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Filtering by Category: tutorials

Whole Milk Ricotta Tutorial

Patricia Reitz

Whole Milk Ricotta Tutorial - ButterYum

I recently made whole milk ricotta cheese from scratch and I just have to say, I might never go back to buying store bought again.  The process is unbelievably easy and the end product is absolutely amazing.  I urge you to give it a try - you won't be disappointed. 

The process is very simple.  Start with a gallon of raw milk, 2 cups of organic heavy cream, 6 tablespoons of distilled vinegar, and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.

You'll also need a 6-quart stainless heavy-bottom saucepan.

A large bowl and large mesh sieve or colander.

Line the sieve with a very clean tea towel.  You could use a few layers of cheesecloth is you like, but a linen tea towel works perfectly well. 

Heat the milk and cream together over medium-high heat.

Use a digital thermometer to monitor the temperature of the milk and cream.  Make sure the probe doesn't rest against the bottom or sides of the pan.

My thermometer kept falling over so I propped it up in a glass. 

When the temperature reaches 185F, turn off the heat.

Add the distilled vinegar.

Stir gently for about 30 seconds, then add the salt and stir for another 30 seconds.

Like magic, the curds will start to form before your eyes.  

Cover the pan with a lid and let it rest for about an hour.

Use a fine mesh strainer to gently remove the curds from the whey.

Allow the curds to drain.  The ricotta will firm up when chilled so stop draining it when it's still a bit looser than you think you want it. 

Prepare to be amazed!

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Printable Recipe


  • 1 gallon organic whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt


  1. In a stainless steel heavy-bottom 6-quart or larger stockpot, heat milk and cream over medium-high heat until it reaches 185F.  
  2. Turn off heat and stir in vinegar; stir gently for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add salt; stir gently for another 30 seconds.
  4. Cover stockpot with lid and allow the mixture to stand for 2 hours.
  5. Place a large mesh strainer in a large bowl and line the strainer with a clean cotton or linen kitchen towel.
  6. Using a mesh skimmer or slotted spoon, gently lift the ricotta curds out of the whey and place in the towel lined strainer.  
  7. Drain for a few minutes and transfer mixture to an airtight container.
  8. Refrigerate for up to a week.  Recipe makes about 2 pounds

Notes:  This ricotta can be used for sweet or savory recipes.  For savory recipes, you may want to stir more salt (to taste) into the finished curds. The longer you drain the curds, the more dry and firm the finished ricotta will be when chilled.  If your ricotta turns out more firm than you like, simply stir some whey or heavy cream into the ricotta.  Also, don't throw away the leftover whey - it can be used in so many ways.  Freeze it in small batches and use it instead of water in your bread recipes, cook potatoes/rice/oatmeal, use it in smoothies and protein drinks, soak and/or cook grains quinoa, etc.   Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Family Meals.


NYTimes No-Knead Bread

Patricia Reitz

NYTimes No-Knead Bread - ButterYum

NYTimes No-Knead Bread - ButterYum

This recipes is so incredibly easy, it can be made by anyone and I can prove it.  See the bread pictured above?  It was made entirely without my help by a 16 year old who has never baked bread before.

Here's how she did it - she mixed the ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon, then allowed the dough to rise for 14-20 hours, shaped it into a boule, then baked it in a preheated covered dutch oven.  Total hands-on time was about 3 minutes - that's all!  The resulting bread is nothing short of amazing.  A lovely boule that is gloriously crispy on the outside and satisfyingly chewy on the inside.  The recipe and technique were developed by Jim Lahey of the famed Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC.  I urge everyone to give this recipe a try - you will not be disappointed, I promise!

Whisk the dry ingredients together.

Add the water.

Switch from a whisk to a wooden spoon and mix, mix, mix.

Here we are just a minute or two later - how easy was that?

Cover with plastic and rise at room temperature overnight.

Fast forward to the next day.

Dust the counter with flour.

Dump out the risen dough.

It's going to be a little sticky...

So flour your hands too.

Shape the dough into a ball or "boule" (bool) as they say in France.

Tuck the edges under, turn, repeat - just a few turns is all it takes.


Prepare a long strip of parchment paper - it will act as a sling making it easy to move the dough around.  It'll also make remove the bread from the hot pan easy too.

