This is a generic recipe for making Ricotta using milk, no whey. Ricotta originated in Italy and is normally made from re-cooked whey, the word “ricotta” means “re-cooked” in Italian. Whey based Ricotta yields little cheese, thus this is normally only reasonable when you have a large amount of whey from making a large amount of cheese.
For times when that isn’t feasible, Ricotta can be directly made from milk, with a significantly higher yield.
Ingredients – Metric
Makes 0.5 to 0.6 pounds depending on type of milk (skim vs whole).
- 3 liters whole or partly skimmed Cow’s Milk.
- 90-140 ml standard 5% acidity white vinegar.
- 5 grams salt.
Ingredients – American
Makes 1.3 to 1.7 pounds depending on type of milk (skim vs whole).
- 1 US gallon whole or partly skimmed Cow’s Milk.
- 4-6 fluid ounces standard 5% acidity white vinegar.
- 1 Teaspoon salt.
- Pour milk into vat (i.e. double boiler stockpot) on stove or directly on lowest heater element.
- Sprinkle salt into milk and stir in thoroughly.
- Warm milk slowly to ~85°C/185°F to (re-)pasteurize, stir slowly so doesn’t catch or have cold areas. Maintain temperature through whole process in stockpot (i.e. turn heat off and on for short intervals as required).
- Trickle and slowly stir in 90 ml/4 ounces of vinegar. If good curd formation and clear translucent whey does not occur after 2-3 minutes, add more vinegar and stir in.
- Using perforated or slotted ladle, start moving the curds from the edge into the middle of the vat so that they flocculate.
- Wait ~15 minutes for curds to de-whey and coagulate.
- With perforated or slotted ladle, ladle curds into one large (i.e. 6″/152 mm diameter) Ricotta draining mold or two small ones on draining board.
- When most of curds out of vat, drained off whey through strainer down sink drain to catch remaining small curds.
- Place in basket and smooth top of curds in hoop.
- Let curds drain until free whey drainage is slow, i.e. 1 hour for fresher lighter taste or for several hours for richer denser and stringer flavour.
- Invert and remove cheese from basket and place on plate in household fridge to set.
- Cheese is ready to be eaten or used in cooking recipes after one night to 10 days in fridge. Cover with bowl if starts to dry out.
- Instead of vinegar, use citric acid or strained lemon or orange juice.
- Adjust salt amount up or down depending on results and personal preference.
- Add cream to milk at start if like creamier Ricotta.
- If adding herbs, mix in bowl with curds before placing in basket, examples are:
- Crushed garlic & herb.
- Crushed garlic & black pepper.
- Diced onion & chive.
- Diced olive.
- Chocolate and sugar.
- If no basket is available, use cheesecloth lined colander.
Tricks & Traps
- Whole milk will require more vinegar to coagulate than 1% milk.
- Watch milk temperature closely when get close to target otherwise you will scorch/burn milk.
- Shelf life of cheese is much less if no salt is added.