I've also been eager to try making homemade ricotta. It turns out that it's really easy. The bread isn't hard, either, but this ricotta is truly simple. Heat the cream and milk, stir in the vinegar, wait a minute, then strain. The hardest part was getting my hands on some cheesecloth.
You should make both these things because the homemade versions are much tastier than store bought, and because they both provide great opportunities to witness some everyday kitchen magic. I don't know about you, but I'm going to be impressed that my bread dough has doubled in size, even though the recipe said it would. Yeast is a great magician. Vinegar performs a similarly impressive feat when it makes cheese curds suddenly appear in a saucepan of hot milk and cream. These recipes are just so much fun! Your own magic show, with delicious results.
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups flour (I used all purpose, but you can use bread flour if you have it), plus extra
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon melted butter
Oil for greasing
In a large bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water. Let sit for about ten minutes until foamy.
Add the flour, salt, and butter and stir just until combined. The dough will look a little shaggy.
Prepare a lightly greased baking sheet. After an hour, knead the dough gently to remove excess air, and form into a rounded loaf shape. Place the loaf on the baking sheet, cover with a towel, and let rise for another hour.
Bake the bread for about 25 minutes, until it's golden and sounds hollow when you tap the bottom. Cool on a wire rack. Store wrapped at room temperature for up to a week.
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
Scant 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 scant teaspoon white wine vinegar
To make the ricotta, combine the milk, cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, line a sieve with two layers of dampened cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl.
Once the milk mixture has come to a rolling boil, remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Let the mixture sit for a minute or so to curdle. Slowly pour the mixture through the cheesecloth lined sieve, and let it drain for 20-25 minutes. Draining for longer will give you a firmer, less moist ricotta. Discard the whey and cheesecloth, and store the ricotta in the fridge, covered, for up to five days.