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Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Fluffy, rich clouds of freshly made ricotta are so good you’ll want to sit there with a spoon and eat it like ice cream. This ricotta, made from whole milk and cream, is similar in texture and taste to ricotta made from whey. Everyone in your family, from the smallest to the tallest, will be amazed to see the curds form in the pot. And equally amazed when they eat it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon organic whole milk 
  • 2 cups organic heavy cream 
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. organic distilled white vinegar  
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt  

Directions:

Pour the milk and cream into a large, heavy-bottomod nonreactive pot, set over medium-high heat and heat to just below boiling. Stir with a silicone spatula to keep the liquid from scorching. Just before the milk boils, the surface will start to foam and release steam. Check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer and remove the pot from the heat just shy of 185°F.

Add the vinegar and stir for 30 seconds. The curds will form almost immediately. Add the salt and stir for 30 seconds more. Cover the pot with a kitchen towel and let the curds stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

Line a colander with a large square of cheesecloth and place the colander over a large bowl to catch the draining liquid. Using a slotted spoon, gently transfer the curds from the pot to the colander. Let the ricotta drain for about 30 minutes.

Gather the cheesecloth by its corners and twist together to force out the liquid. When the liquid turns from clear to milky and the cheese starts to push through the cheesecloth, it has drained enough.

Remove the ricotta from the cheesecloth and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It’s best when it is very fresh, but it can be saved for up to 1 week.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Family Meals, by Maria Helm Sinskey (Oxmoor House, 2008).