Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fresh Ricotta Cheese

straining the curds
Until I happened upon this recipe, it never really occurred to me to make my own homemade fresh ricotta cheese.  But I was intrigued.  Is homemade ricotta really better than store-bought? That was the question. Because if it isn't, then why bother. 

Well, the answer is yes, homemade is better (come on, you knew it would be). It has a creaminess and freshness that sets it apart. Not to mention that you can make it with organic milk and feel really good about it. Plus when you consider how incredibly easy it is to make, why not do it just to say you did?

Makes 1 1/2 cups

8 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1.      Line a colander with cheesecloth; set in sink. Bring milk and salt to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in lemon juice. Let simmer until curds form, 1 to 2 minutes.
2.      Using finely slotted spoon or fine mesh strainer, scoop curds from pan and transfer to the colander. Let drain for 2-3 minutes (curds will still be a little wet).
3.      Transfer curds to a bowl. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Ricotta is best the same day, but can be made 2-3 days ahead. 

adapted from Andrew Carmellini
curds forming
This being my first time and not knowing what to expect, I went way
overboard with the cheesecloth. In my defense, I was just following
the original recipe, which said to use 4 layers. But that's totally
unnecessary (just one is plenty)

I used my fresh ricotta to make a nice ricotta tart with dried-fruit compote.


Elizabeth (Foodie, Formerly Fat) said...

Fantastic! Ricotta is something that I never have on hand and I tend to want to use pretty frequently, especially in the winter. Thanks for showing me how easy it is!

Andria Crowjoy said...

Even better, start by making mozzarella and then use the whey to make ricotta!

Randi said...

I've always wanted to do this. You made it look so doable. Can't wait to see how you use it.

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