How to make ricotta cheese
You’ve just made cheese the traditional way by culturing a gallon or two of milk with mesophilic or thermophilic culture. You’ve heated the curd and then strained the curds into a cloth and pressed out the whey. While you lost some of the whey down the sink, you still have a gallon or more of whey in the cheese pot. It looks too good to throw out. And it is.
Don’t waste that nutritious whey
It’s full of good probiotics right now and can be used to inoculate cultured vegetables or to preserve other foods, including meat or fish, by culturing.
Or you can learn how to make ricotta cheese with it. Ricotta is a soft cheese that is made by heating fresh whey leftover from cheese making, adding an acidifying agent like lemon juice or vinegar, and allowing the milk proteins to precipitate out of the liquid. Making ricotta destroys the probiotics in the whey though and leaves only the milk sugars, so once you’ve finished making ricotta you can pour the cooled whey into your compost pile or feed it to your pigs, if you have them or even use it as a stock for making bone broth.
How to make ricotta cheese
Recipe: Ricotta Cheese
Time: 1 hour
Yield: 2 cups of ricotta cheese
1 gallon of fresh whey, leftover from cheese making
½ c. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
Heat the pail of whey on the stove over medium heat until the whey reaches a temperature of 90C about 185F. Use a cheese making thermometer. Add 1/4 c. lemon juice. Fine curds will form and rise to the top of the whey. Continue heating for 10 minutes, stirring so that curds do not burn nor stick to the bottom. Continue heating for 10 minutes while the curd precipitate out of the milk.
Line a colander with cheese cloth (I use these gauze diapers purchased for cheese making). Pour the whey through the cheese cloth and allow to drain for a few hours or overnight. Once most of the whey is drained out of the ricotta you can speed the process by lifting the edges of the cheese cloth and twisting the top together to form a bag — sort of like a hobo’s pack. Let it drain over night.
You can save the liquid if you place the colander over a clean milk pail. It can be added to soup stock. It is a nourishing animal feed or it can be added to your compost pile. When curds have cooled and drained, mix in salt and refrigerate.
This ricotta cheese can be used in cheese cake recipes, or as a filling for pasta, or in any recipe that calls for cottage cheese or ricotta cheese.
Try making these Maple Cheese Blintzes with Fig and Goji Berry Sauce.
Try this cheese making kit and get started on this facinating fermentation hobby. Grab this recipe book Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Homemade Cheeses.
What cheese do you love that you want to learn how to make? Tell me in the comments and I’ll see if I can find an easy home version.