quart/liter whole milk


cup/125mL heavy cream, (optional)


teaspoon/1.25mL citric acid


teaspoon/1.25mL cheese or kosher salt, (optional)


This will produce about half a pound of cheese. The recipe scales up nicely if you need more. You can substitute 2 tablespoons/30mL freshly squeezed lemon juice for the citric acid but the resulting texture can be a bit more coarse.


As always, sterilize your equipment. The easiest method is to fill the pan youíre using with water, your stainless steel spoon, and your measuring equipment. Bring to a boil and cover for 5 minutes.


Mix everything together in a stainless steel pan. I find itís easier if I put the pan with the milk into a larger pan, then fill the larger pan with water and heat that. When you mix everything together, the milk curdles almost immediately.


Ricotta Start


As the milk heats, it thickens up and looks less lumpy. When the temperature approaches 195°F/91°C the curds start to separate from the whey.


Ricotta 2


Once the temperature is at least 195°F/91°C, but before it reaches 205°F/96°C, remove the pan from the heat and set it aside for 5-15 minutes. The curds will separate fully from the whey.


Ricotta 3


Put a colander into a large bowl and line the colander with dampened butter muslin or three layers of dampened cheesecloth. Gently pour the curds into the colander. Within a few seconds, much of the whey will have drained out, leaving the curds behind. You can let it drain in the colander, or tie the butter muslin closed and hang the cheese until it reaches the consistency you want. It should take 30 minutes or less to drain.


Ricotta 4


Spoon the finished cheese into a sterile container and refrigerate. If you use salt, it will last up to two weeks in the refrigerator or three months in the freezer. If you choose not to salt the cheese, you should use it the same day for the best flavor and texture; it will last three days in the refrigerator. The whey can be used in place of milk in recipes.


This is a great cheese to start with, because itís very easy and forgiving.


Setting Up Your Home Creamery


A simple home creamery requires a few pieces of kitchen equipment. If you donít already have a good, accurate thermometer, get a high quality instant-read thermometer. A good stainless steel 2-quart covered saucepan will be your basic pan; a larger pan is usable but can be difficult to control unless youíre doing larger batches. For measuring, youíll want a 4-cup measuring cup and a good set of measuring spoons. Youíll also want some unbleached cheesecloth on hand, as well as an assortment of jarsĖI

Servings: 1