How to make your own ricotta cheese (it’s easy!)
You can make your own cheese right now. No buying weird sheep gut starters, no bacteria you must buy only from this region of France, no storing in a cave until the blood moon rises. Just you & some very tasty ricotta in about thirty minutes.
1/3 gallon WHOLE milk
2 cups of heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt (preferably sea salt)
3 tablespoons WHITE vinegar (I use rice vinegar—make sure your vinegar is white or else your cheese will be a strange & unappetizing color.)
Cheesecloth (protip: if you don’t happen to have this lying around, dampened paper towels work just fine ;) )
1) Prepare the medium bowl, strainer, and cheesecloth ahead of time. Dampen the cheesecloth (or paper towels… listen, I’ve been in the struggle too, not all of us have Barefoot Contessa money) and line the strainer with them. Place the strainer in the medium bowl.
2) Pour milk & cream into the 4 quart pot. Stir in salt. Bring to a boil at medium heat until @200F; about 20-25 minutes. Stir regularly, as the pot will boil over if left alone too long.
3) Once your milk is at 200F, stir in the vinegar and let the mixture curdle for about 5 minutes. The mixture will separate into the chunky “curds” and the watery “whey” (this is where the nursery rhyme comes from!). If the mixture has not curdled at this point, add a tablespoon more of vinegar.
4) Pour the curdled mixture into the strainer and let sit for 20-40 minutes, disposing of the watery “whey” at the bottom of the bowl occasionally. The longer you let it strain, the thicker it will be—let it strain to your preference!
5) Put into airtight container (like one of these guys) and enjoy!
This ricotta is a lot more complex than the kind you buy at the store—with the benefit of no added sweeteners or preservatives! It will keep in your fridge for 4-5 days. I usually make some to make for other recipes.
- Lauren Mitchell