Photo Credit: Regan Burns Cafiso
Sure, not everyone has a cheese cave for aging cheddar and Brie in their basement, but even us regular folk have a chance to make homemade cheese without extensive home renovations. You can make homemade ricotta with nothing but milk, cream and plain old white vinegar!
Heat whole milk and heavy cream in a large stockpot until it reaches 185, then remove from the heat and stir vinegar and salt into the liquid. The mixture will curdle; let it sit undisturbed for a few minutes to allow the acid to do its work.
Line a colander with cheesecloth or a flour sack towel and carefully pour the curdled milk into the colander. Let it drain to separate the curds and whey, and press and twist the cheesecloth or towel gently to remove any remaining liquid at the end of its draining time. Store the fresh ricotta in the refrigerator for no more than a week.
1 quart whole milk
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1. Place a double layer of rinsed cheesecloth in a sieve or strainer and set over a large bowl.
2. Combine the milk, cream and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to 200 degrees F, stirring occasionally. (If you don’t have a thermometer, milk should have bubbles forming on the surface, but should not be at a simmer.)
3. Turn off the heat, add the vinegar to the pot and let it sit undisturbed for about 2 minutes.
4. Slowly and gently stir the mixture with a wooden spoon for about 1 minute, or until the curds separate from the whey. (To check, fill the spoon with some of it: If there are white curds sitting in cloudy liquid, it is ready.)
5. Strain the curds through the sieve and let drain over the bowl for about 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Serve ricotta on crusty bread with a drizzle of olive oil and cracked black pepper, or use in lasagna, other pasta dishes or cannoli.
WATCH: 3 Surprising Things You Need in Your Pantry