Sunday, February 12, 2012

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Some recipes I undertake simply because I can, not because I can't find a suitable replacement at the market. French bread for example. Most commercial bakery breads will far surpass anything I could create at home. Not so with ricotta cheese. I have yet to find anything as delicious in any market in the United States or Europe.

I feel disproportionately domestic and gourmet for how simple the recipe is. This ricotta is particularly delicious in cannoli, lasagna, ravioli and cannelloni.

yields about 2 1/2-3 cups

Scant 2 quarts whole milk (2 litres)
2 1/2 cups buttermilk (600 millilitres)
Pinch fine sea salt

Supplies: thermometer, cheesecloth (or muslin)

Heat the milk and buttermilk in a heavy stock pot over medium high heat with a thermometer clipped to the side of the pan plunging about two inches below the surface of the liquid.

Meanwhile, line a colander with a few layers of moist cheesecloth.

Stir the milk and buttermilk gently and infrequently as it heats. When the curds and whey begin to separate, at about 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65 Centigrade), stop stirring and allow to cook for another three to five minutes. You'll know when it's done when you place a spoon into the mixture and pull away the top layer of curds to find a yellowish whey beneath. Remove the pan from the heat.

With a slotted spoon, lift the curds gently into the lined colander. Allow to drain into a bowl for about five minutes, then gather the cheesecloth and tie in a loose knot. Tie again onto your kitchen faucet and allow to drain for about 15 minutes, or until the curds no longer drip.

Place the cheese into a bowl and season with sea salt to taste.


  1. Pamela, this looks great! How much ricotta does it end up making?

  2. Great question! Apologies for not mentioning that. The recipe yields about three cups, or 18 ounces of ricotta. I typically end up with less as I cannot resist sneaking several bites as I remove it from the cheesecloth and salt it. Let me know how it turns out for you!