Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

It's been a while. Since I posted, not since I cooked. I'm still cooking regularly, but the pressures of the beginning of the school year, graduate school and the deadlines of all the baking groups I had signed up for caught up with me. So, for the past month I haven't so much as commented on a food blog.

Tonight I'm attempting to get back into the swing of things, and I'm sharing with you a recipe I hinted at a few months ago but never got around to sharing.

Creamy, homemade ricotta cheese.

It was my first attempt at making cheese. The process disproved all of my assumptions. Making cheese is not expensive, and it doesn't require a lot of special equipment (other than cheese cloth, which couldn't be cheaper). It's the kind of recipe you can be happy with the first time you make it.

The process was simple. Boil some milk, cream and salt. Add lemon juice. Stir twice. Let sit undisturbed, and then drain to the desired consistency. Eat. Eat. Eat. Eat. Eat.

I served the ricotta atop broiled crostini, and I added a layer of roasted tomato confit to top it all of. The combination was perfect (thank you Thomas for the inspiration). My ricotta was a little on the lemony side (I'd use a bit less next time), but the lemon taste paired perfectly with the tomato confit.

Ricotta Cheese
recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Deb suggests three tablespoons of lemon juice, but the lemon taste was quite apparent in the finished ricotta cheese. Next time, I'll try adding a bit less. The recipe yields a cup of ricotta cheese and will keep for three or four days, though I'm sure your ricotta will not last that long!

3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pour milk, cream and salt into a 3-quart saucepan. Attach a thermometer, and heat the milk to 190 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring it occasionally to keep it from scorching. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice. Stir once or twice to combine, gently and slowly. Let the mixture sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.

Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. Let the curds strain for at least an hour. The ricotta was spreadable and my ideal consistency after one hour, but you could let your ricotta sit for longer to yield a firmer texture. The ricotta will firm up a bit more as it cools. Eat the ricotta right away or transfer it to the refrigerator.


  1. Yes, and don't think we didn't notice your absence! This is not to pressure you, just to tell you that you were missed. This recipe looks wonderful, as does the topping! Should I try this? I've never made cheese before, and I could then say I had made cheese!

  2. Aww, thanks Kayte! I've missed it all to. Yes, this ricotta cheese is definitely one to make! So easy, so cheap. Three dollars yields you a really great cup of ricotta cheese. I can't wait to make it again!

  3. That's so interesting about the lemon juice. The recipe I have followed called for 8 cups of milk to 3 Tbs of lemon juice. It's one of my favorites though. I put it in everything! I meant to ask you the other day why I hadn't read anything new. Bon appetit!

  4. Yes we did notice your absence! Soft, fresh cheese are so easy to make at home and so worth it. Homemade mascarpone is divine and if you want to avoid the lemony flavor, try to find some tartaric acid. Homemade goatcheese is really awesome, too, and I find I really like the lemon flavor in it, especially with freshly cracked mixed peppercorns. Now I want to make some cheese!

  5. I've made ricotta a couple of different ways, but this seems the easiest method. It looks so creamy, I'd like to have an endless supply around my kitchen.

  6. An endless supply of ricotta sounds just delightful. I will definitely try it with those freshly cracked mixed peppercorns, and I'll think about how much lemon juice to use as well!

  7. I've made cheese before, but never ricotta. I use it so often I should try making it! You made it look so easy! Glad your back!

  8. The ricotta looks so delicious with the broiled crostini and roasted tomato confit! I always thought that making cheese at home was difficult, but you've changed my mind.

  9. This looks creamy and super delicious. You've made it look super easy. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  10. I would never think to make my own ricotta cheese. Do you think it would work with low fat milk? I've seen low-fat ricotta in the supermarkets.

  11. It might work with low-fat milk, but I haven't come across any recipes for that. I tend to go for the full-fat version, but Deb from Smitten Kitchen said you could definitely scale down the heavy cream without really even noticing. Good luck!