Making ricotta cheese at home is one of the easiest things you can do – seriously. There are only two “special things” that you need in order to make it, which are cheese cloth and a thermometer, and even those are debatable. I’m sure you could get around cheese cloth with a tea towel in a pinch and I managed to get around the thermometer by finding out mine was broken and just not using one. But in all seriousness, it would be best if you buy some cheese cloth and a thermometer.
All you have to do is bring some milk to a near boil, add some lemon juice and vinegar, let sit, strain, and wait. BOOM you have cheese! When I made this recipe I halved it, used organic milk, and used plain-old regular white vinegar.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
2 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar, plus more as needed
2 quarts (half gallon) pasteurized whole milk
1 tsp. kosher salt
Combine the milk and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue to heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk registers 185 F on an instant-read thermometer.
While the milk is heating, prepare a colander and line with a double layer of cheesecloth for straining the ricotta.
Once the milk has reached 185 F, remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and vinegar. The mixture will begin to curdle quickly. Stir just enough to evenly distribute the acids. Let rest 10 minutes.
When the mixture is adequately curdled, it will have separated into white curds and translucent yellow whey. Gently stir to ensure that this has occurred. If there is still milky whey in the in the pot after 10 minutes, add in more vinegar 1 tablespoon at a time and let sit 2-3 minutes more until the curds separate.
Very carefully pour the mixture into the prepared colander. Let drain about 15 minutes. Transfer the strained curds to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate. Store up to 5 days. Makes about 2 cups ricotta. Recipe can be easily doubled, or halved to make an additional cup of ricotta.