Make My Own Cheese? What? Ricotta from Scratch

It’s an amazing thing to make your own cheese. It makes me feel like I’m really making something… not just opening a package or a can… but making food. It’s a thing of wonder.

Also… I was surprised at how absolutely simple this is – and trust me… once you get this down… you will impress your friends.

The recipe below is a lower fat version of ricotta… which means it yields less volume than the full fat version. But it will make about 2.5-3 cups. Be sure to plan on using it right away. It will only last (in the fridge) for a few days because it isn’t packed full of preservatives like your store brand… and you will certainly taste the difference! It’s really hard for me to buy it off the shelf now. TIP: The fresher the milk the longer the shelf life of the cheese. Keep in air tight container.

1 Gal 2% milk
5 cups low-fat buttermilk
3/4 tsp of fine sea salt

Equipment Needed
Large soup pot
cheese cloth (4-5 layers)
candy thermometer

Pour both milks into stock pot and turn to medium heat. Continue cooking until it reaches 170 degrees. Should be 15-20 minutes. gently stir every 5 minutes or so. Be careful not to stir too vigorously or curds will not form.

When the milks reach 170 degrees, curds will have formed at the top. Using a large slotted spoon, gently remove curds (aka milk solids) and place into a cheese cloth-covered strainer and bowl. Let cheese drain in bowl for about 5 minutes. Then, taking the 4 corners of the cloth and bringing them together, rubber band or tie them up… and hang from kitchen faucet. Let drain about 15 minutes. TIP: Don’t toss that whey (the leftover liquids after scooping out the curds)! It is packed with protein – great for smoothies and cooking oatmeal.  You can also cook starches with it (rice, polenta, potatoes). And try watering your tomato plants or other planted veggies and herbs – they will grow like crazy!)

Carefully open the cheese cloth and scrap the fresh ricotta into a mixing bowl. It will be more textured than you’re used to seeing, if you normally have store bought. It should have the consistency of cottage cheese. It will firm up more in the fridge.

Gently stir the sea salt in until throughly mixed. Taste and add more if necessary.

Voila! You have ricotta cheese! Congratulations…

The Perfect Bite
We tasted it straight out of the bowl… while it was still warm… and salty… and tangy… and sweet… and it was probably our favorite thing ever.

The Perfect Pairing
My friend Michele (who acted as Sous Chef on this week’s project) helped me think of all kinds of things to pair this fresh-goodness with. We mixed it with a little homemade salsa and scooped it on a chip. Yep… Delish! We spread the ricotta mousse we’d made for the Zucchini Flutes recipe on a cracker – heaven! We talked about putting it on crustinis and topping with pickled onions or peppers or a tapenade. Can’t wait to try that! Let us know what you come up with… and enjoy!

Did You Know?
Research shows whey protein from dairy foods helps muscle recovery after a bout of exercise. And an easy found source of whey protein can be found in ricotta cheese. More info here.
Ricotta, 1/2 cup (124g) (part skim milk)
Calories: 171
Protein: 14g
Carbohydrate: 6.4g
Total Fat: 10g


6 thoughts on “Make My Own Cheese? What? Ricotta from Scratch

  1. This is great!

    I tried following you on Twitter but your updates are protected.

    Anyway, I'm glad I ran into your site. I'll be back often.


  2. thanks Maria! You just need to request to follow me @DeborahBarnett and I'll approve it. I keep it protected cuz I"ve been getting spam and "sketchy-type" followers (porn & other lovely people like that).

    Thanks for stopping by! Deb

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