Homemade Ricotta.

This is an oldie but goodie I wrote a while ago, so while some of the facts are dated, the content is worth reading.

The Mr. loves to buy milk by the gallon, "just in case", as he puts it. What he means is "just in case I feel like I need to start making protein shakes", but he won't say that because the truth is that sometimes he goes weeks on end without making one, but yet here we are buying milk by the gallon.

I don't drink a lot of milk. I put it in my coffee, I use it in cooking, but I really don't utilize it enough to justify purchasing it by the gallon. Needless to say, I do it to appease the Man. In sticking with his request, I recognized the need to figure out a way to make sure it never went to waste. That is where cheese making came in to play.

I had been wanting to make palak paneer, and to my dismay, a block of paneer can cost a pretty penny. I have no qualms about spending money on food, but when I recognize that it is something that I may be able to easily make, I try to divide and conquer it.
In my search for paneer recipes, I quickly came to the realization, that it is made oh-so similarly to ricotta, which I had never tried to make before, and really had never had an interest in as far a cheeses go. The Mr. once worked at a cheese counter and insisted that ricotta can be ridiculously delicious, when done properly. He preceded to introduce me to a large can of Calabro that I assured him we didn't need, and I instantly fell in love.

Fresh Ricotta is now found on a weekly basis in our home, and there are slight variations you can change to change the texture to it depending on what you are using it for. Below, is my newly discovered creamy Ricotta.

Homemade Ricotta
fine mesh strainer 

5 cups milk (i use whole)
1 cup cream*
3 TB lemon juice

Put the milk, cream and salt (to your liking-start with a tsp or so your first time) in the pot heat to just at a boil, then turn the heat to simmer.

Add the lemon juice, and give it a quick gentle stir.

Let it sit for about 1 minute.

Use a skimmer and strain the curdles into the strainer lined with cheesecloth (which I'm you have discovered is resting on the bowl)

Let it strain for about 1 hour. (and then serve/store)

*Sidenotes: I am constantly running out of cheesecloth, and often don't even use it. It is nice to have especially if you want a drier ricotta because you can squeeze the liquid out of it, but I tend to love a wetter ricotta and so I will just flip it right on to a plate, drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt. ALSO the cream isn't an absolute must. It is however what will make your ricotta creamy, but if you only have 1/2c or none at all, that's okay too, just make sure your proportions of milk to lemon juice is 6cups to 3 TB- using too much acid can make the cheese too crumbly, so here, less really is more. Its really that simple.

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