Monday, June 11, 2012

Homemade Ricotta

I use ricotta in a variety of dishes, and I've heard that fresh ricotta is better than anything you can find even in the best store.  This morning before I started working out in my gardens, I decided to give it a try so that I would have it for tonight's dinner.  It really is a simple process.
I found this recipe on  The author gives step-by-step instructions and photographs.  

Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Makes 1 cup
Active time: 10 min
4 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons distilled vinegar, fresh lemon or lime juice
fine cheesecloth
Place the milk in a heavy bottom pot.  Add the salt and heat over medium-high heat.  Stir occasionally so the milk doesn’t scorch.  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 starts simmering, but doesn’t boil.
Remove pan from heat and add vinegar, lemon or lime 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.
Line a medium sieve with the cheesecloth and carefully pour the milk mixture into the cheesecloth, disturbing the curds as little as possible. 
Let drain for 5 to 20 minutes to the desired consistency.  Draining for 5 minutes will give you a moist and creamy cheese.  Draining for 20 minutes will give you a drier ricotta.  You can drain the ricotta for longer of course, just remember that the longer it drains, the drier it’ll be. 
Transfer the ricotta to a container and cool to room temperature.  Cover and refrigerate for up to 7 days.  You can save the whey, the liquid that is drained from the curds, and use it in soups.

Note: I used vinegar and drained the cheese for 10 minutes, and that was a nice combination of creamy yet dry.  The only disappointment is that the yield is only 6.5 oz.

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