Keeping things simple in a not so simple world

ricotta cheese

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I never liked ricotta.  I found ricotta from the store to be dry and flavorless.  Even when we were eating vegetarian, I rarely bought it.
But when I found a recipe for homemade, I decided to give it a try.  This is much less expensive than buying it.  It is also much more creamy and tasty than anything you will get in a store.

Did I mention that it is simple and quick!?!?

As I mentioned in my post on butter, the quality of your ricotta depends on the quality of your milk.  Organic, grass-fed, low-pasteurized is the best – in taste and in health.  It may also take some experimenting.  I find Whole Foods milk works well and in a pinch I’ve used milk from Shoprite.  But Trader Joe’s milk does not work as well…it may be that they have a higher temperature used during pasteurization.

What you need:

A large, heavy-bottomed pot.
A gallon of whole milk
2 lemons
Cheese cloth
Mesh strainer
(optional, salt)

On a medium-low setting, add your gallon of milk to the pot.

Squeeze that juice from the two lemons into the pot.  Stir gently, not touching the bottom of the pot.

The milk will begin to separate into curds (the solids) and whey (the liquid).  You may gently stir during this process, but try to avoid scraping the bottom of the pot.

I like to remove my pot from heat about 5 minutes after the milk has started separating because I prefer my ricotta creamy.
But if you prefer your ricotta drier or are going to make paneer (stay tuned!) I suggest keeping it on the stove for a bit longer.

Place a mesh strainer in a large bowl and place a double-folded cheese cloth over the strainer.
 Gently ladle or pour the cheese and whey mixture into the cheese cloth.
Place the ricotta in a dish to be refrigerated or use immediately.
Keep the whey!  It is full of nutrients and can be added to soups, cornbread, etc.

Enjoy your first batch of homemade cheese!


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