Every food blog and magazine in the world has already talked about how easy it is to make homemade ricotta. These publications also promise that canning is quick and everybody has hand-harvested sea salt, so you know, whatever. But they say it’s foolproof. My acid test for the idea of a foolproof recipe is if I, a fool, can pull it off. And if I, the Burner of Nachos, the Melter of Measuring Cups, the Igniter of Potholders can make homemade ricotta YOU CAN TOO.
The way this works is with a gorgeous chemical reaction that pulls the proteins in milk together and makes them into cheese. Make it with your kids. It’ll blow their minds.
I first stumbled on this by doing something wrong. (Because that’s how I do.) I was making biscuits that called for buttermilk which I never have. The substitution was warm milk and a spoon of vinegar. I nuked the living hell out of the milk and vinegar and stirred it vigorously. My milk was thin and translucent and my spoon was covered in…HOLY CRAP THAT’S CHEESE!
This is actually kind of hard to screw up. It’s my kind of recipe.
I use 2% milk because that’s what I drink; whatever cow milk you have is fine. (Goat milk probably works too but if you have goat milk you probably don’t need me telling you how to make cheese. And I have no godly idea how to make cheese out of almond, soy or coconut milk.) Your ratio here is one cup of milk to a heavy 1/8 teaspoon of table salt or ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt to 1 tablespoon of plain old white vinegar. Multiply as desired. Stir the milk and salt together in a microwaveable container. Add the vinegar and DO NOT STIR. Microwave until the mixture reaches 170 degrees or so in the middle, say 5 minutes.
The curds will separate and rise above the clearer whey. If they don’t, keep heating it. When they do, scoop out the curds with a a large spoon and let them drain in a colander lined with a coffee filter or a fine mesh sieve. After a few minutes when it’s dry enough for you, scrape it up. If you have lots of chunks left in the whey you can pour it back through the filter.
Two cups of milk will give you a cup and a half of whey which is great to use in place of milk in biscuit or waffle recipes. Know what goes great on waffles? Fresh fruit and ricotta. Lucky for you, you’ve just MADE about a half a cup of ricotta.
You. Made cheese.
About the Writer
My name is Kristina, and I’m the brains for better or for worse at www.OnBlank.com. Culinary klutz, type-A lunatic. Always trying to keep my cheese from slipping off my cracker.