Ricotta is the most rewarding easy cheesy recipe you can make. A perfect teaching moment for the kiddos as well. One big learning lesson this grown gal learned was organic milk a big fat no-no. Organic milk is typically UHT (ultra high temperature) processed. Heating the milk at a high temperature is meant to kill bacteria and spores so it can be shelf stable for long periods. I made the mistake of using organic milk to have a quarter of the quantity of ricotta as I should have if I had used fresh milk or regular pasteurized milk. Oh boy, was that disappointing!
I am not one for wasting, and if you read about my case against casein, you will know this whey is too much for me to handle. Whey’t a minute! I’ve found there are several ways to use that leftover whey. The whey is great to supplement and add extra protein to shakes, soups, pancakes, and polenta. It can be used in the fermentation process when culturing vegetables like sauerkraut if you’re into that sorta thing. (I love sauerkraut, it’s the Polish girl in me.)
Instead, I opted to freeze my whey. Yes, whey! Whey mixed with water 1:1 ratio in a spray bottle can be used in the garden to ward off powdery mildew. Now, that is whey cool! (Sorry, I was whey too much on a role.)
Simple Homemade Ricotta
Yield 2 cups
- 4 cups whole milk (NOT organic)
- 2 cups heavy cream (NOT organic)
- 3 tablespoons good white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Prepare a colander or large sieve with two layers of cheesecloth that has been dampened with water. Place the colander propped up on an upside-down coffee mug into a deep bowl. This helps to raise the colander when the ricotta separates from the curds and the leftover whey. Set aside.
Combine milk, cream, and stir in salt into a stainless-steel five qt. pot. Allow the mixture to come to a full boil over medium heat, stirring often.
Turn off the heat but leave on the burner and stir in the vinegar. Let mixture stand for a couple of minutes till curdles form. The whey (milky water) will begin to separate as the curds (cheese) form.
Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth covered colander and allow to drain on the counter for 20 minutes. You can cover the colander with plastic wrap and put in the fridge and continue draining for thicker ricotta or store your leftover whey for other awesome uses.
Once drained, remove cheesecloth and store cheese into a storage container. This recipe will give you about two cups of the creamiest ricotta you’ve ever tasted. Better than store bought I promise. Keeps in refrigerator for up to 5 days.