I know I shouldn’t need to make homemade ricotta as I live in Italy but outside of Italy, it can sometimes be a challenge to find ricotta.
While browsing several websites, I came across a recipe for ricotta and after reading it, I was surprised to see how easy it is to make homemade ricotta.
I have read several recipes and this homemade ricotta recipe from is adapted from The Italian Dish and Giallo Zafferano. I have used some information from both websites for this ricotta recipe. (Note: Although it will be easier to have a candy thermometer, you can still make ricotta without one).
Easy Homemade Ricotta Cheese
1 liter of whole milk
125 ml of heavy cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
a pinch of salt
Note: This makes approximately 250 grams of ricotta. I have halved this recipe but still used 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
1. Pour milk, cream and salt into a pan on medium heat. If you have a thermometer, heat the milk to 185F (85C) . If you don’t have a thermometer, heat it to a rolling boil and it would look like the video below. Make sure you stir it occasionally during this step to keep the milk from scorching the bottom of the pan.
2. Once it has reached 185F(85C) or a rolling boil, add the lemon juice and lower the flame immediately. I lowered the heat to the lowest possible and kept stirring for another 2 minutes. (Note: At this stage, the milk shouldn’t be boiling). It should start to curdle immediately after adding the lemon juice and looks like the video below. After 2 minutes, turn off the heat.
3. Let it cool until it reaches room temperature. However, if you don’t want to wait that long, you can pour it into the colander that’s lined with a cheesecloth right away. I had mine cooled down before pouring into the cheesecloth. This gave me time to line the cheesecloth in a colander over a pot.
4. Some recipes say to let it drain for a couple of hours but I let mine drained for about 5 minutes. I then wrapped the cheesecloth around the ricotta and squeezed out more of the liquid (whey).
However, the next time I make this, I will not squeeze out too much whey because when you leave it in the fridge to cool, it slightly dries up. At that moment, the texture was just right.
5. Since it was still warm, I had to dig in. I had some ricotta with just a drizzle of honey and it was delicious!
It’s really that easy to make homemade ricotta and even though we get good ricotta here in Italy, I will definitely be making more because it tastes so good when it’s just done!
If you live in a place that’s difficult to get ricotta, experiment with this recipe and you will get a real treat. On top of that, you can use it in filled pastas such as ravioli. It’s worth giving it a try!
P.S. Some of you may not have a cheesecloth to make homemade ricotta, here are a few alternatives.