If you have milk, vinegar & half an hour you have everything you need to make ricotta cheese. And not just any ricotta cheese. It's so smooth it'll make you realize how grainy store bought ricotta is.
I have an acute cheese deficiency. Symptoms include wanting to eat cheese all the time.
It isn't something that's been officially diagnosed of course but at this point in the post it would be alright if you got a look of concern and let your chin quiver a bit for me.
I suspect you suffer from the same affliction. If so, read on so you can make emergency cheese whenever you have a symptom flare up.
Table of Contents
- Whole milk
- Lemon juice or vinegar
See recipe card for quantities.
All you need to do is heat the milk, add the acid, then hold it at temperature for 20 minutes before draining. In a nutshell.
- Pour 5 cups of milk into a pot.
- Add salt.
- Slowly heat on the stove.
- When the temperature hits 185 F, add your acid.
- Stir in the acid (vinegar or lemon juice) until curds start to form, then 🛑 stop 🛑 stirring.
- Hold the milk at 185 F for 20 minutes without stirring. When 20 minutes are up, remove from heat and allow 15 minutes for curds to rise and separate.
Don't stir it. Go find a tuffet and sit until it's ready.
- Gently scoop curds up with a slotted spoon.
- Transfer to a cheesecloth lined strainer set over a bowl. Let drain for 10 minutes or so.
Hint: To make a delicious lemon ricotta use lemon as your acid and stir in the zest of one lemon after you've strained the cheese.
The only milk this won't work with is ultra pasteurized milk which as been heated to such a high degree it mangles the stuff the milk is made of which makes it unsuitable for forming curds.
You can use ...
- Whole milk - Best choice
- Cream - Excellent addition to whole milk (4 cups whole milk + 1 cup cream)
- 2% milk works well
- 1% & skim will work but produce only a small amount of small curds.
You can use a huge selection of acids which will all produce a different flavoured ricotta, but the most neutral tasting, plain white vinegar, will let the cheese flavour shine.
- Plain white vinegar
- Flavoured vinegars
- Lemon juice
- Citric Acid
See this heirloom tomato salad with ricotta on my website for an excellent use of your homemade ricotta.
Store in the fridge, good for 2-3 days.
How to Use it
Fruit - Like a bowl of peaches on a bed of homemade ricotta.
Pizza - Dollop on homemade pizza like my cast iron pizza. Just a big old blob in the centre or 1 blob per slice.
Pasta - Instead of (OR WITH) topping your pasta with parmesan cheese, drop some ricotta on it.
Homemade ricotta really is different than ricotta you buy at the grocery store. It's much nuttier and sweeter. This makes it an especially good choice with fruit.
This is the kind of thing I do every once in a while. Mainly I buy my medicine in the store, but when I have milk that's on its way to being suspicious or am making something where the ricotta is going to really be noticed like in the tomato salad or on toast with figs and honey then I'll make it myself.
My other favourite ways to resolve symptoms of cheese deficiency are:
Now grab some milk and go make your medicine.