Apparently, today is National Cheese Day–I didn’t even know that was a thing. It’s a good thing that yesterday I decided to make homemade ricotta cheese to celebrate. I visited a cheese factory once and it seemed as if I’d need a lot of fancy equipment to pull this off, but this was surprisingly (and kind of embarrassingly) easy to make. If you have a craving for a smooth and creamy cheese, why not give this a try. I don’t think you’ll regret it.
- 8 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1/4 lemon juice or white wine vinegar
*You’ll also need cheesecloth.
- In a large pot, over medium heat, heat milk, heavy cream, and salt to 195 degrees (use a candy thermometer), stirring regularly. Don’t heat the milk too quickly to avoid scorching, scalding, or boiling.
- While the milk mixture is heating, prepare colander or sieve. You’ll need a deep bowl, colander, and cheesecloth. Put the colander in the bowl; you want to make sure there’s plenty of room for liquid to drain without touching the bottom of the colander. Layer cheesecloth in the colander.
- When milk mixture reaches 195 degrees, add lemon juice or white wine vinegar and gently stir.
- Remove from heat and let set without stirring for 5 minutes. I know it’s hard but have patience.
- Carefully pour hot mixture into prepared colander and allow to drain for 20 minutes. This will give you a light, creamy, smooth ricotta. If you would prefer a firmer cheese, allow to drain for about an hour.
That’s it! And it’s ready to eat! Your ricotta will last about a week in the refrigerator–if you don’t eat it all first!
Serving suggestions: spread on crostini, drizzle with olive oil or add some chopped tomatoes and basil; for a quick and delicious dessert, serve with sliced strawberries and drizzle with honey. The uses are endless–this is just what I had for dinner last night–so yummy!
I did some research before I decided to make ricotta cheese in my kitchen. Most recipes I found on-line were very similar to the one here. A lot of people commented, though, that it’s really not ricotta. Many of the comments didn’t sound really all that educated, but I know they all must know more than I did at the start of this project. Some have suggested that it’s more like paneer, a soft Indian cheese. I don’t really know, but Ina Garten and Martha Stewart both called their versions ricotta, so that’s what I’m going with. But whatever you call it, it’s delicious.