How to Make Ricotta Cheese

Here is the final post in my mini series “What I Can Squeeze out of Two Gallons of Milk”. If you recall…with two gallons of raw milk, I was able to make mozzarella cheesefresh butter…and now…ricotta cheese! 

Ricotta cheese is made with the leftover whey from your cheese making process. It is SO easy. I am so amazed that after I’ve finished making mozzarella cheese…there’s still ricotta cheese lurking in the whey! (What smart person discovered that…I want to know?)

To make Ricotta Cheese:

Pour all of the whey left from making your mozzarella cheese into a large stock pot. Heat it to 170°. Try to keep it right around that tempurature for a minute or so…then remove it from the heat. It looks something like this:

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I apologize for the quality of this picture. It’s…yucky looking. That’s what happens when you stick your camera inside a pot of almost boiling whey.   Look closely to TRY to see that the whey is bubbly with a thick layer of white froth on the top. Can you see it? Ah well…thanks for trying.

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Pour your bubbling whey into a strainer lined with a tea towel. (You will put something under your strainer to catch the liquid, right?)  Allow the liquid to strain through the tea towel. This takes a little manuevering because the ricotta starts to line the bottom of the tea towel and doesn’t allow the liquid to go through as easily.

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Use a spoon and scrape all the ricotta off of the tea towel.

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Place your ricotta cheese into a jar for storage. Stuffed Manicotti anyone?

So, what do you think? Not too hard, huh? 

What recipes do you like making with ricotta cheese?
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Here’s what I need you to do now. Tell me what you’d like for me to talk about next in the Feeding the Family series! Thanks!
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This post is linked to Frugal Fridays.

Comments

  1. says

    Ooooh,or how about cannoli cream with fruit? Here’s a recipe from Giada DeLaurentis:

    1/3 Cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
    2 Tablespoons plus 1/3 Cup whipping cream (I don’t use it all at once, but add as needed to get a nice thickness)
    3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
    pinch of cinnamon

    In a medium bowl, stir the ricotta and 2 Ts of cream.
    In a mixer, beat the remaining cream (again, you might want to start with less) with the powdered sugar and cinnamon until semi-firm peaks form. You can make this up to 4 hours ahead, and refrigerate.
    Serve with fruit (I’m thinking strawberries!) and enjoy!
    Actually, my husband likes this so much he eats it without fruit, like pudding, LOL!

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  2. says

    Neat! I didn’t know that there was ricotta in my whey! I always think of making lasagna. It was fun trying to make it in Russia without all of the packaged ingredients we have here. I ended up buying “villiage cheese” to use for ricotta. I think it probably was made the same way, just with a Russian name.

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  3. says

    Okay, so you’re ending up with about 1.5 pounds of mozzarella cheese, and I’m guessing about a cup of butter and a cup of ricotta cheese? (I’m just trying to figure out how many gallons of milk I would need to make enough for a lasagne to feed my family of 9.5!)

    Thank you for the very clear directions. This looks like something that our family could have fun doing!

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  4. says

    A friend suggested I check out your blog. It’s wonderful to find another blog, dedicated to homemaking. I have four children as well – 3 boys and 1 girl, ages 2-9. We also eat via Nourishing Traditions and cooking from scratch, we homeschool, and are learning how to homestead.

    I am planting my first veggie garden late next month, after the last frost. I’ll be “green manuring” this weekend.

    If you get a chance, please stop by “my place,” at http://www.KeepingTheHome.com

    It’s nice to “meet” you. :-)

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  5. says

    So do you use that last bit of whey then? I read online recently that you can use the whey instead of water or milk in homemade breads. It can also be used to soak grains or beans. It’s nothing I’ve tried, but I’m just curious.

    Gosh, your series is so tempting. I sure wish I had a way to get my hands on raw milk!

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  6. Lenetta says

    I was wondering about the whey, too (or what’s left of it). I’ve read to use it in pancakes and waffles and other breadish stuff calling for milk, though it’s been a while since I’ve made ricotta. (My way is a bit different.) I wonder too about soaking with it, although since I’ve not used raw milk, I don’t know that the stuff I’ve had left over would have the “good stuff” left for soaking.

    Hey, it’s my turn to meet Amy from Finer Things! She is up in my neck of the woods. Now if I could just swing over your way . . . I’m thinking maybe this summer. Hubs gets kinda cranky when I head too far from home too often, but a girl has to get out sometime, right? :>)

    PS – the little one turned 2 this week!

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  7. says

    I just polished off a piece of Lemon Blueberry cormeal cake made with ricotta cheese and whole wheat pastry flour!!! Yahoooo- I will post recipe later this weekend on my blog IF the cake lasts long enough to get a nice picture. Thanks for your recipe! You can tak about anything on your next post- I love all your ideas!!

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  8. Carrie says

    I know this is an old post, but I was wondering if you could use the whey from cream cheese for this?

    Thanks for all you teach us!

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    Laura Reply:

    It seems like I’ve tried it before without great results. I think one problem is that the amount of ricotta you get from whey is quite small and since the amount of whey from the cream cheese is small…it wouldn’t really give much ricotta if any.

