Homemade Ricotta Cheese
What a surprise to me -- ricotta is simple ingredients and simple to make. While you don't get a lot of cheese from a batch, the flavor is well worth it.
1/2 gallon whole milk
1 cup heavy cream (optional, but good)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons White Balsamic Vinegar of your choice*
Place a cheesecloth or coffee filter in a sieve over a 3 quart or larger bowl. Bring the milk, cream and salt just to a boil. Pull off the heat and immediately add the vinegar of your choice. Stir gently for a couple of seconds and then let sit about 5 minutes so the curds can form. Stir curds again and then carefully pour the mixture into the sieve. Let the curds drain until you get your desired consistency, from 5 to 20 minutes. Use immediately while warm or place in a container, cover it, and put it in the refrigerator.
Ricotta will keep for up to 1 week.
Note: If your ricotta doesn't set curds, heat again, add more vinegar and repeat above process.
We use the ricotta as a spread for appetizers, in lasagna and on waffles with a warm berry compote.
*Our favorite vinegars so far are Pomegranate Quince, Sicilian Lemon, Champagne and Cascadian Wild Raspberry, but any white balsamic will work.