It’s a revelation to think you can make ricotta at home simply by cooking milk and cream, adding a little lemon juice, and letting the result drain in cheesecloth. From pot to plate, it takes under one hour to achieve remarkable flavor and freshness. Keep reading for step-by-step instructions on producing fresh, creamy ricotta in your own kitchen.
Fresh Ricotta Recipe
Fresh ricotta is best the day it’s made but can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to four days. Don’t waste the protein-rich whey that drains out of the ricotta curds. Freeze it in ice-cube trays and use in smoothies, or simply enjoy it as is, poured over ice.
8 cups (1/2 gallon) best-quality whole milk
1 1/2 cups best-quality heavy cream
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons), strained to remove pulp
1. Bring to Temperature
Combine milk, cream, and salt in a 4- to 5-quart pot, and warm mixture over medium-high heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent scorching, until mixture registers 195 degrees on a candy thermometer. It should take about 15 minutes.
Add lemon juice, gently stirring until just combined. Remove pot from heat and let stand 5 minutes. The combination of the acid and the residual heat in the mixture will cause it to coagulate, or curdle — separating into a soft mass (curds) and a cloudy liquid (whey).