Why pay upwards of $3 for an 8 ounce container of ricotta cheese at the grocery store, when you can easily make the same cheese at home for a fraction of the price? Making homemade ricotta cheese does not require any special ingredients or equipment, and is relatively simple.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
One gallon whole milk
1 teaspoon Citric Acid (found with the canning supplies) or 1/4 cup vinegar
Place an ice cube in the bottom of a large stock pot, and turn the stove on low. Swish the ice cube around in the bottom of the pot, allowing it to cover the entire bottom of the pot as it melts. (This helps keep the milk at the bottom of the pot from burning).
After the ice has melted, pour the entire gallon of milk into the stock pot, then add the citric acid (or vinegar, if that’s what you’re using). Give the milk a quick stir and set the heat to low. Attach a candy thermometer (I like this one), to the side of the pot and heat the milk until it reaches 200 degrees. (Don’t be alarmed if you hear loud sounds coming from the pan as the milk gets hotter. This is normal.)
Once the mixture reaches 200 degrees, remove it from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cheese curds, and gently place them in a cheesecloth lined strainer.
Once all of the curds have been removed, use an immersion blender or a food processor and blend them until they are silky, the same texture as ricotta cheese you’d find in the store.
Fresh ricotta cheese can be stored in a airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.