I was so pumped to try my first dairy share this past week! The one thing that I was a bit unsure about in the bag was the whole milk. What do I do with whole milk besides drink it? Good thing Google has some great answers when you type in: What can you make with whole milk?
The thought of making ricotta seemed a bit daunting, but once I read the recipe and gave it a shot it was SO EASY and not to mention delicious. After making it and devouring it all after a couple of days I do not think I can ever go back to store bought.
Recipe adapted from The Kitchn.
What You Need:
3 simple Ingredients:
– 1/2 gallon whole milk, not UHT pasteurized
– 1/3 cup lemon juice , 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar, OR 1/2 teaspoon citric acid
– 1 teaspoon salt, optional
Some Easy Equipment:
– 4-quart pot
– instant read thermometer or candy thermometer
– measuring spoons
– mixing bowl
– slotted spoon
Following the easy recipe below and in no time, you will have some delicious ricotta cheese to enjoy!
Warm the milk to 200°F: Pour the milk into a 4-quart pot and set it over medium heat. Let it warm gradually to 200°F, monitoring the temperature with an instant read thermometer. The milk will get foamy and start to steam; remove it from heat if it starts to boil.
Add the lemon juice and salt: Remove the milk from heat. Pour in the lemon juice or vinegar (or citric acid) and the salt. Stir gently to combine.
Let the milk sit for 10 minutes: Let the pot of milk sit undisturbed for 10 minutes. After this time, the milk should have separated into clumps of milky white curds and thin, watery, yellow-colored whey — dip your slotted spoon into the mix to check. If you still see a lot of un-separated milk, add another tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and wait a few more minutes.
Strain the curds: Set a strainer over a bowl and line the strainer with cheese cloth. Scoop the big curds out of the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the strainer. Pour the remaining curds and the whey through the strainer. (Removing the big curds first helps keep them from splashing and making a mess as you pour.)
Drain the curds for 10 to 60 minutes: Let the ricotta drain for 10 to 60 minutes, depending on how wet or dry you prefer your ricotta. If the ricotta becomes too dry, you can also stir some of the whey back in before using or storing it.
Use or store the ricotta: Fresh ricotta can be used right away or refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week.