it somehow – I want to know more about goats, please! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    xxx Anna

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  19. Savannah Grimes

    Hey, Sarah! First of all, thanks for posting this recipe. However, I must’ve done something wrong when I attempted to make it because when I went to pour the milk mixture into the cheese cloth, it was almost entirely milk or whey…there may have been two tablespoons of curd. I was a little uncertain about when exactly to take the mixture off the heat, so do you think perhaps I took it off too soon? I’d love to get this right because it sounds so delicious and wonderful!

  20. MysticMaven

    This isn’t ricotta, it’s goat cheese (or chèvre). I have had fresh goats milk ricotta and it’s the best cheese I’ve ever tasted, but it tastes nothing like chèvre (what this is).

  21. Kristy Tillman

    We can do citrus at all or vinegar. We do have safe vitamin c crystals. Do you think incorporating that somehow would work? We get fresh goats milk daily from the back yard and I’d LOVE to try this recipe!!!
    Thanks so much!

  22. shanowaw

    Would this work with Meyenberg powdered goat milk. My 18 month old can’t drink cows milk so we always have this in supply. The ingredients are goat milk, vitamin D3, folic acid. I tried making goat milk yogurt with it and it was very runny and others have had the same problem.

  23. Sarah B

    Hello friends!

    I am SO SORRY I haven’t responded sooner – for some reason comments stopped being sent to my inbox so I didn’t even know you were experiencing problems!

    Okay, for those of you that are experiencing difficulty, please refer to this article which I think should help. I cannot pretend to be a cheese expert, so I will leave it to someone else: http://curd-nerd.com/tag/ricotta/ AND
    http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/02/how-to-make-fresh-ricotta-fast-easy-homemade-cheese-the-food-lab.html

    I really hope this helps!

    Love to you all,
    Sarah B

  24. alainads

    My cheese didn’t happen either 🙁 it just stayed liquid. smelled like cheese tho. I took it off the heat right when it looked like it was going to boil, let it rest for 5 then stirred in fresh lemon juice. was it the pot maybe? i just used a regular lagostina pot…

  25. Loida

    Ok, first time came out GREAT! Second time no separation. Third time, used a thermometer and once it got to 175 degrees took it off the heat. Came out perfectly, like the first time. Also, can only get Meyenberg ultra-pasturized where I live and it works just fine. Great recipe, but a thermometer I think is necessary.

  26. Jana

    indeed goat milk is so much more delicious, I am a huge fan too:-)and lately I prefer fresh goat cheese sorts (the French ones are to die for:)…never thought one may have a ricotta done at home so quickly!thanks a mil!

  27. Beth

    I also failed in my efforts to make this cheese. Nothing separated.
    Sarah — PLEASE help us! I don’t want to throw all this out!

  28. Ana Victoria

    Like a fellow reader, I tried this recipe and the result was VERY minimal curd. I looked at the milk I bought (the only one available at my health food store) and saw that it was Ultra Pasteurized. Hopefully it wasn’t treated with irradiation :(. Could this be the reason? I will try my best to find raw milk at a farm!!

  29. MissOrloff

    I tried this recipe, but the curds and whey never separated. Any idea what I might have done wrong? Can I still fix it? I would hate to throw all of that goat milk away.

    Thanks!

    Ivana

  30. Ania

    Hi Sarah,

    I just love your blog, it has really shaped my perspective on food and health, and my friends and I have been enjoying making your recipes and sharing them together.

    I have been following for a while, but have never posted. I wanted to pipe up on this subject, though, because I think it’s important to offer some information re: homogenization, XO and atherosclerosis.

    Initially, Oster’s hypotheses sounded good, but ultimately were not backed up with evidence that we can consider to be sound. It was a huge issue for the Nutrition community in the 70s and 80s, and many studies attempted careful analysis of these worrisome suggestions that homogenization increases the absorption of XO, and that XO damages blood vessels leading to atherosclerotic disease. In the end, Oster’s hypotheses were found to have no real basis. Many of these studies are available if you comb Google for them. The short of it is that:
    – absorption of dietary XO hasn’t been proven (XO is naturally found in liver and intestinal cells, by the way – that’s the reason for distinuishing ‘dietary’ XO)
    – a direct role of XO in the creation of vascular disease has not been substantiated (they really tried on this one)
    – the levels of XO in a person’s blood has not been shown to be related to how much homogenized dairy they ingest

    These findings are disappointing, I know. We really want homogenization to look bad. I’m with you, I truly see eye-to-eye on ‘messing with mother nature’, and am uncomfortable with many of the things we do to good foods. I do think, though, that we who espouse wholesome eating and health-through-diet get the farthest in sharing our convictions and our joy when the information we use is dependable. You really affect people’s choices, dear Sarah, and people trust what you say. I have learned so much from you, and wanted to encourage you in this respect for these reasons.

    All this to say, however, avoiding cow’s milk is not a bad thing as long as calcium is coming from somewhere else – rah rah, goats!

