A simple broccoli side that will finally welcome your family into the “Clean Plate Club".…
Fresh Homemade Ricotta Cheese
If you make your own cheese on occasion you can consider it to be “a little something special”. Homemade ricotta is the treat your Sunday suppers absolutely need…and everyone SHOULD know your secret!
***Warning*** If you’re a vegan, severely lactose intolerant or cringe at the sight of unique cooking methods…turn away now. This probably won’t be the recipe for you. Or stay, what does it matter…
As for the rest of us…Are you tired of quickly stopping by the grocery store and snatching up a $2-$3 perfectly packaged, ready to eat, pint of ricotta cheese? Are you looking for pure excitement on a weekend afternoon at home all alone? Are you longing to throw yourself into a lengthy process just to get one simple ingredient for you homemade pasta bakes or stuffed shells? Does watching milk curdle while making a mess in your kitchen inspire you to give up your weekend plans? Well, if you answered yes to any of these questions then boy, do I have the recipe for you!
All jokes aside I really do admit that this is a special recipe. It’s not something you’ll make weekly (unless you want) and it does cost a little more than a regular tub of cheese. It is, however, worth making it for a special occasion or to impress your guest. For me, it was the idea of knowing that I have the ability to craft cheese in my own kitchen…on a Thursday afternoon…while drinking a tallboy…(what a time to be alive).
Trust me when I say that after trying homemade ricotta, you’ll quickly know the difference between store bought and fresh cheese. It’s so good you’ll want to eat it on a piece a bread and call it a day. I say this because I’m not the biggest fan of ricotta but I was hooked after trying this recipe for the first time. I have such a large place in my heart for anyone who makes authentic food fresh and homemade. I wanted to be amongst those special people who could do so.
I visited Di Palo’s Italian market in NYC back in December 2019. Talk about an experience. Just walking in there alone is like Disneyland for an Italian. You’re quickly overwhelmed with the smell, the aged meats dangling over you head and the line of people just trying to get their favorites. I heard from the locals that they were known for making the best lasagna and apparently their own ricotta (or maybe mozzarella) I don’t remember. I was just blown away by how crazy and exciting this place was!
When I got back home to Florida I did some research on making your own cheese. I started with ricotta and boom! A star was born! I was amazed with how simple it was (a little time consuming) but rich and creamy in flavor like no other ricotta I have ever tasted.
You will also need
- cheese cloth
- strainers or sieves
- sieve like spoon or a slotted spoon
- candy/kitchen grade thermometer
I encourage you to try it once or twice. It’s not a healthy recipe by any means but, it does pair really well in a lot of Italian favorites that we can lighten up!
- 1 gallon whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 1 large lemon juiced
- sea salt optional
- lemon zest optional
- Italian herbs optional
- In a large stock pot, add all the milk as well as the cream and bring pot up to medium high heat.
- Carefully stir milk and cream mixture every 2-4 minutes to avoid scorching any liquid to the bottom of the pan until milk reaches 190-200°. Check by using a candy or kitchen grade thermometer.
- Once the milk and cream get to the correct temperature, remove from heat and add vinegar and lemon juice. (Regardless of the combination of lemon juice and/or vinegar, you want add at least 1/3 cup of acid to the warm milk and cream mixture). Gently stir and cover with a kitchen towel.
- Let the milk set aside to curdle for one hour.
- Top a large mixing bowl with a sieve. Place a cheese cloth inside the sieve. After the milk and cream mixture has set for an hour, remove the towel.
- Using a slotted spoon (or a sieve like spoon – recommended), gently scoop curdles from the milk mixture and place into the cheese cloth covered sieve. Do this until you’ve removed most of the curdles from the pot.
- Depending on how loose you prefer your cheese, allow the curds to drain through the cheese cloth for at least 30-40 minutes. If you prefer, you can lightly tie and lightly squeeze more moisture out but a soft and creamy cheese is the best.
- Pour into an airtight container or bowl and allow to cool for 10-15 before storing it in the fridge.