Making homemade ricotta cheese couldn’t be easier. I thoroughly enjoy this soft creamy cheese stirred into a lemony pasta or my zucchini fritters, and I most definitely love it baked into a cheesecake or my single layer mango cake. It’s just so darn versatile and also makes a wonderful hot or cold dip. The ingredients are very simple and tend to be items that you may need to utilize before they spoil in your refrigerator, like a half gallon of milk. Why let it go to waste when you can make a basket of creamy ricotta and use it in so many ways? This all purpose cheese is just that much better when it’s made from scratch and it only takes a few minutes.
In this recipe, I used a half gallon of 1% milk and added a cup of half and half for richness. However, you can make it much creamier by using whole milk and heavy cream. I think the best choice is to use whatever dairy you have on hand and utilize your groceries already purchased. The only other things needed are a lemon and a some white vinegar. A good strainer and some cheesecloth, make it that much easier to prepare, but you can use some paper towels to line a colander, so you don’t need to go out and purchase any additional equipment.
I just love a good ricotta toast in the morning, or a bowl with a little honey drizzled over the top. One of my favorite things is to whip a cup or so in a mixing bowl, and to spread it on a serving platter, before I place roasted vegetables. Ricotta is a great source of protein and will store in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator to enjoy in so many recipes.
1 gallon low-fat or whole milk
1 cup half & half or heavy cream
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon white vinegar, any variety
pinch of salt
(Makes about 2 cups)
- In a large saucepan, add milk and half & half. Place over medium heat and warm until simmering.
- Add lemon juice and vinegar. Stir until curds begin to float to surface, about 3 minutes.
- Line strainer with cheesecloth or paper towels, set over large bowl. Pour hot liquid into strainer in batches, stirring to push whey (clear liquid) through strainer, leaving cheese curds. Repeat until all cheese has been passed through strainer.
- Using a spoon, push cheese to remove any excess whey and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Wrap up sides of cheesecloth or paper towels over cheese. Dump out any whey in bowl underneath cheese (or find another use, like soaking grains or beans, or adding it to soups or noodles). Place in refrigerator for several hours before using. Enjoy!