Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

I have always wanted to make my own ricotta cheese. Now that I have finally made it, I can strike it off my long-list of to do's! There are a few versions with slightly different method of making Ricotta Cheese when I googled from the internet. I've decided to follow the one from David Lebovitz, which can be found here.

Ricotta is an Italian whey cheese and has white, creamy and soft texture. Ricotta is actually not a cheese, but a cheese by-product. Traditional Italian cheese makers originally produced Ricotta from whey left behind from the making of Mozarella and Provolone.  Nowadays, homecooks use whole milk with the mixture of either lemon juice or vinegar to make Ricotta. It  is very easy to make and does not take much effort.  They are very expensive over here in Malaysia, well, almost all the cheeses are! Making your own is quite simple actually, you just need to be a little patient to wait for the curds to drain. What you need are just 5 ingredients, whole milk, whole-milk yoghurt, heavy cream (which is optional), white vinegar and salt. 


Let's get started on the making of Homemade Ricotta Cheese :

You need to have a cheesecloth to drain the curd. I do not have one YET, so I have used a muslin cloth, which I found out, is really not suitable for draining the curd (I've got to get one of those cheesecloth!). The muslin cloth does a slow job of draining the curds. Before you start to mix the ingredients for the cheese, prepare a big strainer (or a drainer pot), set over a bigger pot or deep bowl, with the cheesecloth over it. Make sure the strainer does not sit at the bottom of the pot, so that the cheese do not sit in its own whey when the whey is being collected in the pot.


This recipe has given the option of using heavy cream. I have read that heavy cream gives a creamier and smoother cheese, so I have used that since I have a balance of almost 3/4 cup and got to use that up as soon as possible before it goes to waste.

Mix all the ingredients together and let it come to slow boil over low heat. Let it boil for about 2 minutes. You can see curds beginning to form over the top of the mixture. Turn off heat, let mixture sit for about 10 minutes. You will be able to see more curds now. (refer photos above).


Scoop the curds gently with a big ladle and place on the cheesecloth over the drainer. Leave to drain. Mine took about 2-1/2 hours. Gather the cheesecloth around the curds and squeeze gently to extract any excess liquid. If liquid is clear, continue to squeeze gently, stop when liquid has turned cloudy.


Scoop out the ricotta cheese and store in a container, you may serve immediately or keep in the fridge for a couple of days. Mine has a soft set, it will thicken further when refrigerated. For a firmer set, drain the curds longer or even overnight.


A scoop of Homemade Ricotta Cheese, it has thicken further after overnight in the refrigerator.



The whey that was collected in the pot, it can be used for bread making, in pancakes, waffles and other bakes. You may discard the whey, but why waste it? As from what I've read from the internet, the whey can be frozen, however it is not advisable to re-freeze any leftovers once defrosted. The whey can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week, and in the freezer for longer storage.

I've read that Ricotta can be frozen for up to 6 months, and defrost slowly in the refrigerator before using. Other sources that I've read from, states that it is not advisable to freeze Ricotta as the fats will separate when thawed. I have no way to find this out, as I have used up all of my Homemade Ricotta within three days. Maybe on my next batch, I'll try to freeze some and find out for myself!

I have used my Homemade Ricotta Cheese for some yummy recipes, posts coming up soon!



Homemade Ricotta Cheese
(source from Simply Recipes, recipe courtesy from David Lebovitz)
Makes : 2 cups
2 quarts whole milk
1 cup plain whole-milk yoghurt (I use homemade yoghurt)
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
2 teaspoons white vinegar (I use distilled vinegar)
1 teaspoon salt

  1. In a large pot, bring the milk, yoghurt, heavy cream (if using), vinegar, and salt to a boil. Very gently boil for one to two minutes, until the milk is curdled.
  2. Meanwhile, line a strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and set it over a deep bowl.
  3. Pour the milk mixture into the strainer and let drain for 15 minutes. Gather the cheesecloth around the curds and squeeze gently to extract any excess liquid.  (Mine took about 2-1/2 hours to drain)
Storage : Homemade ricotta is best served slightly warm, although it can be refrigerated for up to three days, if desired.


34 comments:

  1. Joyce, you even can make your own ricotta cheese? *Thumb up*.
    Will wait and see what you made with your home-made ricotta cheese...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Joyce
    I loves ricotta cheese alot too after I have learned to make this at home. I love it on my toast....taste real yummy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Another one on my to-do list :D Ricotta in your side of the world is really steep ?

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  4. Hi Joyce, you are right about the ricotta being expensive in KL! I also have this on my to try list..... do u know where can get cheese cloth??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Yen,
      I have not found any yet! Will try to look for it soon, and will let you know if I managed to get any!

      Delete
  5. Wonderful!
    I grew up in Italy, and making ricotta and mozzarella was a regular ritual in my house. Thanks.

