How to make Fresh Ricotta Cheese:
(From chickens in the road)
1 gallon fresh whole milk
1 teaspoon citric acid
1 teaspoon cheese salt
Pour milk into a large stainless steel pot. Add the citric acid and cheese salt. Heat on medium-high until the milk reaches 195 degrees.
It will seem as if it takes a long time to achieve the proper temperature, but you’ll get there in under 30 minutes. (You can’t just stick your heat on high because you’ll scorch the milk–I set my burner right between medium and high). Stir infrequently, just enough to avoid scalding the milk on the bottom of the pan. (I just move the spoon around the bottom of the pot gently every few minutes.)
You’ll notice curds beginning to form on the surface of the pot.
Keep checking the temperature using the dairy thermometer.
By the time it reaches 195 degrees, the milk will have separated into curds and whey.
Isn’t that awesome? You’ll feel as if you’ve performed a magic trick the first time you do it.
Turn off the heat and let the pot sit for about 10 minutes. Cross your fingers the cat doesn’t wake up and eat it when you’re not looking.
After 10 minutes, line your colander with the butter muslin.
Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the curds to the muslin-lined colander.
Look at that! Is that cool or what?
Once all the curds are transferred to the colander……
….tie the muslin together.
Then tie it onto your sink faucet.
Let drain for another 30 minutes, or to desired consistency. (There are numerous uses for all that leftover whey, but that’s a whole ‘nother post!)
When the cheese is finished draining, untie the muslin and transfer the ricotta to a container. In this case, I used two pint-size glass jars. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks, and use as you would with any ricotta–only this is better because you made it. I see Pepperoni Lasagna!
The recipe calls for cheese salt, but I just used non-iodized table salt.
I also used organic milk. The fresher the milk the better. You can use regular milk too. Just don't use ultra-pasteurized milk because it won't make cheese. If you use organic milk, check the container.Some of the big organic milk companies ultra-pasteurize their milk to make it last longer.
Give this cheese a try. You'll be amazed too!