If you’re anything like I was, you’ve never really thought about making your own cheese. It just seems like one of things that is just too complicated to tackle…and especially in a Tiny Kitchen, it seems even less doable. Ha! That’s what I thought! And truth be told, there are some cheeses that do take some time and have more complicated steps, but when it comes to Ricotta Cheese, it’s easy as can be! You can do this! And it only takes about an hour.If you haven’t had Ricotta Cheese or don’t know what it is, it is a rather mild, slightly sweet cheese that’s great in both sweet and savory dishes. It’s extremely versatile. In fact, several Tiny Kitchen Big Taste recipes call for Ricotta Cheese, including the Four Seasons Vegetable Dip, Spinach Lasagne Roll-ups and Cannoli Stuffed French Toast. This homemade Ricotta will work perfectly in those recipes so definitely try them out!
While Ricotta Cheese is pretty easy to make and the recipe is really straightforward, there are a few things to be aware to ensure the success of this recipe:
– Use a non-aluminum pot: Aluminum can react with the ingredients and you just won’t get the desired result. So, using something like a stainless steel pot or an enamel coated Dutch oven will work perfectly.
– Use raw or pasteurized milk: Do not use ultra-pasteurized milk; you just won’t get the results we’re looking for. Pasteurization is a process that kills bacteria in the milk and there are different levels of pasteurization. Ultra-pasteurized milk is heated to 280°F for two seconds and then chilling it back down quickly. This process will kill just about 100% of the bacteria in the milk. This results in a much longer shelf life, about three-times longer than regular pasteurized milk, which is heated to 161°F for a minimum of 15 seconds. Unfortunately, it’s not great for making cheese.
There is some debate on raw milk and the FDC and CDC strongly encourage people not to drink raw milk as there is a higher level of bacteria in the milk, which could be risky for immune-compromised individuals. You can click on the links above to learn more about the warnings and check out this article that discusses the ongoing debate.
In the video above, I used pasteurized milk and the results were just fine! I’ve made it with raw milk in the past and results were good as well. But, if you are the least bit concerned or especially if you’re immune-compromised, I recommend just sticking with the pasteurized milk variety. There’s no sense risking it.
– Use fresh lemon: I have tried it with both fresh lemon and real lemon juice that you buy in those squeezable containers, and…well, let’s just say the fresh lemon is the only way to go!
– Use non-iodized salt: This is one of those times that you need to use salt that does not contain iodine. Kosher salt works great!
There are a couple of other things to consider:
– Milk to Cream Ratio. Additionally, the measurement of the milk and cream that I used above creates what I think is a really pleasing, great tasting cheese. But feel free to adjust it to your liking. A little more cream produces, in theory, a creamier tasting cheese. I’ve tried it several ways and I think you actually get to a point that although you’re using more cream, the results are negligible, especially if you’ll be using it in another recipe. So I’m all for experimenting, but I say save the extra fat as the ratio above makes a really wonderful Ricotta Cheese.
– What to use the leftover whey for? I don’t know about you, but I just hate wasting things. And the whey that remains is one of those things. Here’s a fun blog that talks about 36 ways to use whey. Let us know if you try any of them out. Some of them are whey cool! (Sorry, I couldn’t result the ridiculous pun.)
Overall, I just love this recipe. It’s pretty simple but extremely satisfying making your own cheese. Plus, making your own homemade cheese definitely has the “Wow Factor.” Who knew that you can make in about an hour and using only one pot? It’s just perfect for the Tiny Kitchen.
I hope you’ll give it a shot and be sure to let us all know how it turned out for you or if you have any tips that might help other Tiny Kitchen readers.
SO WHAT YOU'RE GONNA NEED IS:
- In Enamel-coated Dutch Oven or Large Pot (if using a large pot, make sure it is NOT aluminum), combine Milk (raw or pasteurized; do NOT use Ultra-pasteurized), Cream, and salt. (Note: I like to use 1/4 teaspoon salt when I am not going to strain the cheese as much…this will work great when your using for Cannoli or Vegetable Dips or in Lasagne Roll-ups. I like to use 1/2 teaspoon salt when I am going to strain the cheese a little more (making it drier) to crumble over salads or put on top of pizza.)
- Place Pot on Medium Low Heat and slowly increase the heat to bring up to a boil (Note: It might take upwards of 1/2 hour). Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick to pot.
- While Milk mixture is heating, cut and juice a lemon.
- When Milk Mixture comes to a boil, turn off the heat. Add 2 Tablespoons lemon juice. (You’ll see the whey starting to separate from the curds.)
- Cover pot and remove from stove. Let cool for a few minutes.
- Pour curds and whey into a strainer lined with cheesecloth. You can strain into a bowl and use the whey for other things (See Ricotta Cheese blog at https://tinykitchen.com for some ideas)
- Let strain for upwards of 20-30 minutes, depending on the consistency that you’re looking for.