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Homemade ricotta is super creamy, perfectly spicy, and ridiculously easy to make at home. Best of all, it's ready in just 15 minutes. You'll never go back to store-bought ricotta after you've learned how to do it at home!
The most satisfying foods I prepare in my kitchen are generally the simplest. Good crispy bread. Basic soups Simple seasonal salads. A whole roast chicken.
And now I can add cheese to that list, and you can too!
It is surprisingly easy to prepare a variety of simple cheeses at home, and the results are incredibly delicious. So far I have kept the really easy stuff: paneer, fresh cheese, and ricotta. I'd like to try fresh mozzarella, and if that succeeds, I'll go for burrata, too. All the cheese, all the time.
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If you are new to cheese making, homemade ricotta is a great place to start. It is super creamy, perfectly spicy and stupid easy to make. The methodology is simple, the tools are minimal, and the results are what cheese dreams are made of.
Homemade ricotta can be ready in as little as 15 minutes, and the hardest part is putting together enough self-control to share with others. But if you do If you consume a whole batch at once (cough), another round is only 15 minutes away. Then everything is fine.
Tools and ingredients to make homemade ricotta cheese
Most simple cheeses are made with only milk, salt, and acid. The differences come from how hot the milk is heated, what acid it uses (lemon juice and white vinegar are the most common), and how it treats and strains curds.
To make homemade ricotta, you just need a few simple kitchen tools:
the list of ingredients it is even shorter:
- Whole milk (not ultra pasteurized)
- Kosher or sea salt
- Distilled white vinegar
Be picky about your milk! Homemade cheese is a very selective place on what type of milk to use. Buy the best quality you can afford and make sure it's not ultra pasteurized. The super high heat used in ultrapasteurization denatures (also known as "unwinds") the milk proteins, which means that they will not respond adequately to the acid and therefore will not curdle properly or will not. Without rennet = without cheese = sad, sad aspiring cheesemaker.
I like to use local, organic, non-homogenized, minimally pasteurized milk, which I buy from our local cooperative. This handy link lists local milk sources by state. If you're on a tight budget, Trader Joe's sells low-pasteurized organic milk and its prices are a bargain. Check the label and make sure it doesn't say "ultra pasteurized"; if not, you are ready to start.
How to make ricotta cheese step by step
First things first, prepare your gauze to strain. Place four layers of gauze over a fine mesh screen, then nest the screen in a mixing bowl.
Place four cups of milk in a heavy-bottomed pot, then place over medium-high heat. Heat the milk, stirring occasionally to avoid scalding, until the milk just boils and / or reaches a temperature of approximately 170 ° F.
Temperature is important!
The trick to making ricotta perfectly is to heat the milk to the proper temperature. Too hot and you'll end up with a harder curd more suitable for a paneer cheese. Too cold and your curds will be too soft or small. I found 170-175 ° F to be the perfect temperature for soft but substantial curds. Use a digital thermometer if you're nervous about looking him in the eye. Over medium-high heat, it should take 7 to 8 minutes to reach the correct temperature.
As soon as the milk reaches temperature, remove the pot from the heat. Add the salt and white vinegar, stir quickly, then set aside for a few minutes until the curd separates from whey, like the photo above.
Pour the contents of the pot over the prepared cheesecloth and allow the cheese to drain from the whey for 5-15 minutes. Less time will result in creamier cheese, longer will result in thicker, drier cheese.
The photo above is after about 2 minutes. Another minute or two, and it will be perfect to serve hot, alone, drizzled with honey. So good.
This photo is after 5 minutes (me Perfect consistency,). This consistency is perfect for ricotta toast or to decorate fresh pasta.
This photo is after 10 minutes – This is a drier consistency, suitable for dishes where the cheese will be baked, such as lasagna or savory tarts.
Last step – try the cheese for seasoning and consistency. Add more salt if desired, and if you find the cheese to be too firm, add a little whey until it reaches the perfect level of creaminess.
