Homemade cheese? Yes, I’m serious. You can do this, I swear! I’m not about to tell you that making cheese is easy….but making ricotta cheese is. Not to mention that once you try fresh ricotta, you will never buy the other stuff again.
2 qt whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
½ tsp salt
3 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 or 2 pieces of cheese cloth or a very fine mesh strainer
Prep work first, mise en place. This is a fairly quick process, so you need everything ready to go before you start
Line your colander with a few pieces of cheesecloth. You can also use a fine mesh strainer placed over a bowl, just make sure it’s big enough to hold 2 cups of cheese. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice and set aside. Measure out salt and set aside.
Pour cream and milk into a heavy bottom sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, stirring occasionally with a spatula to prevent scalding. When the mixture has reached a steady simmer add the lemon juice and stir quickly with a spatula- just to blend. Turn the heat down to medium/ medium low. Keep the mixture at a low simmer, let it sit for one minute. Stir with the spatula again, then let it sit another minute. When it looks like most of the liquid has separated into curds and whey, it is done. There will be an initial separation when you add the lemon juice, but you need to continue to cook it to separate all the curds.
Pour the mixture into your lined colander and let drain for 1 hour at room temperature. Towards the end of the hour you can squeeze the cloth to get out the remaining moisture. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge.
Makes about 2 cups.
A few notes:
I have heard people have had success making this with 1% milk, but I haven’t tried it yet myself. There are also a number of methods you can use to make ricotta ranging from buttermilk to vinegar, but I like lemon the best.
Ricotta can be used for so many things; lasagna, stuffed manicotti, cannolis, and a million other things. I mixed ricotta with a little bit of honey and egg and made it into a peach tart!