Second homemade cheese adventure – ricotta! Arguably much easier than my maiden mozzarella batch but does not have the “play with your food” step. This ricotta needs just three ingredients (milk, citric acid and salt) and about 45 minutes. Once done though the uses and recipes are limitless – to corral some current and future favorite recipes, I started a Pinterest board – Say Cheese! Feel free to send me some of your cheesy ideas to pin or just ask to be added as a pinner to the board. Here is how to make you own homemade ricotta. Recipe can be easily doubled or halved, just adjust the proportions.
Simple Homemade Ricotta – Makes 2 cups
- ½ gallon or 8 cups, whole milk, try to not use ultra-pasteurized
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 teaspoon citric acid OR 1/3 cup lemon juice (from 1 1/2 to 2 lemons) OR 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
- Optional: some recipes also had a 1 cup of cream to the mix
- Large sauce pan (not aluminum or cast iron)
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- Cheese cloth
- Large mixing bowl
- Jar, for storing
- Ladle or slotted spoon
- Twine or yarn to tie the muslin
- HEAT! Pour the milk salt and acid (citric acid, lemon juice OR vinegar) into saucepan. Heat on milk until it reaches 195 – 200 F. Stirring frequently to prevent it from scorching or burning. When the curds separate from the whey (which is pretty obvious) turn off the heat and let the contents of the pan sit for about 5 minutes. Resist the urge to stir!
- DRAIN! Line your calendar with muslin or cheese cloth and set it in a large mixing bowl. Spoon or ladle all the curds into the lined colander. Tie up the muslin full of curds and hang a few inches over the mixing bowl. This will allow more of the whey to separate and drain from curds. I tied my muslin to a wooden spoon and suspended it lengthwise between to open drawers in the kitchen (see photo below).
- WAIT! Let the curds drain for about 30 minutes, less if you want the ricotta creamier. Check it after 15 minutes to check the consistency to see if it matches what you desire.
- ENJOY! The cheese is now ready to eat or store. Place it in a lidded container and store in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. Ricotta can also be frozen but I doubt it will last that long in your home.
Resources and other Rabbit Holes:
- Ways to use Whey (dare I say 16 shades of whey?) : http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2011/06/16-ways-to-use-your-whey.html
- Scientific low down and more convincing reasons to just make your own darn ricotta….. http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/02/how-to-make-fresh-ricotta-fast-easy-homemade-cheese-the-food-lab.html
- Take it to the next level – the “real ricotta” : http://nancyharmonjenkins.com/posts/ricotta-a-true-story/