It's ridiculous how easy it is to have fresh ricotta in your hot little hands. One minute you're pouring milk into a big pot, the next you're slathering creamy fresh ricotta on a hunk of grilled sourdough. Guess what that makes you? Yes, a cheese maker. Own it.
Silly little things you need:
- a stove
- a big non-reactive pot
- cheesecloth (at any Lund's/Byerly's)
- a colander
- slotted spoon or strainer
- 1 gallon of whole milk (the better the milk, the better the cheese)
- 1 quart of buttermilk
- some salt, if you wish
Here's how it goes: Pour the milks into the pot on the stove, over medium heat. Stir the pot every once in a while with a spatula to make sure nothing is sticking. While you wait, line a colander with some folded layers of cheesecloth.
Once the milks reach about 170 degrees, the curds and whey will separate. You will know when this happens, don't doubt yourself. Scrape the bottom of the pot one time to make sure you've loosened all the curds, then simply turn off the heat and
begin scooping the curds into the colander.
Resist the urge to squeeze them; instead, gently gather the edges of the cheesecloth and lightly lift the mound for a few seconds. You could drain your cheese for about 15 minutes: More for dryer ricotta, less for creamier. I throw a little salt on it right before I put it in the tupperware, from where I eat it with a spoon. Sometimes.
Boom. You have ricotta. You are cheese maker.