Making Ricotta

At long last, and after several batches, here is my post on making ricotta cheese.  It seriously could not be easier, as far as making cheese (and even cooking basic things) goes.

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water
  • 1 teaspoon cheese salt (I used kosher salt)

Equipment:

  • A pot that’s large enough to hold your milk
  • Candy thermometer
  • Ladle or slotted spoon
  • Butter muslin

I’ve only made it with a half-gallon of milk so far, so I’ve cut everything in half in the recipe.  Remember not to use ultra-pasteurized milk: the heat used kills the culture and bacteria needed in making cheese. Regular pasteurized milk (and raw milk, if you swing that way) can be used instead.

To start, pour your milk into a pot on the stove.  Then, add your citric acid mixture (the acid dissolved in 1/4 C water) and stir it well.  Follow with the salt.

Then, just slowly bring your milk to an “almost boil.” You want it to get between 185-195F degrees, but DON’T let it boil.  Keep stirring often so it doesn’t burn at the bottom.

Starting to separate

When it gets warm enough the curds and whey will separate.  It’s really kind of cool to watch.  Wait a moment to make sure you don’t have milky whey, but when it’s clear that the curds and whey have separated, turn off the stove and let it sit for 10 minutes.

When you come back, line a colander with your butter muslin (you can try to use cheesecloth, but sometimes cheesecloth is not as fine) .  Ladle all of the curds into the colander.  Then hang the butter muslin to drip dry, and voila! Ricotta cheese.

Really, how easy is that?

We have stuffed shells to make this week with my homemade ricotta, and I can’t wait to put it to some other use than just eating straight out of our pyrex storage containers.

Bon appetit!

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2 Responses

  1. That’s awesome. I have a cheesecake recipe that needs ricotta that I might try this for next time.

  2. Yum, yum, yum, yum! Awesome cheesemaking, missy!

    Where’d you get the muslin? I’ve just been using cotton dinner napkins when I strain my cheese. As you can tell, I don’t have dinner guests all that often.

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