3 Ingredient Ricotta Cheese Recipe

My children and I are participants of the WIC program which helps mothers and children buy basic groceries when they can’t afford to get them. Each month I get WIC checks that I use for bread, milk, cheese, eggs, etc. It is a wonderful program and has been such a blessing to my little family. Each month they supply us with 6 gallons of milk, 6 gallons! My youngest has recently turned out to be Lactose Intolerant and so I have been wondering what to do with all the extra milk we have in the house.

I started looking online for ideas and stumbled across someone who made their own cheese. Since our local supermarket doesn’t carry rennet, I couldn’t make Mozzarella. I will be though as soon as I get some rennet tablets. I decided I would try my hand at Ricotta cheese instead. A few attempts later and I found a simple way to make this already simple cheese that doesn’t even involve a thermometer.

0907162027bPour 1/2 gallon whole milk into a large pot, mix in 1/2 teaspoon of salt. You can use 2% or white water too (1% or skim), but it doesn’t produce nearly the amount of cheese and you will get a lot more whey.

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Heat the milk slowly until it is just about to boil, make sure to keep stirring it when it starts getting hot so it doesn’t burn at the bottom of the pan. Once it is starting to froth up and is just about to start boiling. Turn off the heat and add 1/2 cup of vinegar straight to the milk.

0907162115Do a quick run through with a spoon just to make sure that it gets to the bottom of the pot but don’t stir it. AT ALL. Let it set for 10-15 minutes while the milk curdles into wispy little white curds. You will be able to see this happening before your eyes, it is really neat. If your milk is not separating DO NOT STIR IT, add 1/4 cup more vinegar.

0907162127aOnce the milk has curdled it will be fully separated into curds (the thick little white clumps) and whey (the yellow liquid that’s left). Using a slotted spoon, lift the curds out of the whey are set them into a cheesecloth lined colander. You can drain the whey into a bowl to pour on your garden later, or let it drain down the sink.

0907162132aOnce the cheese is fully separated, tie the cheesecloth closed, don’t squeeze it or you will squish the curds out, let gravity do the work for you. Tie the cloth to a wooden spoon over a bowl or the drain (I used the faucet in the kitchen and drained into a bowl). Let it rest for an hour or so, until it is no longer dripping whey and feels firm to the touch.

0907162224Untie and open the cheesecloth and you will have a neat little ball of Ricotta cheese right there. Place it into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to a week or freeze it to use later.

0907162225cMy Ricotta Cheese went right into lasagna, then into the freezer for supper next week. I had a little left so I just added a little minced garlic to it and spread it on crackers. I almost made more just so I could keep eating it. It is so good!

Ridiculously Easy Ricotta Cheese Recipe

Cook time 30 minutes
This Ricotta Cheese is so easy that anyone can make it (even me!), with only 2 ingredients and a little time, you can be a cheese-maker too.

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts Whole Milk (1/2 Gallon)
  • 1/2 cup Vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt

Directions

1. Pour the milk and salt into a large pot on the stove, heat slowly until it is just at the point of boiling, stir constantly to keep from scalding to the bottom of the pot
2. Add vinegar to the milk and give it a quick stir to make sure it mixes through
3. Remove from heat and leave it alone for 5-10 minutes, you will see the milk curdling before your eyes
4. If the milk is not curdled all the way through, add another 1/4 cup of vinegar
5. Ladle the curds out of the whey (the yellow liquid that is left) into a cheesecloth covered strainer
6. Left the whey drain off for an hour (I tied mine to the sink faucet to let it strain) until the ball feels firm and is not dripping whey anymore
7. Place in an airtight container and put it in the fridge for up to a week

Note

Make sure you use whole milk, 2% or skim will still work, but you will end up with a lot less cheese and a whole lot more whey.