Homemade Ricotta Cheese

As easy as 1, 2, 3… and better than any ricotta you’d had before. That’s how I’d describe this new discovery. Actually, I’d even say it’s been a revelation to me. First, I love ricotta. I like to have it in my pancakes, in my pasta, with chicken… I also love all ricotta-based Italian pastries (I recently made a point in trying all the ones offered at an Italian pastry shop near my place… They’re all favourites!). So when I found out it was that easy to make my own ricotta at home, I couldn't wait to give it a try.

Then, I wondered if there’s anything that could be done with all the whey I ended up with after the draining process. To push the experience to the next level, I decided to make my own bread using the whey and a mix of white and rye flours. This fresh homemade bread and the ricotta ended up being a heavenly match! I almost couldn’t stop myself from wolfing down the whole thing…

This ricotta cheese, accompanied with fresh bread, is the perfect item to serve as an apéro with a glass of wine and nice olives. It’s also divine for breakfast on toast, with honey drizzled on top…

Yield: 2 cups

8 cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup distilled white vinegar (or lemon juice)

Line a large fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth. Place over a bowl and set aside.

Pour milk, cream and salt in a large saucepan. Set over medium heat until mixture reaches 175oF to 180oF, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and drizzle in vinegar (or lemon juice) while stirring gently. Stop stirring when all vinegar (or lemon juice) is in, and let mixture rest until the milk solids coagulate and float to the surface, leaving the whey underneath, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Gently ladle the solids in the strainer, leaving as much whey as possible in the saucepan. Let the ricotta drain (without pressing on in) until most of the liquids have drained, about an hour. If you want to have a firmer ricotta, just have in drain a little longer.

Remove the ricotta from the cheesecloth and store in the fridge in an airtight container.

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