17 November 2010

Making Ricotta Cheese

This is the third and final post that will deal with my Thanksgiving preparations. After this cheese is made, I will have all the custom ingredients needed to begin making my other recipes. This cheese will be used in making the manicotti and, if there is any left over, I may add some to a portion of the whipped potatoes.

Although, the idea of making ricotta cheese may seem intimidating at first, making this cheese is actually very easy. In addition, if you are a family that uses ricotta cheese a great deal, you will find that making it yourself will save you money. Next time you are in the store, price-out the cost for a gallon of milk and a bottle of vinegar (which you can use for several batches of cheese and other things as well) and compare it to the cost of a single container of ricotta cheese. You will be able to see how cost-effective it is to make yourself. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to let me know and I will do my best to assist you.

What you need

  • One gallon of whole milk
  • Salt (I use Kosher salt)... ¼ - ½ tsp (depends on how salty you like your cheese)
  • White vinegar... 1/3 cup, plus 1 tsp
  • Thermometer
    Here's one like I use... Polder Classic Cooking Thermometer/Timer, Graphite
  • Cheese cloth
  • Large, non-reactive pot
  • Colander

Putting it together...

  • Place milk in pot and place thermometer probe in milk (making sure the probe does not touch the sides of the pan) and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until temperature reaches 180°-185°
  • Remove from heat and add vinegar
  • Stir for one minute
  • Add salt and stir to combine
  • Cover and let sit for two or three hours
  • Take cheesecloth, dampen and place in colander
  • Pour cheese and whey into colander and cover
  • Let drain for one hour
  • Twist top of cheesecloth, so it tightens around the cheese and gently squeeze
  • Continue to squeeze until the clear liquid that comes out of the cheese turns to a milky color



  1. Brian: Oh, it really is :) The best part, besides being cheaper than buying it, is the fact that I can adjust the amount of salt.

  2. Well who in the world would ever have imagined it was that easy to make!!

    Wow Tim, did you study cooking? Or, did you just pick up all this wonderful information on your own?

    Either way what a great resource you are!!

    Happy Cheese day!

  3. Well who knew it was so easy to make ricotta cheese! I don't quite understand how you get cheese from milk and vinegar but I'm sure it works and is very tasty. Thanks for sharing this information!

  4. that does sound pretty easy to do. Wow. Since I work in a grocery store I know how expensive ricotta cheese is.

  5. Shinade: I picked it up on my own by cruising the Internet, Food Network (Alton Brown), and by doing research. I love to experiment and when it works, I like to share.
    Thank you!

    BeadedTail: It surprised me too how easy it is. Some of the other cheeses are a bit more complex and require chemicals I don't have.
    It has to do with the interaction of the acid in the vinegar when the milk reaches the correct temperature. It curdles the milk and creates the curds.

    Ann: I was surprised as well and it really turned out very tasty :)


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