When people hear that you like to cook it seems that all future gift giving occasions involve something for the kitchen.  A true foodie such as myself doesn’t mind this in the slightest!  It provides the foodie a chance to play around with something new and continue to hone their craft of creating just plain delicious tidbits for their friends and family to enjoy.

Fairly new on the gift giving scene are a variety of food kits.  This past Christmas I received several of those kits and am just getting a chance to begin experimenting with them now.

First up, is a great item for all you cheese lovers out there!  ‘Mad Millie’s Italian Cheese Kit’ provides you with all the ingredients you need (except for the milk!) to make up to a total of 10 pounds of the following combined cheeses: Mozzarella, Ricotta, Mascarpone, Burrata, Bocconcini, and Ricotta Salata.  Needless to say, I was intrigued!  Knowing absolutely nothing about the cheese-making process, I must admit, I was a little doubtful of the quality of the product from a cheese kit.  But it claims you can make it in less than a day, so challenge accepted!

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Today I decided to start with the basics and just make a batch of the Whole Milk Ricotta.  Why you ask?  Well outside of the difficultly level being listed as “very easy” it was the first recipe in the book included in the cheese kit!  And yes,it was easy!

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To start they advise you to sterilize all of your tools which is a super easy process.  You just want to make sure you boil everything in water (including the pan you plan on making the cheese in) for at least 5 minutes.  Then you can begin the process.  Combine the citric acid provided with water and set aside for later.  All you need to do to start is combine some whole milk with the salt provided and heat it to 203 degrees, stirring constantly.  Once the milk comes to temp, pull the pot off the heat and add the citric acid/water mixture.  You will notice the milk begin curdling immediately.  After approximately 25 minutes the cheese is thick enough for you to begin scooping it out and into the provided strainer & cup.  I found that I had to drain the cup several times in this process due to the amount of liquid draining out.  Once the strained cheese solidifies to the texture you prefer (either smooth & creamy, or dry & crumbling) you can empty the cheese out of the strainer and directly into the cup.  You can hold the cheese for up to one week in the fridge.

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I must admit the final product was just plain delicious!  I can’t wait to use it in a new recipe this week and am looking forward to trying my hand at the other cheeses in ‘Mad Millie’s Italian Cheese Kit‘.

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