How to Make Fresh Ricotta Cheese

May 04 2010 - 3:47 PM

Those whoever looked around may have found fresh ricotta hard to find.  Of course, you can get a plastic tub of supermarket ricotta just about anywhere, but the fresh ricotta, and that which is traditionally made of sheep's milk especially, is much harder to find.   Technically, ricotta is not considered cheese, since it is made from the whey by-product as opposed to the milk itself.

Luckily, it's not extremely difficult to make ricotta cheese.  It's as simple as taking whole milk (and perhaps mixing it with cream), squeezing a bit of lemon (roughly a teaspoon or two), putting it on the stove and heating it to 205 degrees, which is just below the boiling point but not allowing the milk to boil.  The milk needs to cool for 15 minutes, followed by straining it through layers of cheesecloth to separate the curds from the whey.

The mixture then needs to be put in the refrigerator (all the while the curds and whey are being strained), which means literally wrapping up the strainer and pot below in plastic wrap.  After roughly an hour or so to cool, all the curds on top of the strainer are now ready for use in salads, pasta, or other uses.