I have fallen in love with homemade ricotta. It is so much easier to make than you’d think, and the taste is much, much better than anything you can buy in the store. I first started thinking about making cheese after discovering the New England Cheesemaking Suppy Company. Don’t ask me how I stumbled upon this place, but, people, be glad I did.
This stuff is heavenly. Spread it on crackers, stuff it into pasta, spread it on toast for breakfast, top it with berries and drizzle it with honey. The options are many. But try it, do. It’s easy. Really.
I’ve seen a whole bunch of variations on this recipe. Some use vinegar, others use lemon juice, or even buttermilk. This is the recipe I came across first though and I liked it so much, I didn’t feel the need to stray. I’d love to hear from others who’ve tried other methods.
Whole Milk Ricotta
This is slightly adapted from The New England Cheese Company’s recipe for whole milk ricotta. You’ll need something called butter muslin cheesecloth. This means that the spaces between the threads in the cheesecloth are very small. This isn’t something I’ve been able to find in the supermarket. You could experiment with multiple layers of regular cheesecloth and see how that works, but I haven’t tried it. You’ll also need a thermometer. And finally, it’s important not to use ultra pasteurized milk. Otherwise, this is a piece of cake, you’ll see.
♦ 1 gallon milk
♦ 1 tsp. citric acid
♦ 1 tsp. salt
Gently heat milk, citric acid and salt in a non-aluminum pot over medium heat. Stir frequently until mixture reaches 190-195° F and curds and whey separate. Take off heat and let stand for five minutes. Ladle curds into butter muslin cloth-lined colander. Tie the cloth into a bag and hang to drain until it reached your desired spread-ability. I hung mine from a wooden spoon balanced atop a large glass pitcher.
Incidentally, the ricotta in the top photo was a little dry for my taste. I’d have preferred it to be a little softer. So check it often while you’re letting it drain. Start with 15 minutes and check often from that point on.