    Best,
    Ania
    Hamilton, ON, Canada

  31. roberta bond

    I followed the instructions as written, and ended up with about 1 tablespoon of ricotta. What did I do wrong? Roberta

  32. Leia

    I am very inspired to try this!

    Growing up, I’ve never been a goat’s milk/cheese fan (I had a bad experience with the milk as a kid). I’m trying to correct this as an adult and have gotten to a point where I can enjoy goat cheese in several dishes.

    I’m curious though if this recipe would also work with raw cow’s milk? I’ve been getting raw milk from the farmer’s market lately (I live in southern California), and happen to have some on hand.

    Absolutely love your blog, thank you!

  33. Andrea R

    I’m new to your blog and wow, what a great resource! I made the ricotta on the weekend and it turned out great – very tasty and creamy 🙂 I used pasteurized goat’s milk that I found at the grocery store, and was careful not to let it come to a boil. I’ve never made cheese before, so I was really nervous, but this was super easy. Thanks!

  34. erin @ from city to farm

    Interesting factoid — homogenized milk didn’t become popular until the switch to opaque paper cartons.

    Also, the mainstream milk providers (not the dairies themselves) make quite a bit of money by separating out one gallon of cream line, unhomogenized milk into half and half, heavy cream, skim, etc.

    I personally think more people should try goats milk, as it’s not all that different in flavor from cow, and so much easier on your system. But raw, creamline milk (not homogenized) from grass fed cows is pretty darn tasty. If only that were available to everyone!

    Just read about your blog in Bon Appetit — can’t wait to read more, it looks fabulous!

  35. Joelle

    I, too, tried the recipe yesterday and failed! I could not get the milk to separate. I have made ricotta in the past using cow’s milk with no problem. I checked the label – no stabilizers – 100% goat’s milk – purchased from a local natural food market. I pulled out my thermometer and tried raising the temperature to 205 as other websites suggested to no avail. Now I am determined to make it work! Any suggestions/hints/tricks? Thanks so much!

  36. Cassy

    Hi Sarah,
    I tried making this yesterday and I failed. 🙁 Two possibly disabling factors: I didn’t use raw milk (was I supposed to?) and it did not boil (you said not to in the recipe…is it supposed to?). Any clarifying suggestions? I’d appreciate it. 🙂 Thank you!

  37. crystal kelly

    I make paneer at home and didn’t realize that I could make my own ricotta cheese too.

    Now on a hunt for goats milk in Chicago. i think it’s a safe bet that Whole Foods will carry any milk products I need.

    Question: Can the left over whey be frozen if I do not have an immediate need?

    kudos on the information, photos, responses.

  38. Kathryn

    I, seriously, want your entire blog to magically appear in my kitchen. I sent a link to my husband who is working out of state right now letting him know about your recipes. Everything, and I mean everything looks wonderful and the health of it just leaps out of the screen at you thanks to beautiful photography!

  39. Anonymous

    “Although Oster’s theories have been criticized, his work is continually published in regards to this subject and highly regarded among respected natural health practitioners.”

    Other sources demonstrate that Oster’s theory has been completely disproven…

  40. Jules

    Hi, Sarah! I love your blog, and this recipe looks amazing. Do I have your permission to pin one picture (with a link to this post) on Pinterest? Thank you so much for sharing your recipes online!

  41. Cookie and Kate

    I learned so much by reading this wonderful post, Sarah! Thank you. I have bought minimally homogenized cow’s milk with cream on top, do you think that’s much better than regular? I will try goat’s milk next. I’ve never been much of a fan of ricotta, though I suspect homemade goat cheese ricotta would be a major exception. I’m adding it to my list to try ASAP!

  42. Sarah B

    Hi Nyomi,

    No sorry. To make cheese you need to be able to split milk into two parts: curds and whey. Unfortunately, plant-based milk do not have this ability! You can always make raw nut “cheese” however. That is delicious!

    Best, Sarah B

  43. Brigi

    Thanks for this delicious recipe!
    As a child I used to drink whey from cow’s milk. I think in Eastern Europe this was not strange. I wonder if I will appreciate the goat milk’s whey?

  44. Nyomi

    Would love to try this recipe, but suffer from a dairy allergy. Could you make the ricotta using soy milk or nut milk??

  45. Stephanie

    Wow, so cool! I am definitely going to give this a try. I haven’t tackled homemade cheese yet, but you’ve just convinced me! This may be my weekend project-can’t wait! And it sounds so easy. Also-I saw your blog mentioned in Bon Appetit! Congratulations Quinoa Queen!

  46. bethany

    Hi Sarah B!

    Have you tried the Scandinavian “brunost” (brown cheese), or know anything about it?

    Used to see it in Copenhagen, and now I see it around Stockholm too. All I know is that it’s a whey cheese. Not made from milk at all, but from the whey leftover from cheese production. It has a rich, caramel flavor. Absolutely delicious on flatbread with sliced fresh figs and arugula.

    I’d love your thoughts from a nutrition/health standpoint.

