Homemade Goat’s Milk Ricotta

Fresh, rich and creamy: goat’s milk ricotta is the perfect accent for summer cooking in the Southern Hemisphere.
By Alexia Kannas

Not being in Greece in the summertime leaves me missing many things; some of them are swimming in temperate waters, drinking before midday, eating watermelon chilled in the village spring and dancing all night at summer bars under the stars, instead of roofs. I also miss cheese.

Living in Melbourne means that I have access to a good number of Greek cheeses; I can always buy Kaseri, Kefalograviera and, of course, feta. But what I really miss are the locally produced, soft, fresh cheeses that you buy by the scoop to spread on bread, or dollop into salads, or bake into pies. The most commonly known is mizithra, but there are different varieties made all over the country that use different combinations of cow, sheep and goat milk to achieve different levels of sharpness and a variety of textures. My favourite, xynomizithra, is a sour version of mizithra that tastes like a tangy incarnation of very fresh, rich ricotta. The best is thought to be produced on the island of Crete, where they use sheep and/or goat milk to make the cheese.

It’s going to be a little while before I can get back there to eat some, so I decided to make my own. To do this, I simply replaced the cow’s milk in a standard recipe for ricotta with fresh goat’s milk and, after a couple of hours of waiting for the cheese to drain, I had something so rich, smooth and delicious that I could hardly believe it. I ate this first batch on grilled ciabatta, sprinkled with smoked sea salt, cracked black pepper and olive oil from the mother country – and it was almost as if I were back there in my grandmother’s kitchen on a warm summer morning, eating a little something at her insistence before heading to the beach. It was magic.

I’m thinking that the next lot (draining right now) might get folded into a filling for honey and cinnamon pastries, but I can’t wait to try this on pizza or as a filling for pasta. This is if I can get past the luxury of eating it on toast, perhaps topped with something sweet and sticky, like rose petal jam or a fresh fig. No matter how I decide to eat it, I feel I’ll be making this all summer long.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Homemade goat's milk ricotta
 
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
 
This recipe will make around a cup of gorgeously creamy, fresh-tasting goat's milk ricotta cheese.
Author:
Recipe Type: Cheese
Ingredients
  • 1 litre (34 fl oz) fresh goat's milk
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Instructions
  1. Pour the goat milk into a nonreactive saucepan and add the salt. Heat the milk gently over low to medium heat, watching all the while and stirring occasionally so that the bottom doesn't burn.
  2. When the milk is on the verge of boiling, remove it from heat and add the lemon juice. Stir the mixture once gently to encourage the curds to form before letting the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.While you're waiting for the milk to become cheese, line a strainer or colander with a double layer of muslin and place it over a large bowl (or in the sink, if you're not bothered about losing the whey).
  3. Pour the milk mixture gently into the colander and let the curds strain. The ricotta will be ready to eat after an hour of straining, but I preferred the dense, richer texture of mine after almost two. Taste a little to see what you prefer. If you're making the ricotta for use later, note that it will firm up further in the refrigerator.
Notes
There's no special equipment required to make this cheese, but you'll need a yard of cheesecloth or 'butter muslin' cloth and a nonreactive pot (stainless steel, clay, enamel - not aluminum). Cheesecloth, or 'butter muslin' is an inexpensive loose-weave fabric available at craft and fabric stores, as well as some kitchenware supply stores.

 

Alexia Kannas

Alexia Kannas is a writer and academic based in Melbourne, Australia, who spends her days thinking and writing about cinema - and food. Fascinated by the relationship between food and memory, she writes about how cooking, meals and taste recall moments from film, literature, history and imagination. Her dream dinner-party guests are Jarvis Cocker and all her non-single friends. The two things she fears most are i) guests leaving hungry and, ii) a world without gin.

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24 Comments
  1. This looks amazing! I’ve made regular cow’s milk ricotta and loved it but never tried a goat version…I love goat cheese so I bet this would be so good! Now I just need to figure out where I can buy goat milk. :)

  2. Hey Sara. Thanks for your comment! Amazingly, my local supermarket has started carrying fresh goat milk in the regular dairy aisle, but before that I’d buy it at my fave health food store. It’s so worth it – trust me!

