Homemade Ricotta Cheese
This is really the shortcut version of homemade ricotta that I use in a pinch. Authentic ricotta uses the whey from cheesemaking (NOT yogurt whey) as the curdling agent, but since I didn’t have any on hand this time (and sometimes I do, believe it or not), I went with the quick fix of vinegar. The taste and texture of this ricotta is a little bit different from what you find in the store, but don’t worry, the vinegar flavor won’t make it into the ricotta itself.
This procedure is perfect for when you’re planning to cook with your ricotta or mix it with something else, i.e. in lasagna, ravioli, cheesecake, etc. I like it straight, too (or mixed with banana and cocoa powder, mmm!), but not everyone does.
– milk (I use skim): Multiply the amount of ricotta you want by four. For example, if I need 1/3-1/2 cup ricotta, I will use two cups of milk.
– 2-3 tbsp vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
– dash salt
In a pot, heat the milk on low until it reaches 175-180 degrees. Stir constantly to make sure the milk doesn’t scald.
When the milk reaches the correct temperature, remove from heat and whisk in the dash of salt. Next, whisk in 1 tbsp of vinegar at a time until the curds start to separate from the whey. In other words, you’ll see the liquid becoming yellowish and clear, and solid clumps of “cheese” will begin to form:
Cover the pot and let sit for one hour. After an hour, use a slotted spoon to remove the curds from the whey … or just pour the whole pot into a cheesecloth-lined strainer set on top of a bowl:
Let it sit for a few minutes so that most of the moisture drains out. Save the liquid. Again, this is the whey, and it is full of healthy nutrition. I like to freeze it until I need it for baking (I use it in place of the milk in a recipe) or for cooking whole grains.
Congratulations! You are now a cheesemaker.