In my great attempts to emulate both Little House on the Prairie and every cooking blog alive, I decided to make my own ricotta cheese (because going to the grocery store sounded difficult). But to answer all the questions of “is it really that different?” the answer is yes. I’m now obsessed. It it smooth and creamy and wonderful. And it also went really well on toast with my strawberry jam. Success.
Makes 2 cups
4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Add the ingredients to a 4-quart pot. Bring to a very gentle boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, line a sieve or fine mesh strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a deep bowl or pot.
Once the curds begin to separate from the whey (you’ll see little specks of white bob to the surface), stir gently and set heat to the lowest setting (see NOTE). Cook for 2 more minutes, then remove pot from heat and set on an unlit back burner for at least 30 minutes, and up to one hour. (this will help the curds further develop).
Gently ladle the curds into the cheesecloth-lined strainer (this helps produce a fluffier, creamier curd, than pouring it into the strainer). When all the curds have been spooned into the bowl, pull the cheesecloth up the sides to loosely cover the ricotta in the strainer.
Let sit for 10 minutes to drain (this will yield a very moist ricotta. If using for a cake recipe, you may want to let it drain longer for a drier consistency).
Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
NOTE from Jennie: After making one to two pots of ricotta for a year, I’ve learned it likes to be left alone to produce the highest yield, so resist the temptation to stir it frequently once the curds begin to separate from the whey. One stir is enough, and if you’re curious, you can dip the spoon in the pot once or twice to see how the curds are developing.