  3. Hi Linda! What a bummer this is didn’t work out. Since I posted this recipe, I’ve made it 9 or 10 times and I did have it not work out once; the curds didn’t develop and it was just liquid, like you described. I’m guessing this is an issue with the temperature of milk, as it needs to reach a particular temperature to curdle. If you have a kitchen thermometer (I don’t), you want the milk to reach 180 – 185 degrees before you add the acid (lemon juice/vinegar). One of my sources said that this is the temperature just before boiling point, so I wing it and have nearly always had success. I’ve done a little more research and found this piece at Whisk This on making ricotta: http://whiskthis.com/homemade-ricotta-cheese/ Here Anne Marie actually let hers boil and it still worked out – in fact she has much bigger curds than I’ve achieved, so maybe you could leave the milk on the burner a touch longer. Again, so sorry it didn’t work out on your first go – so disappointing. Do let me know if you try again and I will do so myself.

  4. I read with cow’s milk ricotta that it keeps for about three days in the fridge. Is that the case with goat milk ricotta, too?

  5. At first I thought I’d done something wrong but it was just that the goat cheese has very fine curds. Cows milk has coarser curds but the cheese came out fine. I ended up just testing some of the liquid and found it was ready. I later saw another site where there was a sample of 3 types of milk and that was helpful too. Thanks for this great recipe.

  6. Hello :)

    Very happy to have found this site!

    Can you please tell me if it matters which type of goat milk you use for this recipe in terms of fat content?

    Thanks!
    -Zosia

  7. One thing for your readers to double-check is that their milk isn’t ultra-pasteurized. This type of pasteurization is very popular in some parts of the world, but sadly the high heat used during ultra-pasteurization will denature the casein, which cannot then form curds. :(

  8. This is fabulous! We have goats, and this is fast and delicious- nice and lemony. Great with some fresh ground pepper too. I use a clean fine/flat tea towel to strain. Thank you!!

  9. I have had a similar problem with very few curds forming. I used Meyer lemons and I think they are not acidic enough. I added some white vinegar boosted the temperature again and great curds resulted.
    I hope this helps.

  10. Too late saw that I had used ultrapasteurized goat’s milk, so got no curds. Will use the milk for bread! It should be really tangy.

  11. I don’t have any sea salt… how will using regular table salt affect my product? Looking forward to your answers. Many thanks.

  12. I too used Meyer lemons and when it didn’t curdle I added two tablespoons of white vinegar. It ended up with barely visible curds even after sitting in the pan for an hour. HOWEVER, it became a little thick so I just put in in a thin dishcloth inside a strainer. In two hours I had the creamiest goat’s ricotta imaginable. It was a cross between cream cheese and whipped cream.
    Sliced some bread, brushed it with butter, broiled it for a few minutes. On top I put the ricotta and a little honey. It was fabulous!

  13. Thanks for this lovely recipe! Have you ever used raw goat’s milk?
    I would love to know how that would work.

    Cheers!

  14. So I have twice tried making mozzerella on my own with goat cheese. Both times I ended up with ricotta. I think perhapes it could be because I am buying pasteurized goat milk so I will try this again in a month or 2 when I get back home and have access to raw goat milk. Basically I can’t get the curds to seperate/set once I add the rennet.

  15. This is absolutely next level delicious. We use a touch more salt, probably 3/4 tsp instead of 1/2 tsp. We are cow dairy free but can tolerate some goat milk and it is just so amazing to have cheese again. You must try this cheese in scalloped potatoes and just on crackers mixed with fresh herbs

  16. “Got my goat” – It’s difficult to get goat milk around here, would powdered work ? want to make lasagna for those with cows milk allergy ? also same question for (mozzarella cheese)

  17. Hi Alexia just found you’re recipe for home made goats milk ricotta. I am lactose intolerant
    So I can’t have cows milk. I am going to make lasagna but th recipe asks for ricotta cheese.

    I find it impossible to buy the goats milk version of the cheese in supermarkets so I will use your recipe to make it my self. Many thanks for this recipe I think I can now make my version of lasagna.

    1. Goat milk has lactose like cows milk. I think the reason we cannot tolerate bovine dairy is because if the A1 casein protein. Only A2 is found in goat sheep camel donkey and human milk, but not A1.

  18. My milk did nothing! Apparently you must milk your own goat as milk sold in grocery stores is ultra pasteurized and can’t curdle! Cost me $5.00 to throw down the drain. And no goat cheese ricotta for my ravioli.

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