In May, I went to a local creamery to take a cheese making class. The master cheesemaker there had told us that the ricotta cheese you buy at the grocery store isn’t a traditional cheese and that it is easy to duplicate at home. Traditionally, ricotta is made from the leftover whey from making cheese, but it can also be created by adding acid to milk. I have tasted ricotta made both ways and while they are different, they both taste delicious.
Today, I made homemade ricotta using this “fast method” that doesn’t involve making another cheese first. It was so easy I don’t think I’ll ever buy grocery store ricotta again.
First you need whole milk. Skim and low fat milk have some of the fats and proteins removed, so your final cheese yield will be low. You also don’t want to use UHT or “ultra pasteurized” milk because the high temperatures used to process these products change the protein structures in the milk.
In a large pot combine one quart of whole milk with one cup of heavy cream. By adding the cream you will increase your yield of cheese by increasing the amount of fats and protein available.
Add one teaspoon salt and bring to a full boil on medium heat. Stir occasionally.
Once boiling, add your acid. You can use either lemon juice or white vinegar. I used 1/4 cup lemon juice because that’s how much juice was in the lemon I had in the fridge. Don’t worry too much about the exact amount. Anywhere from 3 tbsp. to 1/3 cup will work. Pour your vinegar or lemon juice into the milk while stirring. Once combined, remove the pot from the heat and leave it undisturbed for 5 minutes. You should see the milk curdle.
While you wait, place a cheesecloth in a colander. I then put the colander over a bowl. After 5 minutes, scoop the curds into the cheesecloth and allow to drain for about one hour. The nice thing about making your own ricotta and that you can decide what consistency you want. The longer you let your curds drain, the drier they will be.
And that’s it. You’re done. Store your new cheese in the refrigerator until ready for use. I used some to make a spread with balsamic strawberries and put the rest in spanakopita.
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- 1 quart whole milk not UHT or ultra pastuerized
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice may substitute white vinegar
On medium heat, in a large pot, bring your milk, cream and salt to a full boil.
Add lemon juice in a stream while stirring. Stir until combined.
Remove from heat and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes.
Scoop curds into a cheesecloth lined colander. Allow to drain for up to one hour.
Store in fridge until ready to use.