Homemade ricotta cheese is creamy and tastes much better than the store bought alternative. Store bought ricotta cheese has added preservatives to make it last longer. Ricotta's not hard to make, and unlike mozzarella cheese, doesn't take any special ingredients. All you need is milk, buttermilk and salt.
This recipe makes about 4 cups of fresh ricotta. It can easily be cut in half if you don't need that much. Although, there are so many yummy things to do with ricotta, you may just want to make the whole thing. Ricotta works well in lasagna recipes as well as stuffed shells or manicotti. You can also drizzle a little honey and some berries on top and eat it as a dessert. Ricotta can be served on top of pancakes, english muffins or crepes with a little maple syrup for sweetness.
This recipe comes from Cooking Light Italian. The only thing I changed was to use full fat dairy instead of low fat.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
1 gallon whole milk
5 cups buttermilk
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
Combine milk and buttermilk in a large stockpot. Cook over medium high heat until a thermometer registers 170, stirring occasionally (about 20 minutes). When it reaches 170, stop stirring. The cheese will start to separate from the whey. Keep heating until the temperature reaches 190. Remove from heat.
Drain cheese in a colander lined with damp cheesecloth. Whey will drip out. Reserve this for a later use, such as soaking oats for oatmeal. Let sit for 5 minutes. Gather edges of cheesecloth together and tie to a kitchen faucet or another place where it can drip into a bowl. Let drip for 15 minutes.
Scrape ricotta into a bowl. Stir in salt gently. Cool to room temperature.