Homemade Fresh Ricotta

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Homemade fresh ricotta, you can make this cheese in less time than it takes to go to the store, buy a pre-made version, and return home. Having access to just a pot, cheesecloth, and thermometer makes it a very accessible cheesemaking project, even for beginners.

The hardest thing about making fresh ricotta is having the patients let the cheese drain, in other words decreasing the water content and concentrating the flavor and richness. My homemade fresh ricotta is quite close in flavor and texture to true ricotta and can be so much better than the store-bought product.

Real Ricotta is a by-product of cheese making, it is made from whey. I don’t have access to a large amount of whey, so using pasteurized whole milk gives me wonderful creamy ricotta, that is as good as the real stuff.

Fresh Ricotta

Homemade Ricotta

Making your own Ricotta

There is something satisfying about making fresh cheese, I know of people after they made the recipe got that “I MADE CHEESE” attitude.
Making cheese often involves both starter culture and rennet. You can also make cheese very simply, letting the natural bacteria do their work, causing the cheese curds to separate from the whey. Ricotta cheese is a very simple to make cheese.  My ricotta recipe, when combined and whipped with a little heavy cream, becomes creamy and fluffy and can be the base for amazing sweet or savory dishes. Take the time, make your homemade ricotta, and enjoy the experience of making your simple cheese.

Is there a big difference between homemade and store-bought?

The choice between homemade and store-bought ricotta boils down to your liking and your priorities. If convenience reigns supreme, store-bought might suffice. But if you’re looking for flavor and seeking peak ricotta perfection, the homemade path is the way to go.

Homemade ricotta usually requires only simple ingredients like milk, vinegar, and salt. Homemade ricotta typically boasts a fresher, lighter taste and a more delicate, airy texture due to the draining process. Think of it as fresh, light, and airy, with a delicate sweetness and a slight tang. Homemade ricotta is all about freshness, made with simple ingredients and enjoyed at its peak within a few days.

Some store-bought ricotta skips the draining step and relies on thickening agents like gums and stabilizers. While this gives the cheese a longer shelf life and makes the cheese smoother and easier to spread, it can result in a denser texture and flavor compared to homemade ricotta

What milk to use?

Cow’s milk that is UHT heated, which stands for ultra-high temperature — heated to 275 degrees to kill bacteria, does not work very well in making homemade ricotta.
All organic milk in supermarkets is UHT treated to extend its shelf life to 16 to 21 days. I guess with the price of organic milk it takes some time to move that product off the shelf.

So I stick with pasteurized whole milk which makes great ricotta, once you taste the pure flavor, you will never be able to look at the store-bought stuff again. On the other hand, if you have access to goat milk you will get the same results.  Cow’s milk naturally gives you a sweet flavor while goat’s milk or sheep’s milk will give you a richer taste.

I have made over time several different batches of Ricotta

  • one batch with buttermilk, whole milk, and salt
  • one batch with whole milk, cream, salt, and white vinegar
  • one with whole milk, cream, salt, and fresh lemon juice

They all turned out great, the one made with whole milk, cream, and white vinegar seems to give me the cleanest taste and the best consistency.
FYI: the only equipment needed to make ricotta is a stainless steel pot, cheesecloth, and thermometer

Treat yourself to a simple great Ricotta sandwich

When you think of sandwiches you think of a quick lunch.
The truth is, that a great sandwich served is appropriate for lunch,  dinner, or a snack. If you are a sandwich fan, what is more, satisfying than fresh ricotta, mashed avocado, and roasted sweet peppers, on fresh-baked crusty farmer’s bread? Farmer’s bread is the perfect bread for that sandwich, be sure to slightly toast it crispy before topping it with a generous helping of homemade ricotta.

What is Whey?

Whey is one of the primary proteins found in dairy products. If you are opening a yogurt container and see the liquid floating on top, this is whey. The same liquid that forms when you make ricotta or yogurt. Whey has the flavor of plain yogurt, so it lends itself to use in your smoothies.

Whey protein contains an incredible range of essential amino acids, which are absorbed quickly.  Amino acids, often referred to as the building blocks of proteins, are compounds that play many critical roles in your body. I keep my liquid whey refrigerated in a tightly sealed glass container and store it for one week.

The Taste

A refreshing balance, contrast, and clean flavor.
My version with whole milk, cream, salt, and white vinegar works best for me in terms of taste and consistency.

The Process

The hardest thing about making homemade ricotta is having the patients let the cheese drain.
Having access to just a pot, cheesecloth, and thermometer makes it a very accessible cheesemaking project, even for beginners.

The Verdict

A very easy recipe to make.
Adding cream makes the ricotta richer and smoother. It’s a great choice for a decadent texture.
I know of people after they made the recipe got that “I MADE CHEESE” attitude.

Homemade Ricotta

Chef Norbert
Ricotta cheese is a very simple to make cheese.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Draining the Ricotta 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine French
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 387 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 2 quart whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar distilled, white
  • 1 pinch sea salt

Instructions
 

Heat the Milk

  • In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring the milk and cream to a temperature of 175 F.
    2 quart whole milk, 1/2 cup heavy cream

Add vinegar

  • Add the vinegar and sea salt and stir briefly. Once you add the vinegar, curds will form. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes undisturbed
    3 tbsp white vinegar, 1 pinch sea salt

Drain the Ricotta

  • Line a colander with a quadruple layer of cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Ladle the mixture into a colander. Stop draining when the mixture begins to look like ricotta, 5 to 15 minutes, depending on how dry you like it.
  • Cool, transfer to an airtight container, and store for up to one week.

Chef Notes

  • The recipe can be scaled up or down as desired
  • You can use pasteurized or homogenized milk, however, do not use ultra-pasteurized milk, as it will not work.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 4 Ounce | Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 198mg | Potassium: 738mg | Sugar: 24g

Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate

Keyword Cheese, Ricotta
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

 

 

 

 

 

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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