How to Make Homemade Ricotta Cheese

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Fresh ricotta cheese is easy to make and the taste and texture are superior to the store-bought version. Ricotta cheese is made by cheese mongers from the whey and curds left from making other cheeses. You can simulate this process with milk and cream. The lemon juice helps to form the curdles and salt gives it flavor. A few minutes and a few simple ingredients are all you need to make your own fresh ricotta cheese.

To make ricotta cheese you will need the following ingredients and kitchen equipment:
4 cups whole milk (may substitute low-fat milk)
½ cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1 ½ tablespoon lemon juice
Measuring cup
Measuring spoons
Cheesecloth (a square large enough to cover the colander)

1. Measure out the ingredients. Put the lemon juice in a separate bowl and place it next to the stove so you can reach it while stirring the cheese. Put the colander in the bowl. Lay the piece of cheesecloth in the colander.
2. Put a saucepan on the stove and turn the heat to medium high. Add milk, cream, and salt to the saucepan. Stir the mixture so that it doesn’t scald. A silicone rubber scraper is perfect for this task.
3. When the mixture begins to simmer, then stir in the lemon juice. Turn the heat to medium low. Then let the mixture simmer for 2 minutes, stirring halfway through. They whey and curds should be mostly separated at this point. Take the pan off of the stove.
4. Pour the mixture into the colander. Gather the cheesecloth so that more whey drains through it. Put the cheese in the refrigerator for an hour so they whey can continue to drain off of the cheese.
5. Once the whey has drained from the cheese put it in a container with an airtight lid. Store it in the refrigerator. It will only keep for a couple of days so use it promptly.

The ricotta can be used in lasagna, to make cheesecake, or simply paired with fruit for a great dessert. Learning to make ricotta cheese lets you take control of the food you eat. You know exactly what is in the cheese and you have the option of choosing organic ingredients. Perhaps the best thing about making ricotta cheese is that you have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself.

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