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September 29, 2010 / katelynb

Fresh Homemade Ricotta

Q: Why should you make own Ricotta Cheese? Why not just pick up a tub at the grocery?

A: It is astoundingly easy to make and the difference in taste and texture is indescribable!

Fresh Homemade Ricotta
recipe taken from Epicurious

  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Line a large sieve with a layer of heavy-duty (fine-mesh) cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl.

Slowly bring milk, cream, and salt to a rolling boil in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Add lemon juice, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles, about 2 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the lined sieve and let it drain 1 hour. After discarding the liquid, chill the ricotta, covered; it will keep in the refrigerator 2 days.

You will get the richest, smoothest cheese possible.  How does it compare to the tub you find at the grocery?  Homemade ricotta was less watery, much richer,  and very bright white in color instead of tinted with yellow like store bought varieties.  The texture of our ricotta was the biggest difference I saw when comparing the two. Our homemade ricotta had tiny curds when skimmed off in the bowl. When we spread the cheese, the curds broke and spread like butter – not sticky but perfectly smooth.  The tub of ricotta you find in the grocery can tend to be dry and hard to spread. This may have to do with a few things:  the temperature of the ricotta (warm product spreads more easily on lasagna noodles), The percent of milk fat the ricotta contains (mass produced ricotta varieties are available in “fat free” “low fat” and “regular”).

Take the time (10 minutes max!) and taste the difference- you won’t regret it!

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