Homemade Ricotta

plated cheese upclose

I’m in a bit of an eggplant conundrum. He’s been staring up at me from the depths of my refrigerator for days praying that I will, for the love of god, just grill him already. I want to love him. I really do. He’s healthy and in good shape. But he’s just so…purple. And has all that leathery skin hanging around and, let’s face it, no one wants to deal with it. Sorry, bro. Ain’t nobody got time for dat.

Instead, I drown myself in cheese. Glorious, lactose-tastic hot cheese that I’ve made not two, not three, not even four times in the last month. No, friends. I’ve made it five times in the last month. I’ve gone through more cheesecloth than Tillamook. Than the entire country of France. Than…Wallace and Gromit. It’s been a good ride, but I think I need to apply the brakes before my heart starts to cry tears of saturated fat.

cheesecloth

milk

Cheese seems like something you buy, always. Not really a question about it. It’s one of those slightly mysterious grocery items that you never really think about making yourself, because why the heck would you? What even is cheese, aside from delightful? Curdled..stuff? Salty…deliciousness? There’s milk in there somewhere, I swear it.

This cheese is supremely, unbelievably, inconceivably easy to make and tastes better than any store bought I’ve ever eaten. Why? Because some cheeses are better fresh and some are better aged, and this one falls to the former category.  If you’re going to straight-up eat a bunch of ricotta (and not like put it in a sauce or something where it gets blended in), then you must back away from the tub of Sargento and grab yourself a few supplies. The show is about to begin.

cheese upclose

A note about your milk choice: I tried non-fat, whole, and 2%, and found that my preference was with 2%. Most recipes insist that you buy full-fat milk, but I found that it made my finished ricotta a little firm for my taste with larger curds. The nonfat was almost too spreadable and thin, but the 2%…just right. Depending on your personal preference, any of them will work just fine.

Homemade Ricotta

makes about 1.5 c

1 quart 2% milk
1 c heavy cream
1 T salt
3 T lemon juice
2 T white vinegar

cheesecloth (yes, I am aware this isn’t an ingredient, but it’s essential…so buy some!)

Place a medium-sized sieve over a large bowl. Fold the cheese cloth into a square that is large enough to spill over the sides of the sieve when you push it into the “corners”. You should have the cloth hanging over the sides of the sieve. Place the milk, cream, and salt into a pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until the mixture boils. Add the lemon juice and vinegar, then turn off the heat and stir to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes. You will notice that the mixture starts to curdle (depending on the milk you use, it may have a very small curd or a larger one…small doesn’t mean bad– the cheesecloth will strain it very nicely). If it doesn’t curdle at all, you can turn the heat back on to medium low and let is simmer. If it still doesn’t curdle, add 1-2 T lemon juice. Pour the entire contents of the pot into the cheesecloth/sieve situation and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. This is also a matter of preference– the longer it sits, the stiffer it will be in the end. When it’s ready, gather the corners of the cloth up and quickly turn it over onto a large plate or bowl. Don’t be slow about it or the cheese will stick to the cloth and you’ll miss a lot of it in the process. Taste for salt and enjoy warm. It will last in the fridge for several days.

plated Cheese with oo background

bowl of cheese

 

Homemade Ricotta
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1.5 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1 quart 2% milk
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1 T salt
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 2 T white vinegar
  • cheesecloth (yes, I am aware this isn't an ingredient, but it's essential...so buy some!)
Instructions
  1. Place a medium-sized sieve over a large bowl. Fold the cheese cloth into a square that is large enough to spill over the sides of the sieve when you push it into the "corners". You should have the cloth hanging over the sides of the sieve.
  2. Place the milk, cream, and salt into a pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until the mixture boils.
  3. Add the lemon juice and vinegar, then turn off the heat and stir to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes. You will notice that the mixture starts to curdle (depending on the milk you use, it may have a very small curd or a larger one...small doesn't mean bad-- the cheesecloth will strain it very nicely). If it doesn't curdle at all, you can turn the heat back on to medium low and let is simmer. If it
  4. still doesn't curdle, add 1-2 T lemon juice.
  5. Pour the entire contents of the pot into the cheesecloth/sieve situation and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. This is also a matter of preference-- the longer it sits, the stiffer it will be in the end.
  6. When it's ready, gather the corners of the cloth up and quickly turn it over onto a large plate or bowl. Don't be slow about it or the cheese will stick to the cloth and you'll miss a lot of it in the process. Taste for salt and enjoy warm. It will last in the fridge for several days.

3 thoughts on “Homemade Ricotta

  1. As if the drool-worthy photos were not enough I just had the distinct pleasure of tasting this ricotta in person which was so good that it almost left me speechless. almost.
    More please!

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