Homemade Ricotta

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There isn’t really anything better in the entire world than cheese. Fresh delicious and smooth cheese. Well, maybe one thing is better… being able to make it yourself!

Last week I spent an afternoon making fresh ricotta and running around my apartment yelling CURDS and WHEY all afternoon as the cheese making process was a success. My poor neighbors must think I am a lunatic.

I started my cheese making extravaganza with ricotta because it seems as if its the easiest to make and I had just visited my favorite Italian deli in Santa Monica where I bought fresh ricotta and then proceeded to eat the entire thing in 1 day. So, because I was not able to get back into my car and drive down there again… I made my own. Making your own Ricotta is great because you don’t have to buy any hard to find ingredients… just some quality low pasteurized milk and buttermilk. And because I love you guys so much, I have put together a step by step picture tutorial on how to do it yourself!

Start out by lining a colander with about 5 layers of cheese cloth. Make sure there is enough draping over the edges so it doesn’t fall into the colander later in the process.
In a large heavy bottom pot add 1 gallon of low pasteurized milk (which I bought from my local farm – its pretty much raw milk) and 1 quart of good quality buttermilk. Bring this to around 180 degrees… not quite a simmer. Using a wooden spoon, occasionally stir the mixture to make sure none of the curds are sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once the mixture reaches the desired temperature you will start to see the curds and whey separate. Turn off the heat and let the curds do their work.
Using a mesh spoon, start removing the curds from the pot and placing them into your cheese cloth lined colander. Continue this process until you have removed each precious curd from the pot and all that is left is the whey. Let the curds drain for about 25 minutes.
Once the curds have drained in the colander, gather the ends of the cheese cloth to make a pouch of the curds. Hang it to dry for another 30 minutes. Don’t squeeze the pouch… I know it’s temping but it will harden the curds.
Once drained, remove the curds from the cheese cloth and season with salt. Store in an air tight container or eat it with a spoon right then and there.

And there you have it! Fresh homemade ricotta cheese! This recipe yields about 3 cups of ricotta… which is more than enough for me to develop some fabulous new recipes! I promise to share them once I am done eating at least 1 cup of this with a spoon and a little basil on top!

How to make Homemade Ricotta

Ingredients
  

  • 1 gallon low pasteurized milk
  • 1 quart buttermilk

Instructions
 

  • Start out by lining a colander with about 5 layers of cheese cloth. Make sure there is enough draping over the edges so it doesn’t fall into the colander later in the process.
  • In a large heavy bottom pot add 1 gallon of low pasteurized milk (which I bought from my local farm – its pretty much raw milk) and 1 quart of good quality buttermilk. Bring this to around 180 degrees… not quite a simmer. Using a wooden spoon, occasionally stir the mixture to make sure none of the curds are sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once the mixture reaches the desired temperature you will start to see the curds and whey separate. Turn off the heat and let the curds do their work.
  • Using a mesh spoon, start removing the curds from the pot and placing them into your cheese cloth lined colander. Continue this process until you have removed each precious curd from the pot and all that is left is the whey. Let the curds drain for about 25 minutes.
  • Once the curds have drained in the colander, gather the ends of the cheese cloth to make a pouch of the curds. Hang it to dry for another 30 minutes. Don’t squeeze the pouch… I know it’s temping but it will harden the curds.
  • Once drained, remove the curds from the cheese cloth and season with salt. Store in an air tight container or eat it with a spoon right then and there.

35 Comments

  1. Yum! I just made some lasagne last weekend – now will have to do it this weekend with my own ricotta!! I love the image of the sack hanging over your kitchen faucet!! Is that a hair tie that you used????

  2. Just a question–the recipe says “low pasteurized milk” are you meaning low-fat? Can’t wait to try this!

    1. Polly – I got low pasteurized milk from my local farmers market. You can also use unpasteurized milk if that is easier. You don’t want to you use low fat or fat free milk… whole milk is the way to go!

  3. Wow, thanks Gaby! I had no idea it’s so easy to make ricotta. Just imagine spanakopitta with homemade ricotta cheese!
    Great pictures as usual!

  4. I’m still confused about “low pasteurized milk?” Is this the Altadena brand of unpasteurized milk? Or another brand?

    Thanks.

    1. Queebe – I bought my milk from a local market in Malibu, CA (Vital Zuman Sustainable farms) who brings in raw milk from Organic Pastures in Bakersfield CA. They supply several other areas too. Its basically raw milk, meaning that is hasn’t been boiled up to standards for grocery stores.

  5. Now I’ll have to try this! I tried another ricotta tutorial that used vinegar and milk and my ricotta tasted very strongly of vinegar. And it was too firm. I get a little enthusiastic in the squeezing. Color me impressed!

  6. Oh so THAT’S how you make ricotta cheese! I’ve been giving the “this is our house made ricotta” speech every time I present the little nibble to guests at Mozza, that I never thought to ask HOW we make our house made ricotta. It’s really that easy?

    My god. I am so going to do this. And thanks for the don’t-squeeze-the-cheesecloth tip. You so know I woulda if you hadn’t said anything. 🙂

  7. Homemade cheese!! I will have to try this, it sounds easy enough that I can do it in between my busy schedule! This looks good Gaby, I love the pictures!

    1. Rhonda – low pasteurized milk is pretty much raw milk that I got from a local farm. It hasn’t been boiled which means it can’t be sold in grocery store chains… any local farm will most likely carry it.

    1. Kristian – I have never used my leftover whey, normally I just dispose of it. I heard that you can use it for a soup base thou! You might want to look into that!

  8. Thanks for the photo tutorial! I’m kinda scared to try making my own cheese, but you’ve encouraged me to try it. I’ll have to see if I can find some raw or low pasteurized milk. I’ve looked around for it before, with no luck.

  9. Came over from your entry on TK.

    I’m dying to try this! I’ve only made yogurt cheese before and am ready to experiment!

  10. Easy – yes indeed. Great tutorial – thank you! But what uses might there be for all of the leftover whey? Are there any?

  11. I was about to make the Ricotta out of your cookbook when i decided to look on your site to see if you had pictures. This recipe here is a lot different then the one in your book. Why?

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