THINGS I LIKE: Homemade Ricotta

I have always liked Ricotta cheese and have used it in lasagna, eggplant roll-ups, as a filling with chopped spinach in ravioli and as an addition to tomato sauce to give it a creamy consistency.  However, I always used store bought Ricotta. Recently. I have been interested in making my own Ricotta and have researched it on line. I and that numerous recipes are available to follow. have found that it is simple to make. All recipes  essentially call for the same ingredients; milk of some sort, salt and an acidic product; lemon juice,  lime juice or white vinegar.Some call for cream or buttermilk, as well,  but I prefer the most simple recipes using only milk, salt and acid. The recipe I  found that was simple, satisfying and totally delicious  was a recipe by Vivian Banquet Farre*. She gives a very well presented primer on ricotta and details of  her preparation ( with pictures) which ) I  recommend for those of you who want more than just a recipe. I present her recipe  below, with very minor changes made to fit my taste.

NOTE: This cheese is not TRUE ricotta.  TRUE ricotta is made using the whey  from other cheese making, frequently Mozzarella, where the whey containing left over proteins is acidified and reheated to near boiling (recooked; ricotta in Italian). This denatures the whey proteins and allows them to precipitate out as curds, which are then separated by passing through a fine cloth or cheese cloth lined sieve. While the following recipe includes the same procedures, as are used in making TRUE ricotta, we do not use leftover whey from the making of other cheese but fresh milk. However, the product is similar enough to TRUE ricotta that it can be substituted for it in any recipe calling for ricotta.

                               HOME MADE RICOTTA*

INGREDIENTS
4 C whole milk
1/2 tsp sea salt (I use Kosher and use 3/4 tsp)
3 Tbsp acidic liquid: distilled vinegar (which I use) or fresh lemon or lime juice

IMPLEMENTS
sieve or strainer
fine cheese cloth

PREPARATION

Put sieve or strainer in a container to collect whey and line with  cheese cloth.

 Place milk in a heavy pan. Heat over medium, with occasional stirring, until the temperature reaches
180-190 F or until the milk foams along the sides of the pan but doesn't boil.

Remove from heat, add acid, stir a few times and curds will start to form.At this stage, DO NOT STIR to distribute curds.

After five minutes, carefully pour milk mixture into cheese cloth, with as little disturbance of the curds as possible.

Drain to desired consistency;  5 - 20 minutes. Five minutes gives a moist and creamy cheese; longer drainage gives drier cheese. Discard whey

Cool to room temperature and place in container. Refrigerate for up to 7 days.

* For more complete information, go to: foodandstyle.com

ANOTHER NOTE: I found the yield from this recipe was small, less than one cup.There are recipes on-line that call for using more milk. I have tried a recipe calling one gallon. For me it was not worth the time and effort to make that one. The draining procedure seemed to go on forever. The recipe presented here is so quick and easy that I suggest you make as many of these individual recipes as you need to prepare the amount of ricotta necessary for your use.