Homemade ricotta is like a gateway cheese. One you start with the ricotta the doors open to the hard stuff. You realize what were you ever waiting for because that was just so ridonkously easy. Now I just can’t stop thinking about all the other cheeses out there that can come out of my tiny kitchen. Ricotta. Burrata. Don’t even get me start-ta[ed].
Ricotta is the most simple of DIY cheeses so we’re going to start there. All you need is lemon juice, whole milk and cream. The most involved tool that is required is a kitchen thermometer (but you already have in your arsenal from beer caramel-making, right?).
After you collect your tools, it’s time to get started. Begin by simmering the cream, milk, and lemon juice together until the mixture reaches 190°F and curds begin to form. You are halfway there! Wasn’t that so easy? This is the point in the process when I started asking myself the question: Why did you wait so long to try making ricotta? It is the perfect dinner party snack and is about 400 times better when it is lovingly crafted from scratch.
After the mixture reaches 190°F and curds are forming left and right, remove the pan from the heat, and let is sit for 10 minutes. This is when the curds are releasing whey and you have to let them do their thing and be patient.
While you wait, get ready for the next step. Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set it over a big bowl. My biggest bowl was actually not big enough for all the liquid that strained through so I had to switch out the once which is not that annoying of a step but if you have a ginormous bowl, then I would recommend using it here.
After all the liquid has drained, gather the ends of the cloth together, and give it a good squeeze. Gently stir in the salt and transfer to a container for storage. Just like that you made cheese! Now go pour yourself a glass of wine and have a homemade cheese party.
One-Hour Homemade Ricotta
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Adapted from One-Hour Cheese
4 cups (1 quart) whole milk
2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a large pot gently stir together milk, cream, and lemon juice and set over medium heat. Stir every few minutes to prevent a skin from forming on the top of the surface and check that there is no burning on the bottom of the pan (turn down the heat if this begins to happen).
Check the temperature when you start to see steam rising from the pot. Curds will begin to form rapidly as the temperature gets close to 190°F. Stay close to the pot at this point and when the temperature reaches 190°F turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner.
Let the pot sit undisturbed for 10 minutes to give the curds a chance to release more whey. While you wait, line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over your largest bowl. Pour the curds through the cloth and let the whey drain for about 10 minutes. Gather the cloth into a bundle and give it a gentle squeeze to strain out the last little bit of liquid. Unwrap the cheese and gently stir in the salt. Transfer to a small bowl and chill in the refrigerator then serve.
Want more “whey” cool cheese-making ideas? Stop by The Culinary Life tomorrow for another One-Hour cheese recipe. And here is a little sneak peek – which I will be sharing soon – of how I topped my ricotta snacks!!