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Fresh Ricotta

Fresh ricotta is best the day it's made but can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to four days. Don't waste the protein-rich whey that drains out of the ricotta curds. Freeze it in ice-cube trays and use in smoothies, or simply enjoy it as is, poured over ice.

  • prep: 30 mins
    total time: 45 mins
  • yield: Makes 2 3/4 cups

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Ingredients

  • 8 cups (1/2 gallon) best-quality whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups best-quality heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons), strained to remove pulp

Cook's Note

Fresh ricotta may be an uncomplicated cheese, but it's far from plain. Serve a fluffy mound of it (instead of butter) with bread, or add it to a bowl of pasta. And combined with honey and figs, it yields an all-in-one fruit-and-cheese plate. Brilliant.

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Combine milk, cream, and salt in a 4- to 5-quart pot, and warm mixture over medium-high heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent scorching, until mixture registers 195 degrees on a candy thermometer. It should take about 15 minutes.

  2. Step 2

    Add lemon juice, gently stirring until just combined. Remove pot from heat and let stand 5 minutes. The combination of the acid and the residual heat in the mixture will cause it to coagulate, or curdle -- separating into a soft mass (curds) and a cloudy liquid (whey).

  3. Step 3

    After lining a mesh colander with a triple layer of cheesecloth and placing it inside a deeper, slightly larger bowl, gently pour curds and whey into colander. Let mixture stand, pouring off whey occasionally, until most of whey has drained from still-wet curds, 20 minutes.

  4. Step 4

    Gather up ricotta in cheesecloth and turn it out into a bowl. Serve within a few hours, or refrigerate up to 4 days. For a denser ricotta, which can be preferable for baking, hang it to drain for another hour. Repurpose whey or discard it.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, June 2013

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Reviews (4)

  • 14 Sep, 2013

    Mine didn't curd up with that amount of lemon so I doubled it and it worked.

  • 18 Aug, 2013

    Very easy, very good! My cheese turned out perfectly the first time I made it. Making it again now, a week later, for pizza!

  • 4 Jun, 2013

    This is absolutely wonderful! The best I've ever had. I was raised on ricotta from the Italian deli, and it cant compare to this! I made it for my Mom's birthday for the whole family. I doubled the recipe, and they ate it all! So creamy and delicious.. I hung it a little longer than the recipe says, cause I wanted it a little dryer. But next time I wont because I think creamier is better! This is sooooo good!

  • 2 Jun, 2013

    this looks dangerously easy!