Technically, traditional Italian ricotta cheese isn’t made from whole milk — which is what this version calls for. Traditional ricotta is made by reheating whey (hence, the name “ricotta” which means twice-cooked) and originated as a clever byproduct of the cheese-making process.
By Laura Davidson
This ricotta is simple to make (the active time is basically 15-20 minutes) and tastes delicious! It is significantly smoother and does not have the grainy texture you’ll often find in store-bought versions. And as an added bonus, homemade ricotta cheese is cheaper and doesn’t contain any weird stabilizers or gums.
You can use ricotta in so many ways, including baked goods (cookies, cakes, etc.), pancakes, pasta dishes, donuts/fritters, or simply spread on bread or toast with various garnishes! I’m planning on using my batch for a recipe I’ve been eyeing for some time… (hopefully to be posted in the next few days!). Enjoy!
- 8 cups whole milk (do not buy ultra-pasteurized, because the recipe will not work)
- ½ cup cream
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 juicy lemons worth)
- Combine milk, cream, and salt in a large (non-reactive—> stainless steel) pot and place over medium high heat.
- Using a candy thermometer, preferably one that clips to the side of the pot, bring mixture to 190 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring occasionally with a spoon to prevent the milk was scorching on the bottom of the pan.
- Remove pot from the heat and pour in the lemon juice. Stir once or twice to incorporate and allow to sit (without disturbing) for an additional 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, line a large (a small one won’t be large enough to drain the entire batch) fine-meshed sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth and place over a large, deep bowl.
- Carefully and slowly pour the ricotta mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve. Allow to drain at room temperature for an hour and a half.
- Transfer ricotta to a container and use immediately or refrigerate for up to 2-3 days. **Note: Do not throw out the whey (drained liquid), there are many uses for it and I will be posting a recipe that utilizes it within a few days)