Homemade Ricotta Cheese
The Omnivore really hates ricotta cheese. He’d rather not have lasagna because it contains ricotta and forget a calzone if it is stuffed with ricotta. I can’t get him to verbalize why he hates the cheese but I do know that if my only exposure to the low fat flavorless paste you buy at the store, I’d probably not like it either.
Making this stuff is a marvel of chemistry. It felt beautiful and empowering to drop tablespoons of vinegar into piping hot milk and watch solids separate from liquids as the curds that would make this delicious cheese began to grow. Chemistry is amazing.
I’ve been eating this ricotta cheese in every acceptable way possible – with eggs at breakfast, smeared on bread at lunch. It is just simply delicious.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese (America’s Test Kitchen DIY Cookbook, seen on Annie’s Eats)
- 2½ tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. distilled white vinegar, plus more as needed (I needed an additional tablespoon)
- 2 quarts pasteurized whole milk
- 1 tsp. salt
- Combine the milk and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk reaches 185˚ F on an instant-read thermometer.
- While the milk is heating, line a colander and line with a double layer of cheesecloth.
- Once the milk has reached the desired 185˚ F, remove from the heat.
- Stir in the lemon juice and vinegar. The mixture will begin to curdle immediately. Stir enough to evenly distribute the acids. Let rest 10 minutes.
- When the mixture is adequately curdled, it will have separated into white curds and translucent yellow whey.
- After 10 minutes, gently stir at the edge to ensure that the solids have separated from the whey. If there is still milky whey in the in the pot after 10 minutes, add in more vinegar 1 tablespoon at a time and let sit 5 minutes more until the curds separate.
- Very carefully pour the mixture into the prepared colander.
- Let drain about 8-12 minutes (shorter for a moist result, longer for a drier end product). Transfer the curds to a bowl, stir, cover, and refrigerate until chilled. Store up to 5 days.