If you have never tried homemade ricotta, drive to your local grocery store and buy milk, cream and lemons immediately! Homemade ricotta is so wonderfully thick, rich, creamy and super simple to make. I will never buy ricotta again.
If a year ago you had told me that I would be making my own cheese, I would’ve thought that you had lost your mind! I always believed that making cheese was an extremely difficult and time consuming project. Of course, that does apply to firm cheeses. But soft cheese is beyond simple to make, especially ricotta. This is the best cheese to start with if you have never before attempted a homemade cheese.
The equipment needed to make your ricotta is fairly standard. You will need a large pot, large bowl, mesh strainer, cheesecloth, measuring cups/spoons, citrus juicer and a candy thermometer. I have used many types of thermometers and this Candy Thermometer is the one that I use and recommend to all of my friends and family.
The ingredients are simplicity at its best: Milk, Cream, Salt and Lemons. You can control the quality of the ingredients and taste the difference. The pure flavor of homemade ricotta is so unbelievable that you will never be able to look at the store bought stuff in the same way again.
- 8 cups Whole Milk
- 2 cups Cream
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 10 Tb Fresh Lemon Juice, 3-4 large lemons
- Combine the milk, cream and salt in a large pot over medium heat.
- Attach a candy thermometer and stir occasionally while heating the milk.
- Once the temperature reaches 190° remove pot from heat.
- Add the lemon juice and give it a gentle stir.
- Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes.
- Line a mesh strainer with several layers of cheesecloth and place on a large pot or bowl. (there will be a lot of liquid draining into the bowl)
- After 5 minutes have passed, slowly and carefully pour the curdled mixture into the cheesecloth lined strainer.
- Leave it to drain for 1½ to 2 hours.
- Do not squeeze any of the remaining liquid out of the ricotta.
- Transfer ricotta into an airtight container and store in the fridge. Use within 3-4 days.
This recipe yields 4+ cups of ricotta.
After the lemon juice is added the mixture will begin to look very unappetizing. But don't worry, once the liquid is drained off it will magically turn into gorgeous ricotta.
I discard the whey (drained liquid) but it can be used. An internet search will get you a ton of ideas.
Adapted from Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy
Use your ricotta while baking, spread onto crusty bread or dollop on top of pasta dishes. I have been known to eat a bowl full of ricotta with a drizzle of honey, sliced almonds and dried apricots mixed in . . . maybe not my finest hour! Keep a look out for an upcoming recipe post for Cherry Ricotta Ice Cream, you’re not going to want to miss that one!
Most of all, take pleasure in being able to utter the phrase: “Yeah, the other day while I was making cheese…” You will not believe the astonished looks that you will get from that sentence.
Check out another How To Recipe here: How To Roast Garlic
“If I had to give up cheese or chocolate, I’d give up chocolate in a heartbeat.” – Amanda Peet5