If you've never made fresh homemade ricotta cheese then you've never tasted just good it can be. You won't believe how easy it is to make at home!
If you’ve never made fresh homemade ricotta cheese then you’ve never tasted just good it can be. You won’t believe how easy it is to make at home!
A little over two months ago David Leite featured a recipe by Melissa Hamilton on Leite’s Culinaria, and I had mentioned to David on Google+ that I needed to learn to make this glorious cheese, so I could teach my students. Well, things started getting a little crazy at work, and I never got to it. Now that I have made it, and tasted the homemade ricotta, I’m so sorry that I didn’t do it sooner. The recipe is so simple and pretty much foolproof, so if you have never made your own ricotta cheese, then I urge you to give this recipe a try, you’ll be so happy that you did.
Now here comes the disclaimer, this version of ricotta cheese is not the real ricotta, in the sense that we used lemon juice to change our whole milk into curds, when in fact the real deal, is made from the leftover whey from cheesemaking. And that’s where ricotta actually gets its name from as it is “twice cooked” or ricotta. Now I don’t know if I’ll ever be ambitious enough to try to make the real version of ricotta, but since this version looks like ricotta, tastes like ricotta and feels like ricotta it’s going to do for my needs, and if it were any easier to make, it would almost make itself (another great reason to make this version).
I did strain my ricotta a little longer for a dryer version since I will be making one of Mama Jeanette’s Famous Ricotta Cheesecakes from this wonderful cheese, but if you like it a little wetter that’s an easy fix, just place the curds directly into your storage container instead of draining them.
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You can use this ricotta to make my Homemade Manicotti Recipe.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
- 1 gallon organic whole milk
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 cup plain yogurt I used greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice 3 lemons
- Using two large pots, make a double boiler by placing the smaller one inside the larger pot.
- Once you find a good pair to use, fill the bottom pot with enough water so it comes about halfway up the sides of the smaller insert pot.
- Add the milk into the insert and heat it over medium heat until the temperature reaches 190°F (88°C) It will take about 15 minutes, to reach that temperature. Make sure to use a thermometer to check the temperature.
- Add the salt, yogurt, and lemon juice to the milk, and stir with a wooden spoon for just long enough to mix everything together. adjust the hear to maintain the temperature of the milk. *
- Maintain the milk’s temperature at 190°F (88°C) for 25 minutes, (you may have to remove the insert if the milk begins to get too hot)
- DO NOT stir the milk while the ricotta curds are forming!
- When 25 minutes has passed, using a skimmer carefully lift all the ricotta curds out of the whey and transfer them to a fine-mesh strainer (or use cheesecloth inside a pasta strainer)*
- If you are using your ricotta for cheesecake, let it drain for about 1 hour, then dump it into a bowl and fluff a little with a fork.
- Transfer your ricotta to a covered container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. (if you prefer a wetter ricotta, transfer the curds directly to your storage container)
*drain the curds over a bowl and use the by product for making bread or any other baked good calling for water.