How to Make Your Own Homemade Ricotta Cheese

ricotta-finished-585Each year I resolve to up the bar on my organic eats. Last year I started making my own bread: it’s fun, cheaper than buying a loaf and gives me a sense of fulfillment. Plus, I know exactly what is going into it. This year I’ve decided to tackle cheese!
No, I am not a doomsday-prepper, but seriously, what would happen if for some reason you could no longer buy cheese? I’d probably just fall down and cry, or maybe I’d go into some kind of cheese withdrawal. Whatever happens, I am sure it wouldn’t be pretty.
Fresh, homemade ricotta is simply to die for and far easier to make than you would imagine. This recipe calls for vinegar, but you can also use lemon juice for a slightly different flavor. True Italian ricotta uses sheep’s milk, but good old cow’s milk works just fine. Just make sure you use whole milk for the higher fat content.
Slather it warm on a hunk of bread (drizzle it with honey and chopped figs for an eyes-rolling-back-in-your-head experience) or use it in your favorite recipe. Whatever you do, you can rest easy that you will never have to go without cheese again.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese Recipe

Recipe courtesy of Viviane Bauquet Farre

ricotta grocery list

How can something so good be made with three measly ingredients?!

Place 4 cups of whole milk and ½ teaspoon salt in a heavy-bottomed pot. Stir occasionally and heat milk to 180ºF to 190ºF. If you don’t have a thermometer, heat the milk until it foams at the sides of the pan and just starts to simmer. Do not boil.

milk temperature

Remove the pan from the heat and add 3 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice. Stir only a couple of times. Almost immediately curds will start to form. Make sure not to stir any more so as not to disturb the curds. Let stand for 5 minutes.

ricotta curds

Line a sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth and carefully pour the milk mixture into the cheesecloth, disturbing the curds as little as possible. Drain off the milky white liquid (this is the whey) for 5 to 20 minutes.
Draining for 5 minutes will yield a moist and creamy cheese. Draining for 20 minutes will yield a drier ricotta.

ricotta cheese

I drained mine for 15 minutes and it was crumbly but creamy enough to spread.

Cover and refrigerate for up to seven days.
Have you ever tried making cheese? What kind? —Karen

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