I use a lot of ricotta cheese in my kitchen. It’s such a versatile ingredient, perfect for stuffings in pasta (like my cannelloni or ravioli), or for baked sweet treats. Doesn’t taste like much on it’s own, but just beautiful to cook with.
Although ricotta is not an expensive cheese, it is not always easy to find. Not all supermarkets stock it, and it can be a challenge to get hold of on short notice. So I looked up a couple of sources on how to make my own, and I was surprised at how easy it was!
All you need is full cream milk and a few spoons of lemon juice. I also add some salt for a really balanced flavour. I always keep the plastic moulds from store-bought ricotta, so it is easy to create a professional-looking product without having to buy special equipment. Although the yield is not really huge (2 litres of milk would give you about 180g of ricotta), it is truly a satisfying process and the results are fantastic.
My next project might be to make my own mozzarella! Watch this space…
- 2 litres full cream milk
- 5 ml salt (optional)
- 45 ml fresh lemon juice
- Place the milk and salt in a large stainless steel pot and heat to a gentle simmer. While waiting, place a sieve over a large bowl and line it with clean cheesecloth/muslin (for draining the curds later).
- As soon as the milk starts to simmer, add the lemon juice and give it a good stir. Turn down the heat to very low, then wait until the mixture starts to curdle – it will only take a few seconds. (If you don’t have a gass stove, remove the pot from the heat just after it started to boil, then add the lemon juice and stir. Turn down the heat to very low, then return the pot to the heat.)
- Use a slotted spoon or metal mesh spoon (or small sieve) to remove the curds from the pot into the sieve lined with cheesecloth/muslin over a large bowl. Leave to drain for at least 10 minutes, then scoop into a ricotta mould (if you have one). Leave to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. If you don’t have a ricotta mould, just wait until it is well drained, then scoop into a plastic container and refrigerate. The ricotta will continue to release whey (the watery liquid) for another 2 or 3 days. Just discard the liquid.
This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.
Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe.
Photography: Tasha Seccombe.
Styling: Nicola Pretorius & Tasha Seccombe.