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How to Make Ricotta

By • September 2, 2011 • 11 Comments

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Ricotta

There's a reason cheeses like ricotta get dubbed "farmer's cheese" -- little more than fresh milk and years of know-how goes into making them.

Inspired by Jennifer Perillo's uber-precise recipe for Creamy Homemade Ricotta, in the video below Amanda takes a swifty and dirty stab at this "re-cooked" Italian staple, with a method that uses only lemon juice (see below for Jennifer's perfect recipe, which relies on buttermilk).

Creamy Homemade Ricotta by Jennifer Perillo

Makes 2 cups
  1. Add the ingredients to a 4-quart pot. Bring to a very gentle boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, line a sieve or fine mesh strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a deep bowl or pot.
  2. Once the curds begin to separate from the whey (you'll see little specks of white bob to the surface), stir gently and set heat to the lowest setting (see NOTE). Cook for 2 more minutes, then remove pot from heat and set on an unlit back burner for at least 30 minutes, and up to one hour. (this will help the curds further develop).
  3. Gently ladle the curds into the cheesecloth-lined strainer (this helps produce a fluffier, creamier curd, than pouring it into the strainer). When all the curds have been spooned into the bowl, pull the cheesecloth up the sides to loosely cover the ricotta in the strainer. Let sit for 10 minutes to drain (this will yield a very moist ricotta. If using for a cake recipe, you may want to let it drain longer for a drier consistency).
  4. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  5. NOTE: After making one to two pots of ricotta for a year, I've learned it likes to be left alone to produce the highest yield, so resist the temptation to stir it frequently once the curds begin to separate from the whey. One stir is enough, and if you're curious, you can dip the spoon in the pot once or twice to see how the curds are developing.
  • (Save and print the recipe here.)

    Now that you've braved home-cheesemongering, why not put your work to good use with some end-of-summer tomatoes? Try TheRunawaySpoon's winning Baked Ricotta and Goat Cheese with Cherry Tomatoes.


  • Baked Ricotta and Goat Cheese with Cherry Tomatoes

    This week's video was once again shot and edited by our videographer Elena Parker (who now produces our bi-weekly Dinner & a Movie column as well!).

     

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    Comments (11)

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    Stringio

    9 days ago Alex Txn

    I wonder if we can make this ricotta low fat?

    Pic_1801

    about 3 years ago Cranberry_Lips

    My dad would make ricotta for us when we were little. He always used a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (not many lemons laying around in the Carpathian Mountains). That's how I make it today and it tastes just as sweet as store-bought ricotta cheese.

    Final_wini_head_shot_cropped

    about 3 years ago Wini Moranville

    Oh, good. Now I know what to do with the Chocolate-Balsamic Vinegar I got seduced into buying over the weekend. (The product sounded gimmicky...but it's so good). I'm thinking grilled peaches, ricotta, a drizzle of the chocolate-balsamic. Mmmmm..... Thanks!

    Nog

    about 3 years ago Niknud

    Made this over the weekend. Will never ever ever use store-bought ricotta again! Mixed it up with some parmesan and chopped basil and s&p and made delicious lasagna with Marcella Hazen's tomato sauce. Heavenly!

    Me_in_munich_with_fish

    about 3 years ago petitbleu

    MyGardenersTable: You can also use whey to aid fermentation (think sauerkraut). See Sandor Katz's book, Wild Fermentation, for really great ways to use extra whey.

    Ozoz_profile

    about 3 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

    My first attempt at ricotta 2 months ago was disaster personified - no curds to show for it so I turned the milky cheesey liquid into the base for a rye loaf. Which didn't rise and so was binned. The next morning I awoke to see well-proven dough....in the bin. I was gutted!

    Then I tried using powdered whole milk to make some white cheese curds - that worked a treat but could not be called 'ricotta'. I am so looking forward to trying this, when I have a house (and kitchen), till then......I'll hold on to the thought of great cheese curds!

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    about 3 years ago erinbdm

    Just wanted to add that I've been making this recipe with plain yogurt in place of the buttermilk. I live in Mexico and can't get buttermilk. I always substitute plain yogurt for buttermilk, and it works extremely well in baking. The first time I tried making this ricotta, it occurred to me after I'd dumped the yogurt in, that it might not work. Fortunately for me, it worked beautifully, and has every time since. Thanks so much for the recipe!!

    Smokin_tokyo

    over 2 years ago BoulderGalinTokyo

    Just my worry, thank you for sharing!

    46a45ad9-247f-48c1-a5a5-1975acc94a0b-12

    about 3 years ago MyGardenersTable

    I made ricotta once following the recipe in the NYT cookbook using 1 gallon of milk and it was really as easy and quick as the video shows. The only issue I have is what to do with all that whey? I couldn't get myself to just dump it so I froze it for bread-baking but it was enough for 10 loaves of bread. Now that my whey supply spoiled in a 3-day power outage after the hurricane, I am ready for more whey, so I can make ricotta again!

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    about 3 years ago Helen's All Night Diner

    I just made some last week. Made mozzerella,too. Talk about heavenly lasagna!

    3-bizcard

    about 3 years ago sdebrango

    Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

    I have never made homemade ricotta, this has inspired me to do it. Thanks for posting this!