Homemade Ricotta

by Emily on December 14, 2010 · 6 comments

in Recipes

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Crostini with homemade ricotta, three ways. Honey, radish, roasted red pepper."]Crostini with homemade ricotta, three ways. Honey, radish, roasted red pepper.[/caption] Last week, I introduced you to Rachael Mamane. Mamane and I did the interview over brunch and talked business, the Brooklyn food community and also about what we were cooking up in our own kitchens. As I mused out loud about what to do with a half gallon of buttermilk leftover from Thanksgiving, Mamane rattled off a recipe for ricotta in just a couple of steps. And so, Italian week continues on MOTB. This is easy peasy to make, I promise and it will make you look like a rock star. Having never made my own cheese before, I wrote down these quick and easy steps from Mamane into a note on my iPhone and made it the next day. Homemade Ricotta Ingredients 2 c buttermilk 4 c reg milk 4 c cream Yields 4-5 cups [caption id="attachment_529" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="What the beautiful ricotta looks like when you're done"]What the beautiful ricotta looks like when you're done[/caption] Special Equipment Cheesecloth (Available at most grocery stores. Looks like this.) Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in pan and bring to low simmer for 15 min., being careful to stir the bottom with a rubber spatula so the milk doesn't burn.
  2. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes, undisturbed. Strain out the curds with a slotted spoon or fine-mesh sieve into cheesecloth. Rest cheesecloth in a colander over a bowl and drain curds 15-20 min. Save the leftover liquid (whey) for soups (butternut or chowder).
  3. For even less moisture in the ricotta, suspend curds over a tall stockpot by tying cheesecloth to a spoon lying across top of pot. Let hang for up to another 30 min.
  4. Put fresh ricotta into fridge or directly into your mouth. Keeps refrigerated about 4-6 days.
  • For more photos of each step, visit my Flickr photoset here.
  • Fun fact: As I child I didn't like ricotta, much to the chagrin of anyone making lasagna for me. I made lasagna with cottage cheese in place of the ricotta well into my 20s, and only recently really started to appreciate it.
  • Not ready to try making your own cheese? Pick up some of Brooklyn's semi-famous Salvatore Bklyn ricotta. I love picking it up when I stop by the Brooklyn Flea on the weekends, but now I won't have to!


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  • brett

    Yum! This looks great, and we always seem to have leftover buttermilk for one reason or another, so it’s nice to have something to use it for other than fudge.

    Your note about ricotta and cottage cheese is funny — I’m the exact opposite: hated cottage cheese as a kid, loved ricotta, and now have an increasing affinity for cottage cheese.

    Just a (hard-learned) word about cheesecloth: The kind you find at the grocery stores is usually pretty expensive, falls apart easily, requires multiple layers and is not reusable. Usually you can find reusable, tighter knit cheesecloth at hardware stores or cooking stores, and muslin also works really well where cheesecloth is required, as the tight weave allows you to extract more liquid (works brilliantly in cocktail applications)!

    • http://www.mouthoftheborder.com emilyspearl

      Your comments are always awesome. Thank you!

      So, the cheesecloth pictured actually was about $4, and is
      rewashable/reuseable AND I only used a single layer. So, maybe that’s just a
      better brand than most grocery stores.

      The reason I pointed out that you can buy it at nearly any grocer is because
      that was the barrier of entry to me making cheese or anything requiring
      cheesecloth. I was under the impression it would take a special trip and,
      let’s face it, sometimes I’m too damn lazy.

      I hope once people realize this is a readily find-able item, that they’ll be
      more likely to try this at home!

      • brett

        Coolness. You must have a nice grocery store :) I admit I fall prey to the same trap of laziness far too often, which is one of the reasons my refrigerator isn’t brimming with homemade pastas, cheeses, ice creams, syrups and infusions!

        • http://www.mouthoftheborder.com emilyspearl

          Surprisingly, this is a Met grocery store. Far be it from me to frown
          on it (except for the lack of hormone-free meat).

  • Anonymous

    Ricotta is also my secret ingredient in meatballs/meatloaf/etc. It makes them ridiculously moist and tender. You just reminded me that I have a bunch of leftover buttermilk sitting in the fridge. Sounds like a good afternoon project:-)

    • http://www.mouthoftheborder.com emilyspearl

      I’m determined to find time to make meatballs this weekend, and had planned
      to make another batch of ricotta to go with! And I want to have some if
      you’re making meatballs! I am guessing they are almost as delicious as the
      ones from Brucie. Mmmm.

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