I’m sharing this recipe today as it is used in a zucchini recipe I am preparing to share special for Labor Day on Monday.
The first time I learned about making ricotta from scratch my feelings were mixed.
On the one hand, I thought it would be a great skill to have as the store bought stuff, even high quality, leaves a little something to be desired.
On the other hand, I honestly thought it sounded a bit like a bother.
I make my own bread.
Do I honestly need to make my own cheese as well?
However, when I had a surplus of milk on hand a few weeks ago, I decided to go ahead and give it a try.
I will never buy ricotta cheese again.
Not only was it amazing stuff that could be eaten right from the bowl, it was very, very simple to make. Give it a try.
First off you will need:
8 c of whole milk; I prefer to use raw milk.
2 c of buttermilk
In browsing the internet you will find that in place of buttermilk, some recipes call for a little bit of lemon juice and some call for a little bit of vinegar. I just used what I had on hand. From what I understand (and someone please correct me if I am wrong), the important thing is that something acidic be added to the milk to cause it to curdle.
Next prepare a glass bowl with a colander set into it like this:
Line the colander with cheesecloth or a floursack towel. You want to be able to collect the curds while allowing them to drain.
Pour the milk into a saucepan and set it over high heat. Stir frequently until curds begin to form and float to the top.
Some recipes recommend using a candy thermometer and removing the milk from heat when the temperature reaches about 175 degrees.
I um….broke my candy thermometer…once…a long time ago…so I didn’t use one. I just stirred and removed the curds as they formed, spooning them into the colander.
When all the curds have been removed, gather up the edges of the cheesecloth or towel and hold it over the strainer allowing the liquid to drain; then set it to rest for 20 minutes.
Gently transfer the ricotta from the cheesecloth or towel to a bowl, salt if desired, and chill before using.
Note of caution: It will be tempting to drain off nearly all of the liquid. Unless you are preparing to use this in a dish like lasagna: don’t. You will notice from the photo above that I drained too much and ended up with a very dry ricotta. We were able to compensate for it, but I would have preferred a creamier consistency.
You will also notice that you’ll have quite a bit of liquid left over afterward. It can be saved in the fridge and used for things like biscuits or pancakes.
The recipe above will make 1 2/3 cups of ricotta cheese but can be halved if you wish.
The strainer pictured is this one: OXO Good Grips Silicone Collapsible Colander purchased from Amazon. I. love. it. It can withstand temps up to 600 degrees making it dishwasher safe and useful for blanching vegetables. It also folds up all nifty like so that it fits compactly in my cupboard. I highly recommend. Not to mention the fact that it is red, and I love all things red. (You never would have guessed that would you?)