Gently place the dough on the parchment paper.

Allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

Use a serrated knife to cut an "X" into the top of the dough.

Recover the dough with an upside down bowl and allow it to rise for 2 hours.  

After 1 1/2 hours, place the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven and casserole to 450F for a full 3o minutes. 

Open the searing hot oven and carefully pull out the preheated dutch oven (see note in the recipe below for alternate cooking vessels).

Very, very carefully remove the extremely hot lid.

Using the parchment strip as a sling, carefully lower the bread dough into the preheated dutch oven.

That was easy!  

Carefully cover the dutch oven and close the oven door.  Don't worry about the excess parchment paper hanging over the edges of the dutch oven.  

Bake for 30 minutes.

relax on the couch and cuddle with the kitty.

After 30 minutes, uncover the dutch oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes.

Carefully remove from oven.

Use the parchment sling to remove the bread from the hot dutch oven.

Place bread on a cooling rack.  

Slide the parchment out and allow bread to cool completely before slicing. 

Here's a safety tip used in professional kitchens - place a towel (or in my case, oven mitts) on the handles of the dutch oven to let others know the pot is hot.

Don't forget to do the same for the lid too. 

When the bread has cooled completely, slice and enjoy! 

Items used to make this recipe:

NYTimes No-Knead Bread

makes one 1.5-pound boule

Printable Recipe


  • 3 cups unbleached bread flour (12 3/4 ounces by weight)
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast (aka rapid rise or bread machine yeast)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 16-inch long strip of parchment paper 


  1. In a medium bowl, stir together ingredients until all the flour is moistened and it looks like a shaggy mass.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature for 14-20 hours (18 hours being ideal).
  2. Have a strip of parchment paper approx 6x16-inches ready and waiting (I cut a half sheet size piece of parchment paper in half lengthwise).  
  3. Lightly flour a work surface and with floured hands, fold the dough over itself twice.  Cover loosely with plastic or an upside down bowl and rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Lightly flour your hands and shape the risen dough into a ball and place it on the center of the parchment strip, cover loosely with cotton tea towel or upside down bowl and rest for 2 hours (the parchment will act as a sling while transporting the dough).  If you like, cut an "X" on top of the dough with a serrated knife.
  5. A half hour before baking, preheat oven and a 6 to 8-quart dutch oven to 450F (see note below for alternate baking vessels).
  6. When ready to bake, open oven door and remove lid from preheated dutch oven and carefully lower bread dough with its parchment sling into the vessel (it's ok if parchment paper hangs over edges).  
  7. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake another 15-20 minutes until well browned.
  8. Cool completely before slicing with a serrated knife.

Note:  According to the original article, the bread can be baked in a covered 6 to 8-quart heavy cast iron, enamel over cast iron, pyrex, or ceramic cooking vessel.

adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

$17.99 $29.99

Butter Vanilla and Vodka Pie Crust

Patricia Reitz

Butter Vanilla and Vodka Pie Crust - ButterYum

Butter Vanilla and Vodka Pie Crust - ButterYum

This is my take on the ever popular Cook's Illustrated Vodka Crust.  CI uses a combination of butter and shortening, but I prefer to use all butter and I've added a touch of pure vanilla extract to add a little extra somethin-somethin.  This crust is very easy to work with and comes together in a flash using a food processor.  It's perfect for any sweet pie recipe you plan to make, but it can be adjusted for savory pies as well - just omit the sugar and replace the vanilla extract with an equal amount of vodka.

Happy Holidays!

Butter Vanilla and Vodka Pie Crust

makes one double-crust (enough to line two 9-inch pie plates)

Printable Recipe


  • 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 20 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons vodka
  • 4 tablespoons ice cold water


  1. Pulse flour, salt, and sugar in food processor for a few seconds to combine.
  2. Add chilled cubed butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs with no big chunks of butter remaining.  
  3. Add liquid and pulse just until the mixture is moistened and starts to clump into several large globs.  
  4. Remove from work bowl and divide and press into two round 5-inch disks.
  5. Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 3 days.


  • For savory pies, omit the sugar and replace the vanilla extract with an equal amount of vodka.  
  • Crust dough can be frozen for up to a month if wrapped very well in plastic.  To thaw, keep wrapped and place in refrigerator overnight.