I just made the best and easiest fresh ricotta ever. And trust me, when I say easy, it really is. About three years ago, around this time of year, I went to Boston to visit my cousin and her family. I happened to go over mothers day weekend and because she has a stellar husband that watched the kids for her mothers day morning and my kids were back in California, we were able to walk to the cutest nearby cafe ever. When we were there we had some really delectable lattes, but we also had a breakfast of thick sliced toasted brioche, fresh ricotta and raspberry jam. Ever since that day, ricotta has been a treat for me, but I just haven’t been happy with the ricotta I have found in stores. So, I finally decided to make my own. And boy, am I glad I did! This ricotta was such a perfect match for the thick brioche slices and sweet raspberry jam I picked up. So, here is the recipe and the easy way to make it. Plus, a couple pairings, for breakfast and as an appetizer (I loved it so much, I made it as a snack before dinner that night)!
You will want to have all the ingredients on hand before you start. My milk boiled over (oops!) so you want to make sure that you are able to watch your milk and not be running around trying to find your ingredients. Luckily, there is just 4, so it’s not hard!
Pour your milk, cream and salt in a saucepan and slowly bring to a boil. Stir consistently so the milk doesn’t burn. Once the milk boils, bring the heat down to a simmer and add the lemon juice. Stir an additional 2 minutes until the milk begins to curdle. If you lift your spoon it will have white specks or lumps on it. That’s the milk curdling. Most of the time, you don’t want to see that when you cook but in this case, it’s a good thing! Just a tip, if you don’t have lemons, you can substitute white vinegar. The acid in either ingredient will cause the curdling.
Line your bowl with a double layer of cheesecloth. I actually used a bowl lined with a handle-less colander and then lined with the cheesecloth, but that is not necessary. Pour the milk mixture into the cheesecloth lined bowl.
Drain the ricotta for 30 minutes or up to an hour. The longer you drain it, the thicker and dryer it gets. I drained it for 45 minutes this time, but the result was a little dry for my taste (although still incredibly good). Next time, it will just be about 35 minutes.
Serve your fresh homemade ricotta with some delicious sweet raspberry jam on thick slices of toasted brioche. I was in luck this time and was able to get the brioche from Trader Joe’s, but most of the time, I have to go to Whole Foods or a bakery.
Use the ricotta as an appetizer by toasting some banquette slices and spoon the ricotta on top. Drizzle honey over the top, sprinkle some grated lemon and add a basil leaf.
This was so good! I can’t wait to make this again and keep it as a staple in my refrigerator. There are so many recipes that I can add fresh ricotta too that would taste delicious!
Homemade Fresh Ricotta
- 8 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp salt
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
saucepan, cheesecloth, whisk, bowl
Mix whole milk, heavy cream and salt into saucepan. Bring to boil.
Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and add lemon juice.
Stir lemon juice and milk mixture until milk starts to curdle (looks like white clumps or specks on spoon), about 2 minutes.
Line bowl with cheesecloth (double layer). Pour milk into cheesecloth. Let drain for approximately 30-60 minutes. Discard the liquid (whey) as often as necessary. The longer it drains the thicker and dryer the ricotta gets.
Store in refrigerator for up to 4 days.