Hey, guys. It’s Monica here. Let me share some good news with y’all.
You can make fresh ricotta cheese at home using regular UHT milk. Wink, wink.
We’ve been told time and time again that the only way to make your own ricotta cheese at home is with fresh whole milk. ‘Fresh’ means that it’s not UHT milk or milk that already went through ultra-high-temperature processing. The main reason for this advice is that UHT milk won’t curdle or would curdle insufficiently.
But sometimes I can be quite stubborn and just want to take my chances on things. So I tried my luck one time and somehow I did it! I made ricotta cheese out of plain UHT milk! Ever since I have been making ricotta cheese at home whenever I feel like it and it has made eating bread and pasta more special.
I’ll give you simple reasons why you should try making ricotta cheese at home:
- It’s so easy
- Super cheap
- The freshest ricotta ever
- It’s safe and healthy because you know what’s in it
You don’t have to be a veteran homecook to do this, because I guarantee you that it’s very, very easy. And knowing that you made cheese from scratch is such a good feeling! You will feel like you can do anything! (Okay, that’s a bit exaggerated)
WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR THIS RECIPE
UHT WHOLE MILK – Yes, your regular whole milk from the store. This is way cheaper than fresh whole milk.
SALT – Any kind of salt will do.
LEMON JUICE – You will need to first squeeze the lemon juice into a small container and remove the seeds.
CHEESE CLOTH – To drain the whey from the ricotta.
- 1 liter UHT whole milk
- Salt (according to taste)
- 2 to 3 tbsp lemon juice
- Pour the milk into a pot over medium heat.
- Add salt according to taste.
- While you’re waiting for the milk to simmer, slowly and continuously stir the milk with a ladle to prevent burning the bottom.
- When the milk starts to simmer, pour in the lemon juice. Start with 1 tablespoon. You can just add more if the acidity of the lemon juice is weak.
- At this point, the milk will curdle into very small chunks – the ricotta cheese. When this happens, turn off the stove.
- Use a cheese cloth and a colander to drain the whey from the ricotta cheese. Don’t drain too much, otherwise the ricotta will be dry.
- Transfer the ricotta cheese into a container.
You can eat this immediately or store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
We eat this plain with bread. It’s so delicate both in taste and mouthfeel. You have to try it. Sometimes we dress it up with olive oil and herbs. You can add this to pasta dishes for the cheese lovers out there.
ADD SALT LITTLE BY LITTLE
Personally, I don’t add salt too much at first. I add about 1/4 tsp while the milk is still on the stove. Then I taste the ricotta once cooked and just add more salt if it still lacks flavor. I do this method especially when I plan to add herbs and spices later on.
WHAT ABOUT THE CURDLING ISSUE?
UHT milk will curdle but do not expect big chunks of cheese separating from the whey. What you will get are really small pieces, the size of a grain of rice. But once you drain the whey, size doesn’t matter anymore because all these tiny pieces will form one big chunk of ricotta cheese anyway. One time I got larger chunks than usual, but I attribute it to the acidity of the lemon.
ACIDITY OF LEMON JUICE
What I learned over many times of making ricotta cheese is that there’s no specific amount of lemon juice that would curdle your milk. It will depend on the acidity of the lemons you are using. There are times when 1 tbsp is enough, but other times it needs 2 tbsp.
If you don’t have cheese cloth at your disposal, you can use several layers of paper towel to drain the whey. Use around 8-10 sheets of paper towel to cover the base and walls of the colander. You can just scoop out the ricotta after draining.
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