Growing up on an Arkansas farm, farm-to-table was not a movement; it was a way of life. We grew our vegetables in an extensive garden and raised our meat, too. Canning and freezing the bounty from our garden filled the late summer days. We even churned butter from fresh milk. But make cheese? That would be hard, demanding and above my skill-level. Or, so I thought!
Curiosity led me to do some research on making cheese. I was astounded to find I could make ricotta cheese in about half an hour with ingredients found at any grocery store. With this simple recipe, you can have fresh ricotta for supper tonight. Lasagna, here we come.
Easy Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 16 (1 oz.) servings or 2 cups
- ½ gallon 2 percent or whole milk (can be pasteurized but not UHT: Ultra High Temperature pasteurized)
- ¼ cup vinegar or ¼ cup lemon juice or ½ teaspoon citric acid (found with canning supplies at the grocery store)
- In a large saucepan or pot, warm milk over medium heat until hot and steamy but not boiling. If using cooking thermometer, keep the temperature under 200 degrees F.
- Remove from heat and gently stir in vinegar or lemon juice or citric acid.
- Allow to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, the milk should have separated into white curds and thin yellow-colored whey liquid. If you still have milky-colored liquid, stir in 1 tablespoon more of vinegar or lemon juice or ¼ teaspoon more citric acid.
- Place a strainer lined with cheesecloth over a large pan or bowl. (I use new cloth diapers instead of cheesecloth)
- Pour the whey/curd mixture through strainer.
- Take cheesecloth by the corners and make a bundle.
- Secure cheesecloth bundle corners up with string or a rubber band.
- Hang rubber band on upper cabinet knob until drained to desired consistency for 10 to 60 minutes.
- Remove from cheesecloth.
Optional – Add 1 teaspoon of salt if desired. You can also add 2 tablespoons of heavy cream for a creamier texture.
Use immediately or store in sealed container in refrigerator for up to one week.
Kitchen Tip: Save the yellowy liquid whey in a jar and refrigerate. It is a wonderful replacement for the water or milk in homemade bread, rolls, biscuits, pancakes, etc. It will keep for several weeks if refrigerated.
Arkansas Women Bloggers member Mary Wood is a lifetime lover of words. She hails from the suburbs of Nimrod, Arkansas where she is co-owner and number one stacker of wood in her family’s sawmill. She loves playing in the dirt and raising a zoo-load of animals on their family farm. Her passions include living life with her husband Steve, son Caleb and all-grown-up daughters Rebecca and Rachel and son-in-law Matt. Homeschooling, writing women’s Bible studies, and renovating their home fill up the remainder of her time. She blogs at Run of the Mill Mary.