I had no idea what I have been missing out on! I cannot believe how much better the homemade version is compared to store-bought. I've never made any type of cheese before, so I had no idea how easy it would be. I will definitely be making my own ricotta from now on. So creamy, fluffy, and not like the grocery store stuff that has the texture and flavor of wallpaper paste.
Creamy Homemade Ricotta
Credit: Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo
Makes about 2 cups.
4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
¾ cup buttermilk
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
Combine the milk, cream, buttermilk, and salt in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Bring to a gentle, not rolling boil. As the curds begin to separate from the whey, you'll see little white flecks pop to the surface and the milk will turn into a cloudy, watery-looking liquid. Let it cook for 1 to 2 more minutes until larger curds begin to form, then remove the pot from the heat. Place it on a back burner and let it sit for 30 minutes to help the curds develop further.
Meanwhile, line a sieve or fine mesh strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a deep bowl or pot. Spoon the curds into the cheesecloth-lined strainer. Resist the temptation to pour it into the strainer all at once. Gently ladling the curds keeps them fluffy. Once all the curds have been ladled into the strainer, pull the sides of the cheesecloth up and over the ricotta to cover it so it doesn't dry out or form a skin on top. Let it sit in the cheesecloth to drain the excess liquid for 15 to 30 minutes. The length of time you drain it depends on how creamy you'd like your ricotta-- the longer, the drier. If using it in a baked recipe, you'll want a drier texture. If serving it "straight up" on a cheese board or spreading it on toast, you'll want it to be on the creamier side. The ricotta may be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
** Use for Homemade Manicotti