Homemade Ricotta

Photo Credit: Belly Full

Making your own homemade cheese isn't as difficult as it may seem and making ricotta cheese is actually very easy. All you need are four simple ingredients and only 20 minutes to make this cheese. You will feel so accomplished, and you'll also notice that it tastes so much better than store-bought cheese. You can also use organic ingredients and be sure of what is in your cheese, so you know you're getting the healthiest ingredients possible. Using organic dairy products is not only healthier for you, but it is also actually a more responsible choice too. Dairy that comes from pasture-raised cows will have no antibiotics or hormones in it, plus they are fed a healthier diet. Cows raised in factory farms are given a diet high in fat and usually eat soy. They are also given hormones to keep them producing milk and antibiotics to keep them from getting sick since they live in such close quarters with dozens of other cows so sickness can spread quickly. You can usually find organic milk at the grocery store, or maybe a local organic farm near you sells organic milk. You may even find that you prefer the taste of organic milk over milk from factory raised cows. Cheese is one of the great things you can make with milk, and there are a variety of different cheeses you can make including ricotta cheese.

Cheese nutrition includes contains nutrients like protein, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin B12 and vitamin A. When you're thinking about cheese nutrition you'll often think about getting healthier stronger bones and muscles too which is what all of these nutrients do. Ricotta cheese nutrition is similar to regular cheese nutrition, but ricotta cheese nutrition contains less fat than other types of cheese like mascarpone or cream cheese. Ricotta cheese nutrition also has less cholesterol and sodium than other types of cheese too, especially if you make it fresh at home using your own ingredients. You can control how much salt is added into the cheese to control the sodium in the cheese. Ricotta cheese is an Italian whey cheese that is made from cow, goat, sheep, or water buffalo milk with the whey left over from the production of cheese. Much like the process of making other types of cheese, ricotta is made by coagulating the proteins left over once the casein has is used to make cheese. These proteins that are left over are usually albumin and globulin. The word ricotta even means recooked. The protein is created when the whey is made to be acidic through fermentation which is to let it sit for 12 to 24 hours at room temperature. Then, when it's boiled, it creates a fine curd and then it's cooled and separated to leave the curd behind.

For this recipe from Amy at Belly Full, you'll use whole milk as well as whipping cream, lemon juice and salt to make your ricotta cheese. Amy beautifully explains the entire process on her website and shares how she learned how to make ricotta cheese from a workshop she attended. Ricotta has been made for thousands of years and goes back to the Bronze Age in Italy. People had milk boilers which were used to boil milk at high temperatures to make cheese like ricotta cheese. It wasn't usually sold in markets because it has a short shelf life, but people would make it fresh at home and enjoy their own homemade cheese. In Italy, even cheesecakes are made with ricotta cheese instead of or with cream cheese, usually with the addition of lemon for a nice, light, fresh cake.***

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