There is something heavenly about homemade ricotta cheese. It’s a staple in Italian cooking, and I can see why; ricotta cheese has so many uses in many different recipes. If you’ve ever had or made it you will never want what you buy at the store ever again. It’s special, that’s all that needs to be said. The fact that it’s extraordinarily easy to make is even better.
One of my taste testers said, “It tastes like a cloud with a fantastic flavor. It’s like no other ricotta cheese I’ve ever had.” He then asked for more, the recipe, and if I had some he could take home. I did say it was heavenly, didn’t I?
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pour the milk and cream into a non-reactive pan (stainless steel or enameled cast iron pot). Stir in the salt. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a full boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 1 minute and then turn off the heat. Stir in the lemon juice until curds start to form. Allow the mixture to stand for 5 minutes until it fully curdles. It will separate into two parts (curds) and milky parts (the whey).
Spoon or pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. Occasionally discard the liquid that collects in the bowl. Transfer the strained ricotta to a clean bowl. If needed, scrape away any ricotta cheese that has adhered to the cheesecloth. Discard the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 4 to 5 days, if it lasts that long.
Notes: Make sure you use fresh milk, cream, and lemon juice. It truly makes all the difference. You can use another acid such as a neutral vinegar, but I love what the lemon does in this recipe. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta will become. (I prefer mine on the thicker side.)
I have to say it. You must try this recipe. It is just divine. I know that the ricotta cheese looks so plain, but it’s anything but. If you make it, you must try it with some fresh berries and then tell me if it’s not the best thing you’ve ever had. Now I need to go back to heaven and have some of my homemade ricotta cheese with fresh cut strawberries. 🙂
Stay tuned for a scrumptious recipe where I used this delight in a pasta dish with some of my basic homemade pesto.
Time to eat…
P.S. Take a moment to check out some of the tools I used for this “Homemade Ricotta Cheese” below. 🙂