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  6. Hi Joyce! Well done!

    Are you going to attempt making Mozzarella or Burrata new? Plsssss.. :D

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    Replies
    1. Hi Alvin,
      Yup, mozzarella is on my list too, it's just that I am unable to get one of the ingredients for making this cheese. My search is not over yet! I can order it from online store that supplies cheese making ingredients, but it is really, really expensive, not in my budget! Will try to look for it first, otherwise, we'll see!

      Delete
  7. Just wow,homemade ricotta cheese,well done Joyce.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Joyce, I don't know how is cheesecloth looks like, next time you show me after buying it, ok? This ricotta cheese looks fantastic! So, what are you going to do with the cheese & whey? Oh, b4 I forgot, long long time ago, I read a different recipe which I think also making ricotta cheese, it is suggested to use coffee filter, made in paper which you can get from Daiso. They come in different sizes & I bought the biggest size one, well, may be nearly a year ago but I still haven't used them. At that time, I was also thinking to homemade cheese. Somehow, this coffee filter can only fit in a small amount of cheese mixture. You may need a few bowls with a few coffee filters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jessie,
      Yes, will show you the cheesecloth when I get it! Keeping my fingers crossed! I have read that nylon fabric can be used too, will have to find out more info on that. Coffee filter is too small and too troublesome to have so many bowls around! I think the coffee filter and the muslin cloth that I used has more or less the same texture, so it would not be so effective. Cheesecloth has got more open weave. Will be going to a few places this weekend to look for it!

      Delete
  9. Hi Joyce, I also want to try to make my own someday. Yours looks so good and you make it look easy. Wonder where I can buy cheese cloth?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mich,
      I have not bought any yet! Will let you know as soon as I can find it!

      Delete
  10. Wonderful! Thanks for the tutorial. shall we all come together and order the cheesecloth online or something?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Emily,
      You're welcome! Let me look for it locally first, then we'll see whether to order it from online!

      Delete
  11. Now wouldn't this make my lasagna even better? I have wanted to make ricotta cheese for a long time too. Thank you for inspiring me to do it sooner rather than later!

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    Replies
    1. I love lasagna but ricotta cheese is really expensive. Now I can make this and saves lots of $$. Thanks for the recipe.

      Delete
  12. Thanks for sharing this useful recipe with everyone. Great job, there.

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    ReplyDelete
  13. Joyce, you are amazing! This is great, I bet it's delicious. Thanks for the tutorial!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow! You've made your own ricotta cheese! Well done Joyce! Looking forward for your yummy ricotta recipes! ;)

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  15. I don't think I have the patient to make own ricotta cheese. Nice tutorial you have. Definitely will refer once I ready to make my own cheese.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Joyce,
    Ricotta cheese is indeed expensive in my place. A tub will cost 20++
    Making this ricotta cheese looks a bit like making tofu. I would love to try your recipe to make my own ricotta cheese too.
    Do you think the cheese cloth is something like those used to wrap tofu? It's a kind of thin fabric with more open weave compare to muslin. I used this fabric to wrap my soy milk curd to drain water out of the curd to make into tofu...
    Thank for sharing such wonderful homemade:)
    mui

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Doreen,
      It sounds like cheese cloth to me. If you find it useful to drain the soy milk curd,then I think that it would work for the making of ricotta too. Make half a recipe and try, let me know if it is a success for you!

      Delete
  17. hello joyce, i've never tasted ricotta cheese before. I've used cloth baby diapers to make greek yogurt long ago, i think that's okay..not sure if that's muslin cloth or what:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lena,
      I did thought of cloth cotton diapers but am wondering whether are these safe for food. I googled for some info on diapers a few days ago, and could not find info that is of much help! I think that I'll able to get some cheese cloth, will look for it over the weekend.

      Delete
  18. Joyce, I salute you! I always admire people who make an effort to make their own stuff at home.

    ReplyDelete
  19. So rajin..next time you make, make some for me... kakakkaka learn to make mascapone cheese la.

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  20. For those looking for cheese cloth, you can try local chinese medicine shops - they have these clothes for bak kut teh which you can use if you fold them over a few times. I've also used those more opaque "socks" which drink sellers use to brew coffee. those work fine too!

    Just a q joyce, have you tried using your frozen ricotta yet? how did they turn out?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Janine,
      I've bought the cheesecloth last Saturday, have not used it yet. I have not tried freezing the ricotta, the batch I made, was used up within 3 days. The next time when I have "experimented" with frozen ricotta, would be glad to let you know!
      Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend!

      Delete
  21. Every body
    Here in Canada cheese cloth is sold at Canadian Tire stores $3.99
    Any place that sells canning supplies should carry it.

    ReplyDelete
  22. hi,
    where do you buy the muslin cloth?

    ReplyDelete

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