Homemade Ricotta

It is only recently that I found out how ridiculously easy and delicious homemade ricotta cheese is!  Had I known it all these years, many of my dishes–especially pasta ones–would have been made much, much better!

This recipe makes two cups of ricotta and it will last a week or so in the fridge in a tightly closed container.

Three simple pieces of kitchen equipment are helpful: cheese cloth (found in almost any grocery store and required), an instant read thermometer (a real help but you could guess the temp based on bubbles and steam) and a regular mesh strainer.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 gallon (2 quarts) of whole milk (you can substitute light or even heavy cream for up to 1/2 of the milk to make it much richer, you can also substitute 2% for up to half of the milk to make it lighter, but it will also make it grainer because of the reduced fat)

1/3 of a cup of fresh lemon juice (you can substitute a good white wine vinegar or even a flavored vinegar, as long as it is white in color)

3/4 t. kosher salt

PREPARATION:

  1.  Place the milk in a heavy bottomed pan and heat slowly to 200 degrees F.  This is just below a boil but the milk may have some bubbles.  Store the milk periodically as it heats to prevent a skin from forming (if one does just stir it vigorously back into the milk).
  2. When it reaches 200 degrees, remove from heat and add the lemon juice (or vinegar) and the salt.  Give a quick stir and wait 6-10 minutes until curds have formed and separated from the (now yellow) liquid-this is whey, as in curds and whey.
  3. Line a strainer set over a bowl with cheesecloth (at least two single layers thick).
  4. Pour the curds and whey through the cheesecloth and strainer, draining the whey into the bowl.  Allow to drain for 10 to 45 minutes depending on how dry/dense you want the cheese (you can taste along the way).   Discard the whey.
  5. When it has reached the desired consistency, transfer to a container and, when cooled to room temperature, refrigerate.  That’s it!

Published by

wmballinger

I am an enthusiastic home cook. I started a blog when my older daughter lived in Paris and had a tiny kitchen, few utensils and a stove with no temperature markings. The purpose was to help her (and eventually her sister) make many of the dishes they love and to learn how to make some new ones. They are now both terrific cooks, but all of us can use a new (or even an old beloved) recipe once in a while.

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