Ever want to make lasagna or cheesecake and just don’t have any ricotta cheese on hand? Now you can make your own!
Technically, this may not be a true ricotta, as the word literally mean “re-cooked” — as in, whey that has been reheated and fermented — but it can be used just like a ricotta cheese. It will have the mild flavor and texture more like store-bought ricotta than like a cottage cheese.
To make 8 oz. of ricotta cheese:
1. Scald 5 cups milk (heat 185 F).
Instant Pot: If you are using an Instant Pot, put your milk in the stainless steel line, turn valve to Venting. Press the Yogurt button, then immediately press the Adjust button, which will change the LED reading Boil; let it heat up, then when it dings, remove the pot to a hotpad.
2. Once the milk is heated, remove pot to a hotpad and stir in about 1/2 tsp. salt, then about 4 Tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice and stir a moment. It should start to coagulate; If not, add about Tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice.
Not sure which to use? Which flavor would be most appropriate for your dish, if an overtone of the flavor were to come through in the dish? Vinegar is probably better for a savory dish, while lemon juice may be a a better choice for dessert.
3. Let it sit about ten minutes; it should be grainy and slightly lumpy. Pour into a cheesecloth or very fine strainer for 15-20 minutes, with a bowl underneath to catch the watery whey that drips through. What’s left is ricotta cheese. Keep the whey for cooking or baking.
The entire process takes under an hour. This photo (above) shows my ricotta after about 15 minutes of straining. This is the consistency I used for my lasagna.
To make a stiffer cheese, I simply patted the completed cheese a bit with a spoon to form a soft lump:
The recipe can be doubled or tripled, but I’d suggest making it in a single batch to get a “feel” for how it works first.
Here’s the lasagna made with this scrumptious cheese….
And another batch….