    Thanks so much for all you do! I eat sheeps milk yogurt every morning (from a small Danish farm, actually) and cannot wait to try making ricotta.

  47. Sarah B

    Smultron Soul – no that is chevre, a slightly more “goat-y” young goat’s cheese.

    Nicky – yes, that would be the one I was looking for, thanks!

    Donna – I think using vinegar is fine.

    Peace, Sarah B

  48. Kasey

    I love how informative your posts are! I haven’t done a lot of research around the differences between cow’s and goat’s milk, though I personally love dairy and eat yogurt (and often, cheese) on a weekly, if not daily basis. A lot of the cheese I eat is made of goat’s milk and I can only imagine how delicious goat’s milk ricotta is!

  49. Donna in Potomac

    When I make homemade ricotta I add white wine vinegar or golden balsamic vinegar instead of lemon…anything objectional bout that? Like Sophie, I’ve been searching for sheep’s milk, as it’s renowned to be the best tasting. Even though I’m in a major city, I haven’t found it.

  50. Valeria

    I agree on the bad effects of homogenized (and pasteurized, or worse, UHT treated) cow milk. However, I have been researching on the benefits of safe and hygiene-conform raw caw milk from free-range cows and it is has been said to be very good on human’s health –same for dairy. Dealing with the Raw Milk Campaign for Slow Food International, I got to know a lot about it, and I was really happy to avoid common cow milk from then on, switching to raw caw milk from the lovely Alps. Here in Italy, much of the good sheep and goat milk is used to make cheese, and the one that is not stays within the local community…Not the easiest thing. But in case I put my hands on some, I will try your ricotta crostini asap!

    ps: Kunal (the photographer) told me you guys met at the Lab –we did the same Masters program!

  51. Sarah B

    Hey Stacy – I think that is a PERFECT resolution 😉

    Sophie – I am totally down with sheep dairy too. It has very similar properties to goat dairy!

    xo, Sarah B

  52. Sophie

    Sarah,
    What are your feelings on sheep’s milk yogurt (and cheese)? Your writing on goat’s milk was great! I’m just wondering if you have any info or feelings in particular on sheep’s milk products.

    🙂

  53. Stacy

    Making ricotta is actually on my list of 2012 resolutions…is that strange? Well, thanks for this recipe, and the link to the video! Perhaps they are just the kick in the pants I needed to finally try this. Also: the toasts look divine!

  54. Sarah

    Hooray! I have been waiting on this post ever since I saw your FB teaser. I’m trying it THIS weekend. You rock the house.

  55. Dianne

    Roses love whey too – it makes them bloom like crazy! We also save the whey and mix it in with dry dog food – our lab loves that also!
    Thanks for the simple recipe – yum!

  56. Nicola (thelivity)

    This looks super tasty….I just saw a recipe for paneer on Kinfolk too so I think there are signs pointing me in the cheese making direction. Like you I don’t eat dairy on a regular basis but I think if you do have a nibble then it is worth knowing what you are nibbling on! Making your own seems like a really good way of being sure. Thanks so much for another beautifully shot recipe. Nicola x

  57. Simone

    I make this cheese myself every now and then. If you squeeze the cloth you can even be finished in 10 minutes. A nice addition is to mix in chopped fresh dill and bashed cumin seeds. A delicious combo.

  58. Ashley

    Oh my. That last photo is beautiful. Well, they all are, but it looks like I could pluck the piece of toast right out of the screen on the last one. I loved the concise explanation about homogenization. Thank you! 🙂

  59. Smultron Soul

    Thanks for this recipe, it sounds delicious! I wonder if this ricotta is actually fresh goats cheese? You know, the one that looks like a log at the grocery store? It tastes perfectly tart, and I wondered if this was the same thing?

    smultronsoul.blogspot.com

  60. Kristin

    This looks incredible! I LOVE anything goat’s milk cheese, and I have never had goat’s milk ricotta- this has definitely made it’s way to the top of my “to-make” list!

    xo

  61. Sarah B

    Hi Anon – yes, of course fresh lemon juice! I made the change in the recipe.

    Mia – I got my milk at Noma (because I am so spoiled!) but it is available at Irma. Just make sure it is PURE goat’s milk and does not contain stabilizer.

    Best, Sarah B

  62. Elenore (E)

    Whoop what a great recipe! I too have been beating the inform-about-homogenisation-drum and continue to be amazed by how far humans are ready to go, messing w Mother Earth..

    Such an interesting idea w baked grapes! I love juicing them along w the greens but maybe I’ll turn on the oven tomorrow!

    <3 /Elenore

  63. Mia

    Hello! 🙂

    Must say that I love your blog. Beautiful pictures and great recipes. I also just wanted to ask, since I live in Copenhagen too: where did you buy the goats milk? Because I HAVE to try this recipe! 😉

    Mia

  64. Anonymous

    Should I assume you used fresh lemons? I made paneer a while ago and there was such a huge difference using fresh lemons and bottled lemon juice. OF COURSE fresh lemons are better but I live in Korea and they can be so expensive/difficult to find!

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