Homemade Ricotta Help. Only made 1/4 or 1/3 cup.

I tried making homemade ricotta today. I used 4 cups of whole milk (pasteurized), 1/2 tsp of salt, and 3 tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice. I let it drain for 10 minutes in my cheesecloth. It has a great texture and flavor, but it only gave me maybe 1/4 or 1/3 of a cup of product! Did I do something wrong or is that normal?

  • Posted by: Sugar
  • June 26, 2020
  • 1 Comment
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1 Comment

Lori T. June 27, 2020
A few questions so you can get better help. I know you said the milk was pasteurized. Any chance that it may have been UHT? If that's the case, the milk proteins would be too damaged to make cheese at all. If it wasn't, then it could still be damage due to a high temperature, or too long at temp, in the processing. Some companies process higher than others, just not high enough to be UHT labeled. You may have to repeat the recipe using milk from different companies to find a local one that works best. Lemon juice strength varies- more so if it's fresh from the fruit than concentrated in the bottle. This is one case when the bottled concentrate, plain white vinegar, or citric acid crystals will work better and more dependably. Once you stir in your acid, you have to keep an eye on things to see how the coagulation is going. Sometimes, you need a bit more acid to get a good separation of solids from the whey. If you get it all balanced, you should have a pretty clear division, with a clear yellowish/greenish whey, and the creamy curds. Time is not so much the guide, if you dump out too soon, you don't form all the curds you could have. So you end up with less ricotta. If you have trouble getting curd separation, you can return to the simmer, and add a bit more acid - 1 tablespoon per time. Ricotta does mean "re-cooked" after all, so it's not like you are doing anything weird. Simmer and acidulate, then let sit again to set the curds.
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