Error in cookbook: Ricotta Cheese Recipe

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Master Chef
Apr 18, 2005
Northern New Mexico

In the cookbook, The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Italian, there is a discrepancy in the recipe to make ricotta cheese. The list of ingredients calls for eight drops of rennet, but the directions lists two drops of rennet, BIG difference. Does any one know which is correct, or know how to go about finding the correct amount of rennet. I do not want to waste one gallon of milk just experimenting to find the correct amount of rennet.

Thank you for any help.

Wow. Good catch. I don't know the answer, but I am going to go do some research and see if I can find out. Welcome to the boards!

Hi Alex,

Good luck with this mission. I tried a few years ago to contact the publisher/Jeff Smith, and got nowhere. I just purchased this cookbook and became reacquainted with this dilemma. I REALLy want to make a ricotta cheese blintz casserole with some homemade ricotta. This recipe looks so easy, if only I knew how much rennet to use.

Thanks for your interest in this matter.

Or could you use a recipe not calling for rennet?
Jeff Smith is now deceased. His show was entertaining but his cook books were not well researched. I had his first book which had a recipe for Buffalo wings, but had no hot ingredient! Not any. Perhaps the later books got better.
Hi Alix and all,

Thanks for the rennet information.

Indeed you can make ricotta cheese without rennet, I usually do. What intrigued me about the recipe in The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Italian, was the predicted yield. Two pounds of cheese out of a gallon on milk is a very high yield.

I never saw Jeff Smiths TV programs. I borrowed this book from the library so often, I finally bought it. The recipe for "Fresh Tomato Sauce Sicilian" alone is worth the price of the book.

Thanks again for the inputs!
I've got all 10 of Jeff Smith's books and have run across only a couple or so mistakes like this ... and I think I've read every recipe. Two in particular stand out in my mind. One called for combining the meat with some ingredients ... however "the meat" was not listed in the ingredients portion of the recipe and there was no clue as to how much or what kind of meat, or what to do with it (slice, dice, grind), for the recipe - and the chapter contained several kinds of meat so there was no clue there.

And, I could overlook that his recipe for black-eyed peas and smoked ham hocks was a little different than my Grandma's ... but when his "serving" suggestion was to serve it with dinner rolls and a green salad ... it was fingernails on a blackboard for this Southern boy!

As for the liquid rennet in the recipe you're talking about - I saw and marked this but never bothered to look into it until today. It looks like the 8-drops is probably the correct amount - the 2-drops was the mistake. Here's how I came to that conclusion:

Trying to figure this out ... one site says that 1 teaspoon liquid rennet = 1 Juket Rennet Tablet, and 1 tablet is enough for 5-gallons of milk. Since one teaspoon = 60 drops, then 60 drops divided by 5-gallons = 12 drops per gallon. In another place I read that for 1-gallon of milk you need 1/4 teaspoon (15 drops). But there are variations in the amount of acid and buttermilk used to make ricotta.
Hey Yall, i've not tried to make any type of cheese. This is very informative for me. I just wanted to thank you all for giving me ideas. And, making me realise theres more to cheese than store bought Hahhaha. And, Michael, i would have never have guessed you being a "Country Boy"!! How about some Cornbread and Fried Taters! Thats What i would have chosen for them Blackeyed Peas!! !! hahahha HEATS a "Country Girl" and proud of it!!:LOL: :LOL: :LOL: But, I still have all my teeth:mrgreen: !!)
LOL - Heat .... you just gotta have split buttered cornbread to put the peas on! And a side of turnip greens - with cubes of turnip in them. And, a good dose of what Grandma used to call white tabasco sauce - green tabasco peppers in vinegar.

Humm .... fried taters, skin on .... cooked in lard until golden brown .... *salivating* ... lots of salt and black pepper!
error in cookbook : ricotta cheese recipe

You can heat 1 gallon of milk to 85 degrees F then stir in 1 or 2 Tablespoons vinegar. For 1 gallon of milk you will get 1/4 to 1/3 gallon ricotta cheese. The more you stir it the harder the cheese will get.The whey is great for cooking potatoes in or use for milk replacement in bread recipe
I like my fried taters with onions!!!!!!!!!!! With lard????? You mean there's another way? :mrgreen:

Michael - thanks for all the answers you give around here. You always go above and beyond and it is greatly appreciated.
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fried taters

Okay, I was raised in ah-hi-ah (Ohio) and do not know how to make decent fried potatoes. Do you precook them before frying them? Last fall I bought a half a hog from some friends who raised three hogs, and I was the only one who wanted the lard,.......and ended up with 26 pounds of freshly rendered lard! Now that is a bunch of lard, but I am slowly using it. Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite way so far, but I am also using it for the fat in cornbread.

I finally felt like I had enough surplus milk to try experimenting with the 2 drops of rennet vs the 8 drops in the ricotta cheese recipe. I tried the 8 drops first, because my gut level feeling was the 8 drops was correct, and that the proofreader would have looked closer at the list of ingredients than the instructions, but I was wrong. The 8 drop trial yielded a neufchatel consistency cheese. I have now made this recipe twice with 2 drops of rennet and both times it made a very nice ricotta. So with this unscientific experiement, I am prepared to pencil in 2 drops in my cookbook in place of the 8 drops listed in the ingredients.

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