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  9. Brandi says

    Erika,

    I realize this will be old at this point, but depending what state you live in you might want to check your local farms for raw milk. We have a farm here in Vermont and we can sell our raw milk as long as people come to the farm to get it. We also sell eggs, both organic.

    I can’t wait to try this recipe out and get the moz and ricotta. Thanks for po9sting :)

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  10. Ceyla says

    WOW! I got so many helpful tips today from you and others on your site that I feel like a new person. Now I know how to make cheeses, soak grain/flour (which I NEVER knew), found out there are great things that one can plant for keeping chickens fed instead of buying expensive grains. THANKS TO ALL who contribute their good ideas! I feel shabby because I don’t have anything to contribute at this time. But, I am going to have a blog about gardening and container gardening (soon, I hope)so maybe I can share that with y’all. Thanks again!
    Ceyla

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  11. Doug says

    Made the mozzarella, saved the whey to make Ricotta cheese. Did as per instructions. Poured whey into cheesecloth, whey went right though, no ricotta! Oh well. :(

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  12. Shoni says

    I didn’t get any ricotta out of my whey either Doug. Does anyone know what causes this to happen so that I can get ricotta next time I make mozzerella cheese. Do you need to let the whey cool before straining? Any suggestions?

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    Laura Reply:

    No, it just works sometimes and othertimes it doesn’t. I wish I understood better myself!

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  13. Kristi says

    I didn’t get any ricotta out of my whey. Maybe I didn’t get the whey as hot as I should have?? I saw the fine grains of the ricotta but only a tiny bit stuck to the cloth when strained.

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    Laura Reply:

    I wish I knew – sometimes it works – sometimes it doesn’t. I’m not sure why.

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  14. Kathy S says

    Same problem here. I got such a tiny amount. Maybe a tsp! Wonder what I did wrong?

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    Laura Reply:

    Sometimes it works – sometimes it doesn’t. I’m not sure why.

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  15. Nicole S says

    Same here :( I didn’t get any ricotta from my whey after I made mozza as well…any suggestions?

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    Laura Reply:

    I wish I knew. Sometimes it works – sometimes it doesn’t. I’m not sure why.

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  16. Elisa says

    I made the ricotta from the whey as directed…end result was approx. 2 TBSP of ricotta..what did I do wrong?

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    Laura Reply:

    I don’t think you did anything wrong. Sometimes my whey produces a nice amount of ricotta nd sometimes there’s hardly any. I haven’t figured out what causes this. :(

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  17. says

    The recipe I use calls for letting the whey get acidic before making it. You set it out for 12-24 hours. I used the various whey from different cheese making (about 1.5 gallons worth of milk) and got about 1 cup. I also heat it up a little more 220 degrees. I wanted to chime in since my yield was pretty good and results more sure.

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    Erica Reply:

    Debra, thanks for your tip– I too got no ricotta from my whey, but I still have about half of it saved in a pot, so I’ll try your way tomorrow with what’s left!

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  18. Holly says

    AWESOME I’m so excited that it worked. I still have my mozz hanging but the ricotta turned out great. I was really unsure if it was going to turn out at all after I heated it but once I drained I got a very full cup of ricotta, that tastes awesome!!!!

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  19. obearlady says

    vegetable rennet mixed with 1/4 cup water (I get my rennet from Azure Standard or Wilderness Family Naturals.)How to Make Ricotta Cheese

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  20. Laura says

    I just wanted to chime in here. I have made mozzarella four times now and when I heat the whey to make ricotta I add in a “glug” of vinegar while it’s heating up. I think it helps in the ricotta process. I am no professional (or even close) but if some of you are not getting your ricotta to form maybe worth a shot. Also cheesecloth needs to be the good stuff not the stuff from the grocery store, or tea towel works awesome too!

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  21. homebody says

    um… what’s missing in all the unsuccessful attempts is an acid. Every recipe I’ve seen online calls for the addition of either buttermilk, vinegar or lemon juice. The folks at ‘Serious Eats’ sum up the instructions for making ricotta like this:
    “Basic instructions: heat milk, add acid, drain, enjoy.”

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  22. homebody says

    what’s missing in all the unsucessful attempts is an acid. All the recipes I’ve seen for making ricotta call for either buttermilk, vinegar or lemon juice. The folks at ‘Serious Eats’ sum up the instructions for homemade ricotta as follows:
    “Basic instructions: heat milk, add acid, drain, enjoy.”

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  23. says

    I nursed my kids til 3 or 4 (had 3). I even tandem nursed almost a year. Switched to raw goats milk. I had 3 la mancha does. Also raised a couple pigs on left over milk. Eventually they all passed away :(. I located raw cows milk and they drank that. We were never huge milk drinkers. My children are grown now and we pretty much switched to alternative “Milk”. Well, just recently I started buying fresh raw milk again. It’s been wonderful!! I make great yogurt, ice cream etc. I lost touch with making cheeses and stuff. Thank you for your recipes.I can’t wait to get started on my cheeses again!

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