easy, creamy homemade ricotta

I’ve come to realize that homemade is, in almost every instance, better than store-bought.  Sometimes, things take longer, but the time invested is worth it, especially if you enjoy spending it in the kitchen.  I had leftover milk and heavy cream from a batch of vanilla bean ice cream, and noticed a container of buttermilk in the fridge.  Not wanting anything to go to waste, I did some Google-ing, and set my heart on making ricotta cheese.  Best decision I’ve made in a long time.

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There are a bunch of different ricotta recipes out there, but they all use similar ingredients.  I improvised with what I had, and was pleased with the end result.  If you don’t have buttermilk, and are desperate, you can sour milk using fresh lemon juice {place 1 Tbsp lemon juice into a 1 cup measuring cup, top off with milk, stir and let sit for 5 minutes}.  But buttermilk is better.  Without further ado…

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Materials (makes about 2 cups, adapted from In Jennie’s Kitchen & David Lebovitz)

4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 tsp coarse sea salt

NOTE: I’ve also made this recipe using 3 cups milk and 2 cups heavy cream, with all else being the same, and the result was an even creamier ricotta.

 

Protocol
1. Line a fine mesh sieve with a few layers of cheesecloth, and place over a large bowl.  Set aside.

2. Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and bring to a gentle (key word) boil.  The milk solids will begin to separate from the whey (liquid portion) within 20-30 minutes.  Continue to boil for another 5 minutes or so, until you see curdles floating on the top.  No need to stir at any point.

3. Remove from heat, and let sit for 30 minutes.  You can start draining immediately, but I noticed a slightly higher yield if ricotta is allowed to rest.

4. Gently ladle the curdles onto the cheesecloth.  Continue until all the curdles and whey have been transferred.

5. Allow to drain at room temperature for 20-30 minutes (any longer may not yield as creamy of a ricotta).  Pull together the ends of the cheesecloth and slowly squeeze any remaining liquid.  Immediately grab a spoon and taste the warm ricotta.  Then, transfer it to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until use.

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I’d love to tell you how long this will keep in the fridge, but every batch I’ve made so far hasn’t lasted more than two days.  Yes, it’s that good, and I have no shame.  K, thanks.  Bye.

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