Detroit Eats

Musings of A Detroit Based Food Fanatic

Cheese Making 101 – Ricotta

with 6 comments


     I am a from "scratch" person. I have made my own bread (and my own yeast to make the bread), my own pasta, my own wine and beer and broke down venison into usable cuts. One thing I have wanted to make, but hadn’t attempted, was cheese. I can add that to my list of "from scratch" food items. After doing a little research I decided to give it a shot and you know what -it’s pretty darn easy. For my first attempt I chose Ricotta because it is probably the easiest cheese to produce. No gadget or intricate formulas. Just milk, a thermometer, something to curdle the milk and cheesecloth. With milk and cheesecloth in the house I did have to decide what to use to curdle the milk. There seemed to be 3 ways I could do this. The first was to add rennet to the milk. Rennet itself comes in a tablet form and is available near the puddings in the supermarket. The second was to add buttermilk. This seemed like an unnecessary expense. The third was to add white vinegar. Being unsure which was the best way to go I decided on a middle of the road approach. I used vinegar AND rennet. In the end this was really the way to go as it worked great. Now I had a recipe, 1 gallon of milk (whole) with the addition of 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1/4 tablet of rennet (I dissolved the rennet in the vinegar). I heated the milk up (while stirring constantly) until it reaches 200 degrees (this is where the thermometer comes in). When the milk approached 200 degrees I took it off the stove and stirred in the vinegar/rennet mixture. This would separate the cheese curds from the whey. I covered the pot and waited for the magic to happen. Now I had read recipes that said to leave the mix out overnight and I had read recipes that said that all you need is 15 minutes for it to curdle. In the end I decided to let it cool on the counter (about 4 hours) before attempting to strain off the cheese. After 4 hour I lined a colander with cheesecloth and scooped out the curds. I was amazed. After draining the cheese overnight (in the refrigerator) I got about 2 # out of the first batch. Not bad for a first attempt and it was good I tell you, very good. So good I don’t think I need to buy Ricotta in the store ever again.

What’s next? Why Mozzarella of course!


Written by Ed Schenk

January 11, 2010 at 11:22 am

6 Responses

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  1. Thanks for the ricotta recipe. I will definitely make this soon.


    February 28, 2010 at 1:29 am

    • It quite easy. You should have no problem. My biggest one whas figuring out ways to use all the cheese I made. I got over 2 # from a Gallon of milk!

      Ed Schenk

      February 28, 2010 at 1:33 am

  2. I have always wanted to try making this. I always buy ricotta at the store. But you’ve definitely made me want to give this a go. 😉

    Carolyn Jung

    January 28, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    • Thanks for stopping in!
      It is pretty easy and the results are spectacular. Well worth the effort.

      Ed Schenk

      January 28, 2010 at 10:27 pm

  3. My grand daughter loves ravioli and i have thoughts of making them from scratch, ricotta and pasta.

    thanks for sharing

    lily ng

    January 21, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    • I don’t know how old your grandaughter is but it would be great for you to make them together.

      Ed Schenk

      January 22, 2010 at 1:32 am

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