Homemade Ricotta Cheese

My youngest brother is getting married in the spring.  In preparation for the Groom’s family duties, my Mom, sisters and I are beginning the process of scoping out locations for their rehearsal dinner.  Last night, while pouring over menus, venues and prices, I came across my favorite Italian restaurant, Lidia’s.  I love that place.  Everything is made from scratch with fresh ingredients – from their bread to their pasta to their marinara and ricotta cheese…and that’s exactly the reason their food tastes so much better.  

Reading over their menu inspired me to try my own ricotta cheese.  To my surprise, it was really much easier than I ever imagined.  With the exception of cheesecloth and a candy thermometer, you don’t need any special equipment, and in about 90 minutes you’ll have the creamiest, most delicious ricotta cheese you could even imagine.  BETTER than you could imagine.

I realize that it’s much easier to go to the grocery store and buy a tub of ricotta cheese.  It lasts forever in your refrigerator, you can pop open a container of it at 5pm and have dinner on the table at 6pm.  I get it.  It’s easy.  But if you’re a ricotta cheese fanatic, you’ve gotta try this.

Tonight we served ours on some toasted baguette slices drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. The warm bread and the creamy cheese were a fabulous pair – but then I spooned a bit of honey over the top and OH-MY-GOSH it was heavenly.  Warm, crusty bread – smooth, creamy ricotta- sweet, sticky honey…

We may or may not have eaten all of the ricotta.  I may or may not have had bread and ricotta cheese for dinner.

I’ll never tell.

Enjoy this one – you’ll probably never buy ricotta again.

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Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Yield:  Approximately one cup of ricotta cheese
Prep time:  15 minutes ♦ Drain time:  1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:
In a medium, non-reactive saucepan, combine milk, cream and salt.  Using a candy thermometer, heat to 190 degrees, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.  Once it reaches 190 degrees, remove from heat and add lemon juice.  Stir gently a couple of times to combine, then allow to sit undisturbed for five minutes.

Place a strainer lined with a thin towel (or a couple of layers of cheesecloth) over a large bowl.  Slowly pour mixture through the strainer, and allow it to drain for 1-2 hours.  The longer it drains, the drier it will become.  (I usually stop draining right at the hour mark.)

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week (this will depend on the freshness of your milk and cream, so it could be a couple of days or even 10 days or more – use your nose as a freshness guide!)

Enjoy!

Recipe source and inspiration:  Smitten Kitchen

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  • Anonymous

    Oooo…I would love to try this! What exactly is a non-reactive sauce pan? – J Breuer

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11339016761160424069 Erin {Lemon Sugar}

      :) Basically anything but copper or aluminum. Here’s an explanation:

      A nonreactive saucepan is one that is made from stainless steel, glass, or ceramic materials. So are those coated with Teflon. They’re called nonreactive because these materials in contact with the food don’t react with acidic ingredients the way copper and aluminum do. Stainless steel, glass, ceramics and Teflon are highly resistant to chemical attack.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00071730074240565916 Debby Foodiewife

    This does look super easy. I was just trying to remember where I saw this, and then I remembered it was Ina. I’m going to move this to the top of my recipe bucket list. Thanks for sharing this.

  • http://www.bake-online.co.uk Jenny @ BAKE

    yum! I have to have a go at making my own ricotta, I love how fluffy yours looks!

  • Shauna

    Hi there! This sounds yummy and easy to make. I was just wondering how much liquid would be left over and if there was any use for it?
    ~ Shauna

  • Kim

    Can it be made without the heavy cream?