Ricotta cheese

There is simply nothing like home made Ricotta cheese. There are so many things you can do with it: eat it from a spoon, put it in lasagna, stuff cannelloni, piggies in blankets, make bread with it, and so on.  I have even found a flavourful ricotta doughnut recipe. The list is long and distinguished and every  growing thanks to inventive minds. It is easy-peasy to make and provides and almost instant treat when complete. My favourite thing to do with it is eat it like the Greeks do: with strong espresso coffee and a drizzle of honey–it is simply divine!

Here’s how:

Two gallons of milk heating on stove.

Two gallons of milk heating on stove.

Put a gallon of milk (fresh from the cow if you have access, but store-bought will work) in a large pot.

Heat until the milk reaches 200 degrees F, do not let it boil (it will be very close to boiling as it approaches this temperature).

Having added the lemon juice, the curds begin to form immediately.

Having added the lemon juice, the curds begin to form immediately.

Add a few tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar (apple cider or white, both work fine) and stir gently for two minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the pot sit for 10 minutes while the milk curdles into cheese (what will be in the pot is actually Little Miss Muffet’s curds and whey).

Gently remove curds from pot and place in strainer or jelly bag.
Gently remove curds from pot and place in strainer or jelly bag.

Strain through a jelly bag or cheese cloth catching all the curds. Save the whey and make bread, muffins, or pancakes with it. I always use it to make Italian Whey bread–it is fantastic bread!

Ricotta curds hanging in jelly bag draining out the whey.
Ricotta curds hanging in jelly bag draining out the whey.

Let it strain until it stops dripping, about a half an hour. I tie an elastic band around the jelly bag and hook it over a cupboard handle. While not high-tech, it works! Viola, you have ‘cottage industry’ or ‘artisan made’ ricotta cheese.

Whenever I make ricotta, I reward myself with the special Greek treat: Spoon some in to a bowl immediately and pour a couple of tablespoons of strong espresso coffee over it, drizzle over some honey and sprinkle cinnamon and enjoy!

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6 Comments

Filed under cheese making, How to..., Preserving the harvest

6 responses to “Ricotta cheese

  1. I was just out at a local restaurant called Stage and had ricotta gnudi. Think gnocchi with ricotta instead of potatoes! Oh yeah. It was incredible.

  2. dowhatyoulove

    Making things from scratch give them such a wonderful flavor! Thank you for sharing this simple recipe. I have made essentially the same thing, but I put it under weight and created a firm cheese. Yum!

  3. DWYL–if you like coffee, they try the cheese fresh as I suggest above, it’s a real treat! How long do you age your cheese?

    Welcome to the blog!

  4. LittleFfarm Dairy

    You can make a lovely soft Coulommier-type cheese by putting the drained curds into moulds (forms) & simply turning them regularly, & draining the whey. Then remove from the moulds, salt the cheeses, & leave to mature in a cool place.

    If you check out my post for 11 November 2007 I’ve included a recipe which makes a gorgeous soft cheese; although I stipulate goats’ milk in the recipe I’m sure you could make it with cows’ milk (although it wouldn’t then be a chevre, of course!).

    Whilst I use a starter & rennet you can still make it with the basic ricotta-type cheese, although your overall yield will be less. A high moisture content also encourages the continuing growth of starter bacteria, resulting in a low pH, & a short shelf life of 2-12 weeks in chilled storage (the addition of salt helps to increase shelf life). Soft cheeses are also more susceptible to the growth of undesirable micro-organisms – so beware, if using unpasteurised milk.

    Having read your post I’ll make some ricotta ASAP – that Greek treat sounds utterly gorgeous…!

  5. Home made ricotta is one of those things that you can never move away from once you’ve discovered it. So simple, so good.

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