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Ricotta

This ricotta recipe is amazing because you can control the texture and flavor so easily by adding a little extra whey, or another pinch of salt. I love using this as a spread for focaccia or with lasagne. Before I catch hate, yes, technically isn't the proper way to make an OG ricotta. But if we get into all that, we'll be down the sweet vs. acid whey rabbit hole all day, and that's just far too pedantic for something as delightfully approachable as this cheese.

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Yield

1 lb

Time

About 1 hour total (45 min active)

Ingredients

120 mlAcid (distilled white vinegar or lemon juice)1 GallonWhole milkto tasteSalt

Instructions

1Denature
1 GallonWhole milk

Heat milk, stirring constantly in a large pot over medium-low flame until the temperature reads 190° F (88°C) If you don’t have a thermometer this can be done by heating until the milk smells like warm tapioca pudding and begins to boil.

2Add Acid
120 mlAcid

Once your milk has reached the denaturing temperature, (190°F/88°C) turn off your heat, continue stirring and slowly add your distilled white vinegar or lemon juice.

When curds begin to appear and whey looks bright yellow or green with little clouding, stop adding your acid.

Give the mixture a final stir and allow the curds to rest on the stove for 5 minutes.

3Strain

While resting, set up your straining area by placing a colander inside a bowl large enough to contain your excess whey. Place your cheese cloth inside the colander with ends draping over the sides.

After the 5 minute rest, pour your whey and curds into your prepared cheese cloth. Allow the curds to strain for 60 minutes at room temperature.

4Salt
to tasteSalt

After 60 minutes, sprinkle salt on the remaining curds and give it a quick stir to incorporate. Taste. If you need more salt, add gradually, stirring in between until you reach a flavor you’re happy with.

5Store
If you have excess whey, avoid putting it down your drain and simply discard in a garden or feed to a tree outside. Leftover whey is extremely nutrient rich and while plants love it, if whey ends up in rivers or lakes it can quickly create algal blooms that reduce oxygen in the water, killing fish and other aquatic life.
about a cupLeftover Whey

Once you’ve reached a flavor you’re happy with, dump the curds into the container you’ll be storing in.

If your ricotta is dry and crumpling, add some of your leftover whey to your container, stir and adjust until you have a soft, moist texture.

Either serve right away or keep in a container in your fridge for up to 7 days.