I've always loved cheese but never really looked into how it was made until I started cooking on my own. It is such an intriguing process but can be a lot of work, depending on the type of cheese of course. Ricotta to me was one of those Italian cheeses that was kind of pricey and I only bought when I was making lasagna or ravioli. Not anymore. :) It is extremely simple to make your own ricotta at home and the great thing is that there are no chemicals, preservatives or weird ingredients involved. It's high in protein and is fantastic in sweet and savory dishes or all on its own as a snack! I hope you enjoy it! :)
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Makes about 5 cups of cheese
1 gallon whole milk
1/3 cup white distilled vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
Supplies you will need:
Large heavy pot
spatula or wooden spoon
large bowl (larger than the colander)
Heat milk in large heavy pot on medium heat until it starts to bubble around the edges, about 8-10 minutes depending on your stove. Stir often to prevent milk from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Right before the milk comes to a boil, remove from heat add the salt and vinegar and stir. You will start to see little curdles floating on top:
Leave the milk mixture in the pot out at room temperature for at least an hour. Place a large sheet of cheesecloth inside of a colander, making sure that the edges of the cheesecloth are sticking up over the colander. Place the colander on the top rim of a large bowl so the bowl will catch any liquid that drains from the cheese:
Pour the milk mixture into the colander with cheesecloth and let sit for another hour, stirring occasionally with a spatula to help the liquid come out. Interesting Fact: The liquid that you strain is actually whey and can be saved to be added to protein shakes or some people even use it to make bread! The longer you let this sit, the thicker the cheese will be. (I was so excited that I forgot to take a picture of the cheese straining!) Once you have strained the cheese to the consistency of your liking, transfer to a dish or Tupperware and store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
I made a quick and healthy snack here with whole wheat crackers, ricotta cheese, thin apple slices and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. Delicious!
You can also have ricotta cheese for breakfast. I added blueberries, almond slices, toasted coconut, and a light drizzle of agave. YUM!