Ricotta cheese is one of the easiest cheeses to make; we’ve only had it fail once — for this post of all things. But we persevered and made our own 100% scratched ricotta that will go into our mushroom ravioli. Even though ours failed the first time, we’ll provide that as our recipe and we’ll tell you what we did for the second.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
- 1/2 gallon milk
- 1/2 tsp non-iodized salt
- Juice of 1 lemon (or 1/2 tsp citric acid)
Use the freshest milk you can find and be careful to avoid the Ultra Pasteurized milk; they won’t make cheese. You can use whole, 2%, 1%, or even skim. It’ll all work. The first batch we tried to make with the lemon juice. It looked good for a while and then something happened and the curds disappeared, we don’t know what since we’ve made ricotta with fresh lemon juice before and it was fine. If you want to go the citric acid route, you can easily find it on-line — it’s generally included with those cheesemaking starter kits (we have one, it’s a lot of fun).
Pour milk in a 3 quart sauce pan.
Add salt and lemon juice (or citric acid).
Heat. While heating stir the milk so it won’t scorch. Heat the milk to 195°F. It will seem to curdle, but that is just the cheese separating from the whey.
Let stand 5 minutes.
Drain. Line a colander with butter muslin — not cheese cloth, the holes are too large — and pour the curds and whey through.
Drain more. Tie the butter muslin shut and suspend it to drain. Let it drain for 30 minutes.
Done. You’ve made cheese. How easy is that?
Now, we’ll be honest, we don’t always go to the trouble of making our own ricotta cheese, but we do make it for that special dinner. It’s really easy and it (almost) always turns out. Four stars.