From topping pizzas and lasagna, to incorporating in classic cannoli and Italian gelato, I will teach you my Ricotta Cheese recipe — a wonderful and versatile blank canvas.
Hi Bold Bakers!
My How to Make Ricotta Cheese recipe is one of my most favorite Bold Baking Basics to date. Who knew making creamy, rich ricotta cheese at home could be so easy? All you need is milk, cream, and some lemon juice to make it!
There are countless sweet and savory recipes this cheese can be used for, too, from topping pizzas and lasagna, to classic cannoli and Italian gelato (and don’t forget — my new 2 Ingredient Pasta Recipe that can be made without a machine!). Ricotta cheese is a wonderful blank canvas and an impressive ingredient to make from scratch! Get ready to show off!
What Food is Ricotta Used For?
This cheese is soft and spreadable making it perfect for flavoring. I like to spike my ricotta with lemon and herbs and dollop it on top of my Homemade Pizza Recipe. The ricotta can just as easily be sweetened with honey or sugar and added to things like cheesecakes and custards. The versatility of this cheese is what makes it so great have on hand. Oh, and my Ricotta Recipe goes really well with my new 2 Ingredient Homemade Pasta (Without a Machine)!
Why Won’t My Ricotta Curdle?
To make the ricotta, you simply bring cream, milk, and salt to a boil then introduce an acid — like lemon juice (or even white vinegar) — to make the mixture curdle. The curds that separate are what become the ricotta cheese and the remaining liquid gets strained away. If your cheese doesn’t curdle right after adding in the lemon juice, be patient and keep on stirring with a wooden spoon.
If after 1 or 2 minutes you only see small grainy bits, go ahead and add more lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time. This extra acid along with the heat will provide you with nice large curdles.
My Ricotta is Too Runny, What Happened?
After the milk and cream mixture is curdled I pour it into a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth. If you don’t have cheesecloth, you can use a thin tea towel instead. The whey will separate from the cheese leaving you the lovely ricotta.
After allowing the ricotta to drain on the countertop for about an hour, I like to bring the cheesecloth and lightly twist it together, closing up the ricotta. This not only brings the cheese into a nice ball shape, but it allows me to ring out any additional liquid that might not have drained off. This is the secret to a smooth, yet thick ricotta. As long as you don’t skip this step, you should not have runny ricotta.
What is Whey?
If you’ve never made cheese before you might not be familiar with whey. Whey is a by-product of cheese making. It is the liquid that remains after separating the curds. It should always be saved and added in place of buttermilk or milk in baking. For this reason, I always save my whey because nothing should go to waste! If you don’t think you will use it straight away then pop it in a labeled tub and into the freezer.
Can You Freeze Ricotta Cheese?
This homemade ricotta can be frozen and used at a later date. To do so, freeze the cheese in an airtight container and just allow to thaw at room temperature before using. However, in my honest opinion, you get the best results when you use it straight away without freezing.
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From topping pizzas and lasagna, to incorporating in classic cannoli and Italian gelato, I will teach you my How to Make Ricotta Cheese recipe.
- 2 quarts (4 pints) whole milk
- 1 cup (8oz/225ml) heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Line a large strainer or sieve with a layer of cheesecloth or thin tea towel. Place the lined sieve over a large bowl, set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat combine the milk, cream and salt.
When the cream and milk mixture comes to a simmer stir in the lemon juice.
Turn the heat down to medium-low and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture curdles. Once fully curdled it should look like watery cottage cheese.
Pour the curdled mixture into the sieve and allow to drain at room temperature for about 1 hour.
After 1 hour, gently squeeze the cheesecloth around the ricotta releasing any excess *whey. Feel free to enjoy this warm at this point of transfer the sieve and bowl to the fridge and allow the ricotta to set and chill until you're ready to use it.
Cover and store the cheese in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Now you have ricotta what do you do with it, well you can put it on pizzas, canolis or you can even pair it with my homemade pasta.
Watch the Recipe Video!
- Save the whey that has drained off the ricotta and use it for baking or cooking in place of milk or buttermilk.
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Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!
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