I found this amazing blog called Bell'alimento and it is lovely, her photography is just stellar. She had posted about making Ricotta cheese and the recipe was so simple that I had to try it for myself. I was so shocked that the first time I tried this it turned out! Here is her recipe with step by step photos of us doing it. The flavor is amazing and much yummier than what we can get in the local grocery stores.
This is milk and cream that we bought at a local wine shop. The dairy is less than two hours from our house and the milk is pasteurized but it is nothing like what you find at the store, this is the kind of stuff you do actually need to shake to mix it all back up. Do you remember needing to do that? This still comes in glass bottles too! Of course there is a dollar deposit on those but doesn't everything taste better out of a glass bottle? In the background is a sieve lined with cheese cloth, our cheese cloth seemed to have rather large holes so I cut two pieces and laid them crossways. Okay that isn't a real word but it's what I did.
In go 8 C. of whole milk. That is one half gallon just so you know before you head to the store.
1 C. heavy whipping cream. Can you see how thick this is?! Honest to goodness real cream.
1/2 tsp. salt needs to be added also.
You will bring this mixture up to a good rolling boil, stir it constently so it doesn't burn. If you haven't smelled burned milk believe me you don't want to.
Next is 3 TBSP. fresh squeeshed lime juice (you can substitute lemon juice if you have to).
Once you are at a good rolling boil throw the lime juice in, reduce heat and stir until mixture curdles. It doesn't take long but stirring is important.
The curdles are very small, much smaller than small curd cottage cheese. It looks very similar to when milk goes bad in a hot car in a sippy cup because you forgot to check to make sure everything was out. It doesn't smell icky though it has a very cheese-like aroma rather pleasant unlike an icky sippy cup.
We didn't have a sieve that was able to be suspended over the bowl so this was our make shift deal. It is a cooling rack over the bowl with the sieve on top.
Leave the cheese to cool and drain for 1 hour. Then place sieve with a clean bowl under it to chill for a minimum of two hours. Once chilled place in an air tight container until ready to use. The author of the blog suggests throwing away the whey produced but with some searching I found that it is good for many things so you may want to check before tossing it.
As a side note: Ricotta actually means "recooked". A traditional Ricotta is made by using the whey of another cheese. This is a whole milk Ricotta that has a much higher yield and is easy to make quickly. This info was found on Wikipedia and for other neat tidbits about Ricotta cheese check it out here.