experiments with milk – ricotta recipe…

I googled whole milk ricotta and blow me over with a feather the decent sounding recipes all called for ‘gallons’ and ‘quarts’. What universe are we in again? I tried an online converter but the resulting ml quantities, well they just sounded downright wrong.

So, an experiment, which appears to have worked 😀  My ‘straight out of the oven’ taste test (so to speak) was a light, soft ricotta with a little tiny sweet hint of a tang. Mmmmmmm



One litre of milk (yep, the ordinary sort, or any fancy whole milk (ie not low fat) as long as it’s not raw milk)

Juice of one lemon

Large pinch of salt


This is what I did

Juice your lemon then strain it to remove the pulp, pips, etc. I find a tea strainer quite handy for this.

Put the milk in a largish saucepan, add the lemon juice and salt and stir through to combine.

Heat the milk slowly on a medium-ish heat, stirring gently. Fairly soon you will see curds start to form (ie the milk is separating). Avoid the urge to stir as this just breaks up the curds, which is not ideal.

Once you see that the liquid is clear and it seems no more curd is forming (not long), take the saucepan off the heat and allow the curds to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. This is very important apparently to obtain the right texture.

In the meantime, arrange cheesecloth over a sieve over a bowl. Alternatively, if you have a cheese draining form you can use it as it is without cheesecloth.

Once the ricotta has rested, use a slotted spoon to gently ladle the curds into your cheesecloth or draining form. Don’t push at the ricotta to help it drain, as this makes it tough according to some commentators.

Drain the liquid from the ricotta for a minimum of 15 minutes then refrigerate it, or for a richer, more dense and buttery texture drain for several hours prior to chilling.

This recipe makes a quantity about the size of an apple. Consume within 10 days (as if it will last that long!).

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Regarding the lemon juice quantity, if you are concerned it’s going to be too tangy try half to start with. If curds don’t seem to be forming after a few minutes, add more juice a little bit at a time until the process commences.

Recipes I consulted were quite technical about temperatures but unfortunately my meat thermometer didn’t work in the ‘milk in saucepan’ environment, and the body temperature thermometer well it isn’t designed for such high temperatures as you might expect. Can’t fault me for trying!

The theory goes that curds should start to form at 165-170F (74-77C) and you should keep heating the milk to 190-195F (88-91C) at which point you take it off the heat.

It’s safe to say that’s nice for nervous people, but heating the milk slowly and trusting your eyes will do the trick just as well.


1 Response to “experiments with milk – ricotta recipe…”

  1. 1 mawarre February 21, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    I use Martha Stewart’s recipe for fresh ricotta (after doing the conversion from Imperial to metric) and it is pretty much what you have done except it has some cream added and the lemon juice doesn’t go in until it reaches the right temperature. I use a candy thermometer which works well. I love it so much – and it is fun making cheese, just for the fun of it. Glad yours turned out so well. margaret, from Simple Food

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