Fresh Homemade Ricotta

Growing up on a farm provided us with unlimited gallons of good fresh 100% whole milk which we drank willingly. There were no worries about cholesterol or contamination, chemicals or processing. After milking Dad would bring it straight to us in a pail from the barn. You don’t get much fresher than that.

Mom baked a lot, we drank a lot of milk. It didn’t get old. Sometimes Mom would have a recipe that called for sour milk. She would add a bit of vinegar, not too much, just a bit, not enough to curdle it. She always knew how much to add.

We were a meat and potatoes family – Irish/Scottish ancestors. There were no Italians. We didn’t have things like lasagna or stuffed shells; I don’t really remember having very much cheese except Velvetta for grilled cheese sandwiches or macaroni and cheese.

When I got out on my own I discovered a whole new food group. For the longest time I never liked ricotta so I would make a non-traditional lasagna – mozzarella, parmesan, pepperoni and sauce. I have no idea what it was I didn’t like.

Now we buy milk and most times end up dumping it down the drain. I had a bottle that was about to turn when I came across an article and recipe for ricotta, sounded easy enough so I went to work. Following is my success story:

Started with 4 cups of 1% milk (whole milk is best) and heated to 200 degrees.

Added about 1/8 cup of lemon juice (vinegar also works) and continued stirring until completely curdled.

Dumped it into a very fine strainer ( you can also use cheesecloth) and let it drain. It will take at least an hour.

Finally, it is ready to put in a storage container. I only got about 3/4 cup of ricotta, I assume you would get a much creamy and larger quantity using whole milk. To test I made the husband a mid-morning snack – he approved enthusiastically.

If you are looking for a recipe and complete directions, you can find a number of them on or videos

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