Fresh ricotta should be in every fridge, it’s one of those versatile go to ingredients, spread on bread, in your salad, spoon through pasta, on oven baked vegetables, a great ingredient for baking, I’ll add my lemon ricotta cake recipe in the next couple of days. All of these uses are of course if you don’t eat it all by the spoonful just after making- it is yummo.
Traditionaly ricotta is made from the whey left over from cheese making, but as we don’t do that everyday the whole milk recipe is simple enough, you never have to go without creamy fresh ricotta again. You can buy whey from many milk and cheese producers, check out your local market, I haven’t tried using whey so let me know if you do, I’d love to hear about your results.
I did have a giggle whilst watching a reality cooking program on TV recently where the contestants suggested they should be awarded extra points as they had made their own cheese, being ricotta. Once you give this recipe a try you will understand why I had a bit of a laugh. This has to be one of the simplest recipes ever.
Depending on the milk yield the following will make about 400-500 grams of ricotta. Milk yield will vary according to the season (if you use fresh farmers milk) and the type of milk you use.
Always use full cream and non-homogenized milk for the best flavor and for a great result every time.
- 2 litres full cream non-homogenized milk
- 100-300 mls pure cream (optional, I only add cream if I am feeling extra decadent and have excess cream on hand)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon citric acid OR 75 mls white vinegar OR 4 tablespoons lemonjuice (I always use citric acid as it is very easy to obtain, I have tried lemon juice also any ONE of these items can be used as a curdling agent)
- Large high side saucepan or stockpot -I use my pasta pot
- stainless steel stirring spoon (Never use wooden spoons for cheese making)
- Baskets for draining or muslin and colander
Making sure your pot is scrupulously clean – I don’t take the full sterilizing method I use for general cheese making but do pour a kettle full of boiling water through the pot and stirrer. Ensure all of the water has been tipped out of the pot.
Add the milk (and cream if using) to the pot with the salt. Bring the heat until milk is 92 degrees Celsius or if you don’t have a thermometer just when the milk starts to bubble around the edges do not let the milk boil.
Turn off the heat and add the citric acid or your choice of curdling agent, stir through thoroughly and watch the curds appear. Leave for approximately 30 minutes and this should give you the best yield.
Now your curds should be ready for straining I use cheese baskets which are quite affordable as I find them the easiest and makes less mess – perhaps that’s just me.
Spoon the curds into your straining method and let the liquid drain away. Once the liquid has drained through your ready to eat, oops pop into the fridge.
So simple, so delicious. Enjoy.