How to Make Homemade Ricotta
Unless you’re fortunate enough to live near a specialty food or cheese shop that sells fresh ricotta, your best bet is to make your own. It’s fast and easy, and the sweet, milky flavor and fluffy texture surpass that of commercially made ricottas.
Prep time: 20 min, plus overnight
Cook time: 5–10 min
Yield: about 1-1⁄4 cups (10 ounces)
1/2 cup (125 ml) heavy cream
4 cups (1,000 ml) whole milk (not ultrapasteurized)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of kosher salt
In a nonreactive saucepan, combine the cream, milk, and lemon juice. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until the mixture reaches 205 degrees. (Remember, cheesemaking is a science, and temperature is crucial.)
Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the mixture rest for about 15 minutes. During this time, the curds and whey will separate.
Line a strainer with cheesecloth and set the strainer over a bowl. Ladle the curds into the strainer to drain the whey. Cover the strainer and bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Then refrigerate overnight to let the whey drain.
Discard the whey and wipe the bowl dry. Transfer the ricotta to the bowl. Stir in the salt, cover the cheese tightly, and refrigerate until needed. Alternatively, you may transfer the ricotta to an airtight container. Refrigerated, this cheese will keep for up to 3 days.
Per 1/4 cup serving: Calories 204 (From Fat 138); Fat 15g (Saturated 10g); Cholesterol 59g; Sodium 161mg; Carbohydrate 10g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 7g.
Vary It! Before serving, add chopped fresh herbs or orange (or lemon) zest and a bit of honey to the ricotta; then stir to combine.
If you have difficulty finding non-ultrapasteurized milk, look at Whole Foods or similar grocery chains, in the organic section of larger grocery stores, or in independent natural food stores.
Source: The Paley’s Place Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Pacific Northwest (Ten Speed Press, 2008), by Vitaly and Kimberly Paley.