Homemade ricotta will keep in the fridge for about five days, but I think it is best served hot, straight from the cloth.
Tips for making a perfect ricotta cheese
- Do not use ultra pasteurized milk. – curds will not form.
- Stir milk occasionally while heating to avoid scalding.
- Heat the milk to 170-175 ° F for medium soft rennet.
- You can substitute fresh lemon juice for white vinegar, but it must be fresh.
- Strain to desired consistency – as little as 5 minutes for creamy ricotta, up to 15 minutes (or more) for firmer ricotta.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator. in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
How to use homemade ricotta cheese
This ricotta cheese can be used anywhere where store-bought ricotta cheese is used, with the benefit of greater flexibility for consistency. Because you're forcing it yourself, you can aim for a smooth, medium, or firm consistency suitable for a variety of uses:
- Wetter and softer ricotta It is ideal to serve alone, drizzled with honey and garnished with berries as a dessert.
- A medium consistency It is ideal for spreading on toast or flat bread, or to decorate fresh pasta. I'm addicted to ricotta toast and you will be too!
- A drier consistency It is suitable for recipes where ricotta will be baked, such as lasagna or savory tarts (you'll want less moisture so the final recipe doesn't get soggy).
Recipes with ricotta cheese
DID YOU MAKE THIS RICOTTA CHEESE RECIPE MADE AT HOME? I would love to know how it turned out! LEAVE A COMMENT AND A CLASSIFICATION BELOW 👇
Cooking basics: homemade ricotta cheese
Homemade ricotta is super creamy, perfectly spicy, and ridiculously easy to make at home. Best of all, it's ready in just 15 minutes.
Preparation time: 3 minutes.
Cook time: 7 minutes.
Effort time: 5 minutes.
Total time: 15 minutes
- 4 c. organic whole milk, not ultra pasteurized
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to drizzle
- 2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar
- Lay several layers of gauze over a fine mesh strainer, and then place the strainer over a mixing bowl.
- Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and place a thermometer on the side of the pot. Heat the milk, stirring occasionally to avoid burning, until the temperature reaches 170 ° F, 7-8 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat, then add the salt and white vinegar to the milk. Gently stir until a smooth curd forms and completely separates from the whey, 1-2 minutes.
Strain the curds in the cheese cloth lined mesh strainer and then gently shake the curds with a wooden spoon until most of the whey has been drained from the curds. You may need to dump the excess whey out of the bowl if it gets too full. Continue gently stirring the cheese until it reaches the desired consistency (see Notes).
Scrape the ricotta from the cheesecloth into a bowl, try seasoning and sprinkle with extra salt as desired. If ricotta is too thick, add additional whey, one teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Serve warm immediately, or transfer to a covered container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Makes about a cup.
- Do not use ultra pasteurized milk, as it will not curdle.
Notes on temperature: The trick to making ricotta perfectly is to heat the milk to the proper temperature. Too hot and you'll end up with harder curds more suitable for a paneer cheese. Too cold and your curds will be too soft or small. Aim at 170-175 ° F and use a digital thermometer for greater accuracy. Notes on consistency:
- Wet ricotta is ideal to serve alone with a little honey and berries for dessert.
- Medium consistency is ideal for spreading on toast or flatbread
- A drier consistency is suitable for traditional store-bought uses of ricotta, such as lasagna.
Calories: 74kcal (4%), Carbohydrates: 6g (2%), Proteins: 4g (8%), Fats: 4g (6%), Saturated fats: 2g (10%), Polyunsaturated fats: 0g, Monounsaturated fats: 1g , Trans fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 12 mg (4%), Sodium: 272 mg (11%), Potassium: 161 mg (5%), Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 6 g (7%), Vitamin A : 2800% (2800%), Vitamin C: 0%, Calcium: 1380% (1380%), Iron: 0%
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