Recently I’ve been trying my hand at making ricotta. For sure it isn’t difficult, but it does take a bit of patience as you wait for the whey to separate from the curds (And don’t you just immediately think of Little Miss Muffet when you hear those words?). After making a number of types I have settled on the following combo:
2 cups pasteurized but not homogenized whole milk (I use Ronnybrook)
1 cup heavy cream (ditto Ronnybrook)
1½ tablespoons white vinegar
½ teaspoon salt (this is optional)
First line a strainer with 3 layers of moist cheesecloth and set the strainer over a large glass bowl. Then, combine the milk, cream, and salt in a in a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook at a full boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to rest for about 1 minute or just until it separates into visible curds and whey. Using slotted spoon, transfer the curds to the cheesecloth-lined strainer, cover with plastic film, and set aside to drain for about 25 minutes or until the desired consistency is reached. The longer you allow the mixture to drain, the denser the finished cheese. I’ve found that about 1 hour and 15 minutes gets the soft, creamy result that I’m looking for. Transfer to a nonreactive container and store, covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days.
When I reached the mix I liked I shared it with some Italian friends. The Northern Italians didn’t like the salt and the Southern Italians said a bit more salt. I was happy that they both said it was a pretty good facsimile of ricotta from home. Obviously I’m spoiled with my local Ronnybrook products, but I’ll bet you can find a version of delicious non-homogenized milks near your home.
About Ronnybrook Farms products (www.ronnybrook.com): Their milk is pasteurized but not homogenized, so the cream floats to the top. The cream can be spooned off or shaken for the full flavor and benefits of whole milk. I shake for ricotta-making. Ronnybrook heavy cream is 40% cream with flavor like cream bottled by small European dairies. It is not ultra-pasteurized.