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Fresh Homemade Ricotta

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Yields about 4-1/2 cups ricotta

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 134

Freshly made ricotta is so good, you'll want to eat it by the spoonful. With so few ingredients, the quality of each is very important. The better your milk and cream, the better your cheese will be. A high-quality sea salt will also make a difference. If you’d like to make a little less, the recipe is easily halved.

  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs. flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
  • 1/2 cup fresh, strained lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)

Line a colander with 3 to 4 layers of lightly dampened cheesecloth, and set it in a clean sink or large bowl.

Clip an instant-read or candy thermometer to the side of a heavy-duty 7- to 8-quart pot. Put the milk and cream in the pot and slowly warm it over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a silicone spatula, until it’s 185°F, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat, stir in the salt, and then slowly pour the lemon juice over the surface of the milk. Once all of the lemon juice has been added, stir gently for 1 to 2 minutes to encourage curds to form.

Gently ladle the curds into the prepared colander. Fold the ends of the cheesecloth over the curds to loosely cover. Drain until it reaches your desired consistency, 30 minutes for a soft ricotta and up to 24 hours for a very firm, dry, dense ricotta. Refrigerate if draining for more than a couple of hours. Transfer the drained ricotta to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per 2 Tbs., Calories (kcal): 45, Fat (kcal): 3, Fat Calories (g): 30, Saturated Fat (g): 2, Protein (g): 2, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1, Carbohydrates (mg): 3, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 0, Sodium (g): 130, Cholesterol (g): 10, Fiber (g): 0,

Photo: Scott Phillips

OHH EMM GEE !! This was delicious, I've made it twice so far and it's been outstanding both times. As noted, not all lemons are created equal and both times, I've needed to add a little extra lemon juice with the first batch distinctly lemon-flavored and the second batch, not lemony at all .. either way, this recipe is well worth the 30 minutes and I'll never use store bought ricotta again !!

We made this recipe and it is as easy as they are saying. The cheese produced was AMAZING! We also made the stuffed shells recipe and the stuffed pork chops. Delicious.

Super Fabulous! Couldn't be easier to do. I'll never buy the stuff in the tub again. Even my 5-year old grandson commented when eating the stuffed shells -- I love this cheese!!!! Made a recipe with stuffed shells with half of the cheese and used the other half to make a ricotta cake. Made the cheese again a few days later and made two more cakes to take to a party. Yes…that's how good this stuff is!

Loved this!! Wish I had read the reviews before making it - I would have had firmer curds by using more lemon juice as suggested by another reviewer. No matter - it was utterly delicious in the stuffed shells, the suggested toasts and right off the spoon. Will never buy store bought again. Can't wait to try the pork chop recipe.

this recipe was easy to make and as good as it gets. i hope never to use store-bought ricotta again. i used it in the stuffed pork chop recipe which was also a five star hit.

I loved making homemade ricotta. My children loved it as well. My only disappointment was the gross over estimation of the yield. I needed to make 2 batches in order to get a scant 4 cups. Maybe it was the lemons I used, but if there is that much variation in output I think next time I would use vinegar and lemon to get a more consistent outcome volume.

Excellent recipe – indescribably delicious! Be aware, however, that the article that accompanies this recipe states, “The slight differences in one lemon’s acidity versus another’s can have an influence on the size and quantity of curds.” I absolutely found this to be true. I made half of a recipe, measured everything carefully, used a thermometer and followed the directions to a “t” but when I added the lemon juice … very little happened. Barely a curd. Reluctant to just toss the batch and start over (particularly since I had bought the best organic milk and cream that I could find) and remembering what the article said about differences in lemon acidity, I added additional lemon juice until I saw curds forming (about an additional 2 tablespoons for the half recipe I was making). The rest of the recipe worked beautifully and the result was not overly lemony at all! Perhaps the recipe should be amended to give a range of lemon juice – suggesting that one start with the minimum amount and then adding additional juice if needed until curds start to form.

Excellent! So easy and I have never tasted Ricotta this fresh. The lemon gives it a delicious fragrance. Strained it for 24 hours until thick and used it in lasagna with no runny water. Am making it again for breakfast and will stop draining after about 30 minutes for a creamier texture.

It was my first time making ricotta and it will not be my last!

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