Never in a million years would I have guessed how easy it is to make homemade ricotta. I thought you needed special equipment, and fancy things, and that it took days to “form” into cheese. I was very, very wrong. You guys, it takes 15 minutes to make homemade ricotta, and it’s absolutely delicious! I made a half batch the first time just to test it out, and ended up eating most of it straight out of the bowl. Never say never, but I don’t have any plans of buying store bought ever again.
Here’s a list of everything you need: whole milk, buttermilk (or vinegar to make a buttermilk substitute), heavy cream, salt, a large seive, and cheeseclothes. That’s it. I own Cuisinart Set of 3 Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Strainers, CTG-00-3MS and Regency Natural Ultra Fine 100% Cotton Cheesecloth 9 sq.ft and recommend them both.
Start by putting a pot on the stove at medium high heat. Then place your seive in the sink and line it with cheesecloth. I was very precise about this the first time and laid it in there delicately,covering the whole surface. That’s not necessary, just fold it in about 3 layers and place it in the center.
If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a buttermilk substitute by adding 1/2 tbsp of white vinegar, preferably white wine vinegar, to a 1/2 cup of whole milk and mixing together. Let it sit until it starts to curdle. This is a good option if you don’t see yourself using a whole carton of buttermilk, and don’t want to waste it. Or if you forgot to buy it at the store. Been there.
Combine all your ingredients in the pot and bring to a boil. This shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes. You will see the curd, chunky stuff, separate from the whey, cloudy liquid. (Side note, I couldn’t stop thinking about the Little Miss Muffet nursery rhyme when I was making my ricotta, so I finally googled it. Basically Little Miss Muffet was eating cottage cheese. Mystery solved.) The picture below shows what it looks like when it’s done. As soon as it’s reached a rolling boil, you can take the pot off the stove. Use a slotted spoon to scoop out the curds, and place them into your lined strainer. You don’t need to wrap it up or do anything to it, just let it sit and drain off some extra liquid. I only let mine sit for about 5 minutes as I like my ricotta a little wet. If you prefer it dry, just let it drain longer in the sink.
When it’s finished draining, you can add herbs to your ricotta if you wish. I like to add a pinch of parsley, oregano, and basil, and a large pinch of salt. This is how I prepare it for my homemade ricotta fritatta. Mix it all together and you’re done! Homemade ricotta that is cheaper, contains less ingredients, and tastes better than store bought.
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- large pinch of salt
- optional pinch of parsely, oregano, and basil
- Place your strainer in the sink and line 2-3 times with a cheesecloth
- Place a large pot on the stove at medium high heat
- Pour your whole milk, buttermilk, and heavy cream into the pot
- Bring to rolling boil, stirring occasionally as the curds start to separate
- When the mixture has reached a boil and the curds have separated from the whey, use a slotted spoon to place the curds into your lined seive
- Let drain for 5 minutes or longer, depending on how wet you want your ricotta
- When it is the consistency you want, place it in a bowl and stir in salt and optional parsley, oregano, and basil
- Best if served immediately but can be stored in an air tight container for up to 3 days