Ricotta cheese originated in Italy but many other countries of Europe also have the tradition of making this cheese. Traditionally-made from sheep’s milk and rennet is soft, white, creamy, and slightly grainy cheese and used in numerous delicacies of Italy. Ricotta cheese can be made in two methods, the traditional and modern. Read until the end to know how to make homemade ricotta cheese following these methods.
How To Make Ricotta Cheese: The Modern And Traditional Way
The traditional method also helps us understand what the name of this cheese means. Its literal translation is “re-cooked”, which is also a reminder that it needs to be cooked twice to get the cheese. Around the world, there are several ways ricotta cheese is being made today to satisfy the diverse preferences of people.
In this article, we will not only learn to make ricotta cheese the traditional way but also the modern way. Towards the end you will also know how and where to use this cheese.
1. Modern Way :
Homemade Ricotta Cheese Using Full Cream or Skim Milk:
It’s simple to make, using very few ingredients, and is also a lot cheaper than store-bought.
- 2 liters of whole full cream milk or skim milk. Take note that it won’t give the cheese the same amount of richness.
- A quarter cup of lemon/vinegar. Using rennet is also optional but it is more expensive though.
- Heavy cream (1 cup)
- 1/2 a teaspoon of salt (optional)
- Just boil the milk till 185 F and add lemon juice and stir till it forms curds and the water or whey separates.
- Then all you need to do is drain it through 3 times folded and dampened cheesecloth on a sieve.
- Drain over a bowl to collect the whey. If you want soft cheese, then 1 hour of draining is enough or you can choose the kind of firmness you want by leaving it in between 1-6 hours. After that, it can be served or be used with other ingredients in cooking.
You can also make a homemade ricotta cheese without cream for a lighter version if you please. Just exclude the cream and you will be fine. To make ricotta cheese thicker, just add cream and drain longer. This recipe can last fridge for about 2-3 days. At maximum, 5 days. I can assure you this delicious cheese is going to finish long before it goes bad.
2. Traditional Way :
Authentic Ricotta Cheese Recipe Using Whey
When following a “no-waste” policy at the same time trying to be traditional, then this recipe is sure to attract some attention. Because it’s made from a by-product of other cheeses like mozzarella, cottage cheese, or provolone (differs from country to country) some may say that it is not actually cheese. In fact, the original way ricotta cheese is made is from whey. It might be a tedious lengthy process but it is going to give amazing results.
- Leftover whey from the above recipe. Only fresh whey can be used, about a one-hour-old or 2-hour-old whey.
- Boil it to 190F. It is going to help the protein in the whey to solidify and rise to the top and start sticking together to form a curd.
- A bit of whole milk, for a richer creamier taste, is optional.
- Remove from the heat and let it sit for some time.
- For this recipe, no need to add any acid as there is already some in the whey.
- If it does not curdle, then you can definitely add some acid.
- The rest of the process is the same.
- Drain it through a sieve.
- For a more traditional way, you can also use a ricotta basket.
Savory and Sweet Ricotta Cheese Recipes :
Now as you know how to make ricotta cheese, let’s move on to the topic of best ways to consume this amazing cheese. Here are a few ideas you can try with.
Savory Recipes :
- Five cheese ravioli Pizza.
- Simple or stuffed spinach
- Ricotta pizza Sicilian style
- Lasagna with ricotta cheese
- Ricotta sauce for sautéed vegetables
- Simple tomato sauce pasta with ricotta.
- A savory cheesecake is a delicious modern twist.
Sweet Ricotta Cheese Recipes :
- Ricotta cheesecake,
- Ricotta fruit tart
- A bowl of fresh fruits with ricotta cream
- Honey topped with some nuts
- Almond ricotta cake
- Whipped ricotta on pancakes
Ricotta has such a unique quality, has a mild flavor but can be used in so many recipes. It’s like a missing cherry on top. When you finally made ricotta cheese at home and tasted its flavors, you will find it is so much better than any store-bought cheese. It will surely be a delightful experience having to make it from scratch. Impress your friends by making homemade ricotta and leave them wonderstruck. Here is another bonus recipe on how to make homemade ricotta cheese from my previous post.