During our Food Appreciation Sessions, a number of participants were surprised that they could make their own ricotta cheese at home with relatively no effort. It is a very simple process and requires very few tools or ingredients.
2 litres of milk (full fat works best)
juice of 1 lemon
a pinch of salt
some muslin/cheese cloth to collect the ricotta
1. Place the milk in a stainless steel pot with the pinch of salt. Heat on a low temperature until you see small bubbles form on the surface of the milk. DO NOT let it boil.
2. When the scalding temperature is reached (the bubbles) remove from heat and pour the lemon juice into the milk and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. The lemon juice will force the milk fats to join together and create a solid mass.
3. Line a colander with your cloth and place in the sink. Then, simple run a spoon through the solid curds (to break them up) and then gently spoon or pour the pot contents into the muslin/cheese cloth container.
4. Allow the liquid whey to drain away and after 5 or so minutes you have ricotta cheese. If you want firm ricotta cheese then bring the edges of the cloth together and give the curds a gentle squeeze to remove any hidden whey.
- 2 litres of full cream milk will produce approximately 400 grams of ricotta
- 2 litres of low fat milk will produce approximately 250 grams of ricotta
This home-made ricotta is best used for cooking or eaten fresh soon after making.
For traditional ricotta you need access to the whey created as a by product of the traditional cheese making processes and in particular the mozzarella cheese making process. This whey contains high concentrations of very fine milk solids which bind easily when curdled.