A few months ago, my friend Sawsan from Chef in Disguise challenged the Daring Cooks to make our own cheese. She gave us a few recipes for cheese and at that time I chose to try my hands at making Chèvre. On the side though, I tried to make ricotta as well and I was so impressed with the result, that I have made it many times since then! Being Italian, I think I owe you a little explanation. Technically, this is not ricotta. It is what is known as cagliata, curd in Italian. The real ricotta cheese is more complicated to make and requires you to have made cheese before you start making ricotta as it is made with the whey left over from the production of cheese. Not very practical for me! Besides, to make a reasonable quantity of ricotta, you would need A LOT of whey and I don’t see myself making that much cheese at home. Anyhow, the final result is very good and it tastes just like ricotta… actually, it tastes much better than store bought ricotta. The only real difference is that it has a slightly higher fat content, but I guess you could bring that down by using low fat milk (though I haven’t tried it yet). Note that I said “difference” and not “problem”, as ricotta with a higher fat content does taste creamier and better than the low fat version. When I lived in Milan, I would often buy cheese from a local caseificio (an artisan cheese factory) where you could also see how they make the cheese you buy. I have seen plenty of ricotta and mozzarella making and I used to munch on still warm cheese on my way back home, in my parents car! Even though I am lucky enough to live in a city where I can buy reasonably good ricotta at the stores, nothing can compare with what my tastebuds remember. Nothing but home-made. And this is as close as I can get! You can eat this plain (I love it with bread!) or use it to cook savoury and sweet treats. I use ricotta a lot in my cooking… just run a search on my blog for many ideas and wait for my next post in which I will show you yet another way to use it! Enjoy!
How to make your own Ricotta cheese... too easy not to try it right now!
- 2 lt – 8 cups whole milk homogenized
- 500 ml – 2 cups heavy cream
- ½ tbsp – 9 gms salt
- 75 ml – 5 tbsp white distilled vinegar
Combine the milk, cream and salt in a large pot and stir over medium heat as you bring the temperature up to 85°C – 185°F. This will take about 15-20 minutes.
Add the vinegar all at once and stir for 15 seconds, then stop.
Keep heating the mixture for two more minutes before removing it from the heat.
Let it rest undisturbed for 15 to 20 minutes.
Then remove the floating curds with a slotted spoon and place them to drain in a ricotta mold (or in a colander lined with a cheesecloth).
Place the mold/colander over a bowl in the fridge (make sure the mold does not touch the bottom of the bowl) and let it drain for a couple of hours.
Remove the ricotta from the mold and serve it!
NOTE: The longer you allow the ricotta to drain, the more firm it gets. I got the perfect consistency after just 2 hours, but if you like your ricotta firmer, let it drain a bit longer.
To store it, place it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge.
I have been dreaming of making ricotta forever – really, for a long time… I love the textured look you got from the basket you used to set it in, very professional!
I bet it tastes incredibly good – if I am brave enough I’ll try it this weekend. Thanks for the nudge in the right direction 😉
Frank @Memorie di Angelina says
I remember making ricotta/cagliata only once, a long time ago. It was indeed really easy and a lot of fun, and the result was delicious. Not sure why I haven’t done it since—too lazy, I guess— but you’ve inspired me to take it up again!
As you know, I have been making this Ricotta for some time. It’s just great, however since first time making it I encountered two problems with this receipt –
1. My family does not want to buy cheese!
2. There is never enough of it
I have never made ricotta as per Sawsan’s recipe, using cream. But I have been really tempted since the challenge. Yours looks so amazing! Love the design!
Very cool! Making homemade ricotta isn’t that complicated. I should definitely give it a try! Thank you and thanks to Sawson from Chef in Disguise.
Manu beautiful post and very tempting!
Lizzy (Good Things) says
Your ricotta looks superb, Manuela. I make mine with low fat milk, and have also made it using the leftover whey. Nothing quite like home made!
[email protected] Chef in disguise says
Thank you kindly for the mention. I am really happy you like the ricotta. I love it plain with bread too 🙂 My kids love it with a drizzle of honey and some fruit on top.
P.S. your pictures are breathtaking and I love the new style with bigger pictures. It really allows your pictures to shine
Mi Vida en un Dulce says
I do not make sweet recipes based on ricotta because the one that I can buy here is not so good. One day I tried to make a a cake and at the end didn’t taste as good as I want, but I’m sure was the cheese.
So I think making it at home can solve that problem. I should try.
How long does the ricotta last in the fidge. Once it’s made.
Hi Robyn! About 3 to 5 days depending on your fridge (though mine never lasted 5 days as we always ate it before!)… Keep it in an air tight container. 🙂
First time here, coming from Sawsan’s blog.
I was wondering if you knew if ricotta salata is simply a matter of putting pressure on the cheese as it drains, then maybe storing it in brine to firm it up further. For some reason, I don’t like regular ricotta very much, but I love ricotta salata and would love to be able to make it. 😉
Thanks, very nice post and lovely pictures.
Hi Ruthie! Welcome to MsM! I have never made ricotta salata (though I LOVE it!), but I have been digging around the web.
The ricotta salata that you buy should be made with sheep milk (that’s how it’s usually made in Italy), but apart from that it shouldn’t be hard to make. You need to add 35 g (1.25 oz) of fine sea salt for every kg (2.2 lbs) of ricotta and gently coat the cheese with it. You can do it by putting the salt and the ricotta (shaped like in my pictures) in a white cotton cloth and then moving the cotton around so you don’t touch/break the cheese. When it’s all evenly coated, close the cloth and put it on a plate in the lowest drawer of your fridge. After 12 hours, change the cloth and put it back in the fridge. After 24 hours change the cloth again and put it back in the fridge (do this for 4 or 5 days). Then it’s read to eat, but if you want it hard (to grate on pasta), you should keep it in the fridge longer… just wrap it in baking paper and check it every now and then to see when it’s hard enough to be grated.
I should really try this myself! Let me know if you make it!
Thank you, Manu!
I have the little ricotta baskets so I can make it in that shape, too. Cute, aren’t they?
I think I will try this, but I’ll have to stick with cow’s milk. I live in the California wine country north of San Francisco. There are tons of sheep and goats here, but there are also dozens of cheese makers buying it all up. So, their (the sheep and goats) milk is almost impossible to get.
I will try this method. It may be a couple weeks — our kitchen and pantries are being overhauled, but I will definitely get back to you on how it came out.
The first time I bought it was at a Russian deli on the East Coast. They told me it was feta! It was so mild and not nearly as salty. I bought it there all the time until I moved. When I went looking for it here and described it, it turned out it was actually ricotta salata. So, now I know the right name, and I can give this a try.
Thanks so much. I love your blog, and I’m so glad I found it. Thanks to Sawsan, too. 😉
Can you use lemon juice instead of white vinegar? Or would it taste lemony?
You sure can – same amount! I have used that too and it works just as well! 🙂
therese cimini says
where do u buy the baskets and what about rennet for making cheese? do you know where to buy it