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Recipe

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Soft cheeses such as ricotta, fromage blanc, and mozzarella are the best choices for beginning cheesemakers because they are so easy to make at home. Try to find fresh milk from a local farmer. If that is not available, be sure to purchase organic milk from your grocer.

  • Yield: About 2 quarts

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon milk
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid (see Notes)
  • 1 teaspoon cheese salt or noniodized plain salt (see Notes)

Directions

  • Pour the milk into a stainless-steel or other nonreactive pot. Add the citric acid and salt, and stir. Heat the milk to 195°F, stirring constantly to avoid scorching.
  • When the curds and whey separate, remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Line a colander with cheesecloth. Ladle the curds gently into the cloth. Tie the cloth to form a bag, and hang it to drain for at least 30 minutes. (Depending on the desired consistency, the cheese could be drained for a longer period of time.)
  • Once it has drained to the desired consistency, the cheese is finished and ready to eat. You can store the cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • Notes: Citric acid is a white powder obtained from the juice of citrus and/or other acidic fruits. It is most commonly used as a flavoring agent, but is also used to aid in coagulation when making soft cheeses. Citric acid is usually available from cheese-making supply houses. Cheese salt is similar to pickling salt and is made of noniodized coarse flakes. Iodine inhibits the growth of starter bacteria and slows the aging process, so using a salt containing iodine would be counterproductive when making cheese. Cheese salt can usually be found from cheese-making supply houses, but if you cannot find it in your area, a good substitute is Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt.