Homemade Ricotta Recipe

I had an extra gallon of raw milk this week and since I knew we likely wouldn’t drink all of it, I decided to be a little creative and make ricotta cheese.

Pour a gallon of raw milk (pasteurized whole milk would work too) into a large stockpot.  It doesn’t have to be an exact measurement.  You may also substitute 1-4 cups of cream for part of the milk.

Add 1 T of sea salt and slowly bring it to a boil.

Now you can curdle it a couple of ways.  You can use fresh lemon juice, vinegar, or buttermilk.  If you use buttermilk, go ahead and add it before heating it up, about 1 quart.  If you use lemon juice or vinegar, add 6 T now.  I used freshly squeezed lemon juice, but my research online tells me the other options would work just fine too.  It will separate into curds and whey.  Let it sit on the heat while stirring constantly for 2 minutes or so.

Next comes the fun part, straining!  Line a sieve or colander with multiple layers of cheesecloth.  I used a single package that I bought at the local grocery store in the kitchen gadgets aisle.  Now put your lined colander over a large bowl and pour your curds and whey in.

Let it strain for at least 5 minutes and no more than 1 hour, depending on how wet/dry you like your ricotta.  Don’t try to squeeze excess moisture out of your curds or you will get more or a farmer’s cheese that isn’t so easy to crumble, but might work out well for crackers?  Store your cheese in the fridge in an airtight container.  It should keep for a few days.  I heard you can freeze it as well, but I haven’t tried it.  And the whey… you can use it in baked goods (oh so yummy in bread!), use it to sprout grains and beans, or as a protein boost to your smoothie.

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