That’s right chicas, I made cheese. Myself. In my own kitchen. And it cost less than $10*.
I first saw this recipe for Homemade Ricotta on my Google Reader, and was inspired by how easy it might be. After borrowing my friend Megan’s meat thermometer and figuring out that a grocery store sells cheese cloth (Harris Teeter keeps it in the baking isle with the utensils), I was ready.
First thing I did was pour a quart of whole milk into a pot and heat on a medium-low heat. The meat thermometer rested in the liquid without touching the side or bottom of the pot.You need the milk to heat to 190 degrees, which took about 15 minutes.
While the milk is heating (with casual stirring) go ahead and squeeze your lemons. Because I quartered the recipe, I only used 1/4 cup of lemon juice–although I should have used less than that according to the Serious Eats recipe. I was okay with the excess lemon juice (which eventually became part of the ricotta’s taste) because I’m planning to make a lemon-ricotta pasta with this cheese tomorrow night (tune in!)
Once your milk gets up to 190 degrees (which is almost boiling, but not quite) you want to remove from the heat and add in the lemon juice. It starts to curdle almost immediately, so give it a few stirs and let it sit for five minutes before transferring to the cheesecloth.
My mixture drained for about 30 minutes to drain, but I kept it in the colander for the full hour just in case. When the time was up, it was easy to scoop into a container and store for the night. As I said, my ricotta turned out with a lemon-tinge to it, but it was really refreshing and quite tasty.
*Really, this was pretty inexpensive. I bought 2 lemons, a quart of whole milk, and some cheesecloth, which I have extra. Try it!
Apparently you can use the excess whey to make Whey ricotta, but I think I’ve been adventurous for one night, don’t you think?