This is such an easy and wonderful thing to make at home. Once you do it, you will never want to buy ricotta cheese ever again. The trick is to heat the milk slowly, and then only add enough lemon juice to curdle the milk. Too much acid will make the curd very firm – and if you want a nice creamy cheese – you have to be careful how much acid you add. Here is what works for me:
½ gallon of non-homogenized milk (no UHT)
1 pint of heavy cream (not UHT, with no additives)
1 tsp of salt
Slowly heat your milk and cream to 195F. Stir it constantly and don’t let it boil. When it reaches 195, turn the heat off of the stove, add the salt, and then begin to add the lemon juice. I squeeze a half a lemon at a time and stir consistently until I see it begin to curdle. Stir for about two minutes during the curdling process.
Now, I take a stock pot and put a steamer basket on it, which I line with fine cheesecloth. I then begin to ladle the mixture into the cheesecloth so the whey drains out and the cheese remains in the cloth. I tie up the cloth and let it drain for about an hour (longer draining gives you dry curd). Then I put the cheese (yields about a pint) into a storage container in the fridge.
I save the whey to make lacto-fermentations, feed my sourdough starter, bake bread, enrich my dogs’ food, etc.
I'm a home cook with a lifelong passion for learning, exploring and experimenting in my kitchen. You can find me at @Debs1 on Twitter and @Debs121212 on Instagram.
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