we recently purchased the homemade pantry: 101 foods you can stop buying and start making and finally had a chance to try a recipe from it this past weekend. I literally want to make everything in this cookbook at some point (homemade pop tarts? sign me up), but we decided to start with something fairly simple – ricotta cheese.
ricotta is not an ingredient that we frequently buy, so I can’t offer much of a comparison to the store-bought stuff. but, having tasted homemade ricotta at a few restaurants, it’s always been something that i’ve wanted to try.
we were really pleased with how this turned out. it’s a very simple process of slowly heating whole milk (now would be a great time to splurge on some fresh milk from a local dairy), cream (optional), and lemon juice for about 45 minutes, and then turning up the heat for another 5 minutes to bring it to temperature. then, you’ll let it sit for 10 minutes, at which point you’ll have curds + whey. the curds are then strained through cheesecloth and a sieve, and what’s left on top is your ricotta. we salted ours lightly and ate it with baguette and honey – simple and perfect. you’ll have quite a bit of whey left over – this can be frozen and used within 6 months in smoothies, etc.
if you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, here’s the full recipe.