It’s time for another adventure in cheese making! Ricotta cheese is another perfect example of a beginners cheese. This recipe is smooth, thick and creamy, and just so delicious. Enjoy it on crackers, whipped up with herbs, in pasta dishes, on toast with tomatoes or straight off a spoon. Store bought ricotta really can’t compare. If you are looking for a fun, and quick cheese to try out this weekend, make it this one!
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Ricotta can be made two ways
Either, you can make it by rewarming and setting whey from a previous batch of cheese (this is the traditional way, and also where the cheese gets its name. Ricotta = Re Cooked) or you can use milk like I’ve done here. Both are simple and they yeild slightly different, although both delicious results. Since whey ricotta requires a large amount of whey, it is a better choice for people who have made a bunch of cheese already. But if you’re coming at it as a beginner then using this version is the better option.
This recipe is based on one out of the book Artisan Cheese Making at Home by Mary Karlin. It called for 1/2 cup of whipping cream, but I wanted to see if I could get a creamier consistency so I used 1L instead. It turned out beautifully creamy, sort of like whipped cream cheese.
Before you begin gather all your equipment and sanitize everything. You can buy Sanitizing powder from your local brewing store very cheaply. You can mix 1tbsp into water and keep a bottle on hand for any sanitizing needs. It’s also good practice when you’re getting into cheese making to read through all the directions before you start. That way you can organize your time and your kitchen space. If you’re like me you have a bunch of things going on at once, so organization is key.
- A Large Heavy Bottomed Pot (large enough to hold 4L of liquid easily)
- A Stainless Steel Whisk
- A Prob Thermometer (ideally one designed for cheese that can read lower temperatures)
- A Heat Proof Rubber Spatula
- A Large Strainer
- A Large Mixing Bowl
- Cheese Cloth or Butter Muslin
- A Ladle
- A Wooden Spoon
- 3L Whole Cows Milk
- 1L 35% Whipping Cream
- 1tsp Citric Acid Powder
- 2tsp Kosher Salt
Combine the milk, cream, citric acid, and 1tsp of salt in your pot and whisk to combine. Heat over a medium heat to 185F to 195F over about 15-20 minutes. Stir gently with a spatula to prevent sticking to the bottom. You don’t need to stir continuously, but I found it really helped to stop scorching if I stirred for the first 5-10 minutes.
When the milk reaches temperature, the whey will begin to separate from the curds. The whey will be a yellowish colour. Remove from the heat, cover and let the curds set undisturbed for 10 minutes.
Place your strainer over you mixing bowl, and line the strainer with a good few layers of cheese cloth. Leave enough overhang to be able to tie up your bundle of cheese.
Gently ladle the curds into the strainer allowing the whey to drain through. If you have any burnt bits on the bottom of the pot, leave those behind. Gently stir through the other 1tsp of salt.
Next it’s time to drain the ricotta.
Tie two opposite corners of the cheese cloth together, and then tie the other two together crossing over the first knot to make a sack. Hook the crossed knots over the handle of a wooden spoon, and hang the bundle from your cabinets, or where ever is convenient in your kitchen. Don’t forget to place a bowl underneath to catch the whey. Let the curds drain for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is the consistency that you like. Longer draining with result in a slightly drier cheese.
If you want to keep the whey for other uses, it freezes really well, otherwise discard it. The ricotta will keep in the fridge for a week.
This recipe makes quite a lot of cheese. I ended up with nearly 2 pounds, so be ready to use ricotta in a lot of cooking or prepare to freeze a bit of it. Freezing it will alter the texture a bit, but it is still great to use in cooked dishes like lasagne or in baking.
Congrats! You just made some tasty tasty cheese! When I make this recipe, we eat a lot of things with ricotta in them for most of the week. Stay tuned for some yummy ways to use ricotta in your recipes. And enjoy your cheese!
Interested in more cheese making fun? Check out these other cheesy posts: