Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Elba, NY(Zone 6a)

I stumbled across this the other day when I was all ready to make my pan of lasagna. I opened my big container of ricotta cheese and the seal was broken and it was moldy. $6 down the drain so to speak and a pan of lasagna without cheese. In my panic I started searching on the computer because I knew that ricotta was not processed for very long.

I found this recipe and it is a keeper! I've tried it several times now. It works nicely with 2 percent milk. I've always heated it up to 190 degrees and used the 1/4 cup of vinegar. When my milk was really fresh I needed to add just a little bit more vinegar. You'll know when you have enough vinegar because your milk will start to ball up immediately.

I was thinking it would be good to mix in some fresh herbs at the end for a spreadable cheese for crackers. You can make it softer or drier by how much of the water you squeeze out in the end. It's a fun and easy recipe that my daughter loves to help with. A gallon of milk is a whole lot less expensive than a big container of ricotta!

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Home-Made-Farmers-Cheese/Detail.aspx

Huffman, TX(Zone 9a)

Thank you I will try this I love doing things like that and love cheese have you ever tried ageing it to make it firmer?

Elba, NY(Zone 6a)

No, I haven't yet. Did look into it though. Don't really have the time right now with too many other projects. Some of the others you need to brine them but didn't look like it would be too difficult. Cottage cheese was also easy. For that you just let it set on the counter for a day or two to curdle. Sounded icky though, just couldn't bring myself to try it. There were several websites that I found with good info.

Huffman, TX(Zone 9a)

Where is Elba N. Y. I was born a raised just south of Buffalo. Moved to Texas in 1970 and only just retired 12 days ago. The only difference between here and there is that we hibernate at different times, there in the winter, here in the scorching summers. Don't miss the snow. Our fall, winter and spring are beutiful. In the summer I try to be inside by noon. My wife and I do a lot of gardening and can and freeze what we can. I also enjoy trying to do things I have never tried before like making cheese I make jerky now and even took a recipe from another thread and made lemoncello and orangecello it was fun but the drink is way to sweet for me.I always have fish in the freezer and venison too. So thanks again for the recipe I just bought a half gallon of fresh milk, can't wait to try it. Ron

Elba, NY(Zone 6a)

Elba is almost directly in between Rochester and Buffalo, about 45 min from both, in the same line. DH and his brothers own a huge crop farm. They do rent some land too but all-in-all farm about 5,000 acres of land. Ever heard of the muck? Our main crops are onions, cabbage, soybeans, corn, wheat, and squash but do lots of other smaller crops like diakons, bok choy, peas etc.

I hear you about the winters. Seems sometimes like winter is never ending around here.but sure can't beat the beauty of the fall! Where abouts in NY did you move from?

Huffman, TX(Zone 9a)

I lived in Dunkirk about 50 miles south of Buffalo my wife was from Fredonia the little town next to Dunkirk. We used to skip school in our senior year and go to Niagra Falls. We have been together for 41 years. I worked on the produce farms as a kid 12 to 16 every year for spending money. I also worked in the concord grape vineyards. I fished Lake Erie as a kid every chence I got. Your DH and his brothers farm a good bit of land. Most people down here think N.Y. is all City there is a lot of farm land and rolling hills and dairy farms. I never regretted moving to Texas I have set down good roots here. Made a really good living here but I have fond memories of growing up in N.Y. Like trout season every April. First snowfalls, long walks when it was snowing those huge soft snowflakes, snowangels, tabogganing. I am retired now so I plan on making the fall leaf change one year. We'll see I hunt in the fall so its hard to get away and spring is white pearch fishing. Maybe I'll wait untill its 98 degrees here and same number humidity that would be a good time :) thanx for the memories....rucky

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

I have made ricotta cheese for a couple years. We buy a gallon of milk at a time and sometimes we have too much for 2 people and it starts to get old.

I take a half gallon of milk, about 1/4-1/3 cup of lemon juice and put it in a saucepan for one hour on the lowest possible heat. After this, the pan is covered and set aside for 6-8 hours. I then strain through cloth and hang the cloth in a strainer in the frig overnight (over a bowl)

The next day, I add a little salt and put in a sealed container for use. It is really good and very easy to make.

Plano, TX

i am looking forward to trying this cheese recipe-thanks for posting-you can make some nice desserts with ricotta too!

Plano, TX

i am making my ricotta now--it is starting to come together but needs more time i think--i added some herbs de provedence and fresh ground black pepper to it

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

Your cheese may be done. I use 2% milk and get about a small butter dish of cheese from a half gallon. There is a lot of whey milk left.

I have not tried it with whole milk (as we do not drink it and usually just make it when we have leftovers)

The extra spices sound good. They also can be added after straining and setting in the frig overnight.

Yesterday, I went to the store and bought a gallon of milk. I noticed the date on the milk was Nov 9th. I thought nothing of it until I got to the ck out and realized that Halloween was next Saturday, and this made the milk good for over 2 weeks. Wow, that sure sounds like a long time for Milk to stay fresh.

Plano, TX

my cheese turned out great--i tried using the lemon juice first and nothing-added the vinegar and wow! so from now on will only use vinegar
i don't buy whole milk either but did for this and also added some buttermilk --i will try all buttermilk some time--the herbs were really good in it
my only problem was that i drained too much water out and made it a little dry--

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

Wow, I never thought of buttermilk. That would be great.

I wonder why the lemonjuice did not work. You are suppose to use real lemons, but I have used the cheapo lemon juice in the bottle and it has worked fine. Well, whatever works I guess.

northeast, IL(Zone 5a)

I just found this. Is it OK to use milk that is starting to sour? It's not curdled yet, but is past the use by date. I have almost a full gallon, and hate to waste it, if it is usable.

Thanks,
Deb

Plano, TX

i THINK it would be ok---i'd give it a try
as for why the lemon juice didn't work? i don't know -i did use real lemons but maybe they weren't acidic enough--i only know the vinegar worked so well for me that i will stick with it--

i also saw that goats milk cheese is made the same way--i love goats milk cheese but don't know how difficult it is to find goats milk--will have to check that out too--might not bother if it is costly--

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

I have used milk that is just slightly sour and it turns out good. You know, smell it and say, yeah, it is just sour. Not "whew" that is nasty!"

Arroyo City, TX(Zone 9b)

Sometime lemon juice works and Doesn't because of the lemons. They vary GREATLY in acidity! I prefer the taste with the lemon juice (if serving it with crackers or just with garden herbs stired in)but, the vinager is much more reliable. It is more reliable to use bottled lemon juice too. I was very surprised when I investigated and found out how wide a difference there is in the acidity - can't quote it off the top of my head but, it was significant. You can also use lime juice - I have these more available to me here. This works well in peirogies and similar savories also that are VERY inexpensive to make from scratch (Basicly pasta, mashed potatoes, cheese and seasoning) but, are very impressive to family and guests when served.

I know...who ask you...lol...just my two cents...lol...this is fun to do with kids if they are a little older but, if you can get a good coupon the yogurt cheese is really fun for kids because they can keep checking it while it "cheeses". That way you get three for one...food, education and entertainment!

Hugs,

Jamie

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

All I add to mine is a little sea salt. That really brings out the flavor.

It is fun and easy to make. I agree, a good education, for any age.

Arroyo City, TX(Zone 9b)

Oh yeah, Cparts, You are right! just a little sea salt and it is really yummy...we just garden year round here with our weather and fresh herbs are always at hand...it's amazing how they wow people and I just walked to the backyard...lol...I am spoiled though now by year round gardening. - makes the heat some what barable - I take that back...there isn't much gardening around in July and August when others have their bounty. It's just too hot and humid! Though I can get most things through they are just too stressed to produce much or harvest from.

*Question*
Has anyone tried more complicated cheese? I was thinking about it but, when I was in Holland (110 years ago)(a husband in the military) I went to several cheese making farms...STUNK!!!!!! ooooooo wwwwweeeeeee STUNK!!!!! lol and I'm just afraid of that so I wanted an opinon of someone that's gotten a little further along in the process maybe? Any thoughts would help...

Hugs,

Jamie

Huffman, TX(Zone 9a)

I googled cheese making after reading this thread and it is possible but a lengthly process and requires some things that might be hard to find but it is possible look at the link at the top of the page them go to cheese 101 on the left side of the page it give you an idea of how it is started ....I hear ya about July and August and HOT and HUMID all my summertime gardening is done by 10 or 11 oclock...LOL.

Arroyo City, TX(Zone 9b)

Hi Rucky,

What Zone is Huffman?

Huffman, TX(Zone 9a)

mrsjamiep I believe its 9b also I know its 9 not sure if its a or b Huffman is Northeast of Houston I live on Lake Houston. I don't believe I know where Arroyo City is either? I do travel around Texas a lot but as you know its a big state.

Arroyo City, TX(Zone 9b)

I am 30 minutes north of Brownsville way down in the tip...you won't find us on a map...I believe you are 9a though. B is even worse and we are actually on the border of 10a here depending on who you ask. Houston is 9a though and if you are north of there you are 9a for sure. You drop to b below there - about even with Willacy County or slightly north of there I believe. South Padre Island - just South of here is With out a doubt 10a... It's all so iffy with the Gulf influences...then theres the desert of Mexico to the west and we are wedged in between... I just guess a little of all three and err on the side of caution...lol... But, From SA down in July and Aug forget being outside for anything after 11...especially for this transplant...lol!

Huffman, TX(Zone 9a)

I am a transplant also but have been here 40 years and I am just now getting where the summers don't wilt me as they did in the past I worked outside for the last 31 years and I am retired now so I have a choice work through the heat of the day or take the A/C guess which one wins? I am actually in the city of Houston anything on the lake here is annexed by the city because its their water suppy.But my address is Huffman. Let me know if you try making any other kind of cheese I am still looking into it but first I just bought some milk and I am gonna make the farmers cheese I have some oregano and rosemary in the garden that I think would be great in it I'll let you know....rucky

Huffman, TX(Zone 9a)

I just made a trial run on the farmers cheese and was amazed at how much whey there was I used only 4 cups of whole milk just to experiment and I used vinegar about 1/4 cup and poured it into the heated milk and got curds right away I srained them and after it was done draining I poured the whey back into the measuring cup and there was 3 1/4 cup of whey so I got about 3/4 cup of cheese. I tasted the whey just to see if there was any use for it and threw it away it was a cloudy water no taste at all. I am cooling the cheese in the frige now but I am sure it will be good I added just a pinch of salt and a tiny bit of rosemary I will try it later on some crackers. I am sure I will like it I have never met a cheese I didn't like. This tells me that milk is mostly water so if you use 2% milk you are increasing the water. I am a lover of buttermilk I can't wait to try it in this way. Should increase the flavor some. I am a purist when it comes to food I like whole milk, real butter,never drink lite beer never drink decaffinated coffee. I worked 31 years in a chemical plant and my liver probably glows in the dark I may die young but I will die a fat and happy man. Both my parents are 86 and still kicking so maybe I still have a chance :-) PS I do walk 2 miles everyday and work very hard on these 3 acres. I have just cut back on quantity but not quality.

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

I am interested if you get more cheese with whole milk. I would assume you would. It is just that I have 2% in the house and that is what I have extra of. I just figured 2% made 2% ricotta cheese. I still tastes rich and good.

Plano, TX

well now i am curious --if skim is mainly just more water than whole milk then would the cheese be the same fat content but just less cheese?

Huffman, TX(Zone 9a)

That is a wonder isn't it and lf that is the the case why couldn't you buy whole milk and add water. I wonder jf that is how the processer does it. It would be nice to know. I just reread my post and it did kinda sound like I was putting lower fat milk down I appoligize if thats what it sounded like. I was just telling what I do. Everyone to their own life. I tasted the cheese last night and it was good, kinda bland but so is ricotta I will try it in a pasta dish and see how it does.

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

Yeah, this got me wondering too. If you are just using the fat in the milk and get less cheese from the volume of milk, than the cheese would be the same fat content. I am not on any special diet, so this does not concern me that way. I am just interested in learning.

Huffman, TX(Zone 9a)

http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf73187289.tip.html
http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/136096
I googled a little and came up with these see what you think

Arroyo City, TX(Zone 9b)

Okay...lol...Grew up in dairy country...cows as far as the eyes could see! They make lower fat milk by removing more cream/milkfat NOT by watering down the milk. It leaves more water/whey behind. This water/whey does have the vitamin D and other nutrients in the milk.

****BUT if you read through the comments on the links that Rusky posted at least one of the posters had a very good point if you want to get into the milk/thinning milk debate...why drink serve milk or milk products at all unless it's for the taste. I really like cheese and whole milk and butter. But as far as NEEDING to consume another mamauls milk products for health that's just not true. I had my son in Germany In the 80's. I was in a German hospitol because the Americans did not have an adiquiate hospitol at the small base where my husband was stationed. They were and are very much more wholistic in their medical approach. He was a premie...emergency c-section because we were both being lost. Because I was so ill I could not breast feed so, they immediatly got him a wet nurse and used her milk even through a feeding tube. When we were preparing to take him home at 3 1/2 months they slowly changed him to goat and sheeps milk. They didn't even concider cows milk! I think we have just been feed "milk it does a body good" so much since the big dairy industry crisis of the 60's that we all have started to believe it. Now I love a big glass of cow's milk as much as the next guy with a hot chocolate chip cookie from the oven. I want to play with making cheese from it. But, when it come it watering it down and stuff...why bother...I just come up with something else to serve that's better for them anyway.

LoL...okay...disclaimer...I'm an opinionated old bat! okay not so old but the opionated and bat part are true...LoL!

Hugs, Jamie

Huffman, TX(Zone 9a)

thanx for clearing that up as far as being opiionated I think we all should be but an old bat!!! Never "LOL" I worked at a dairy meat market one time but only dealt with the meat and cheese. I also love whole milk and cheese and butter never margerine for one thing margerine (i can't even spell it) isn't any better for you than butter. I have read some horror stories that I'm not sure I believe about the origin of margerine. The only exception I make to that is "I Can't belive its not Butter" spray I like it on vegetables especially corn on the cob and popcorn (which I am not supposed to eat). this way I make up a little for useing butter to cook with. And I really do like the taste or I wouldn't do it.....rucky

Plano, TX

thanks for clearing up some things--so nice of you to find out what i was wondering about!
as for the question of why use low fat milk if you are in it for the taste---well since i pretty much grew up on skim or low fat the whole does not taste right to me--too rich--i am the same about cream sauces--they just leave me feeling kinda sick

i like real butter--olive oil--real vanilla --good cheeses--good chocolate-good coffee

but there are other areas that i don't need the "real" or higher quality thing
i only like diet coke/pepsi etc--the other is just so sweet and syrupy to my taste
i haven't tried the really good balsamic vinegars so for now i am satisfied with the cheaper ones--and expensive wine is wasted on me--i like wine but am not savvy enough to differentiate between the good and the average wines--

but i didn't take it as an offense rucky--i knew what you meant

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

The reason I use 2% is that I was used to 1/2% and my hubby liked whole milk. We compromised. I think I got the better end of the deal.

It is all what you are used to I think. Once I started drinking the thinner stuff, whole milk tastes too rich. I also tend to water down juice too.

Plano, TX

oh i agree about watering down juice--it is just too concentrated for my taste

Huffman, TX(Zone 9a)

Thanx planolinda when you mentioned diet coke you reminded me of a guy I used to work with really a nice guy but very heavy. Couldn't bend at the waste if he dropped something he would have to get down on one knee to pick it up. We used to get overtime meals delivered if we had surprise overtime. And he would order chicken fried steak dinner and tell them to hold the veggie and give him double mashed potatos extra gravy and you guessed it a diet coke. I laughed out loud at him and he couldn't understand why I was laughing. I just thought that was a funny I don't drink cokes at all and there is 10 teaspoons of sugar in one 12 oz coke so I totally understand the diet coke thing. Every once in a while I like a rootbeer float so I lied I do drink them now and then. As far as wine is conserned I am drinking a LARGE glass of " Carlo Rossi " Piasano as I type here its about $10 a gallon. Thats my idea of fine wine. I buy Balsomic vineger But not the expensive ones. My tastes don't run that fine I just know what I like and I do buy extra virgin olive oil. I use it for cooking also I usually split it with butter for some recipes. I enjoy these posts here it's really fun finding out how the rest of the world lives. I really need to figure out what to do with all these empty gallon wine jugs I hate throwing them away and I allready have 2 change banks :-)

Arroyo City, TX(Zone 9b)

Oh no honey I didn't mean why use 2% that's each 2 his own...I was wondering why water down milk with water. But now that I think about the statement it doesn't make sense (mine)...if you didn't know that that's not how they got 2% rather than 4%, why wouldn't you water it down to get the 2%...never mind...I'm a bubble off plumb sometimes...lol...I know sometimes the whole is too rich for some things that I am making for a contest and I just don't like it in a few things...I also use 1/2 AND 1/2 rather than cream in certain sauces for my DH because he doesn't like things too rich. I just prefer most of the time in others...lol...of course he where's jeans an inch smaller than high school and we won't talk about mine...lol...

Now wine...though I don't drink anymore...give me a cheep lambrusco in a gallon jug with a twist off top over a white Rhine wine (or similar)any day...lol... I've had the best and will go to cheep any day...lol...

I also agree with the diet coke thing...real is way too sweet once you get used to the other...

I think it's just each too your own. I've been in many, many cooking contests and it's always so funny that 2 judges can taste the exact some product and one can complain it's too rich or too sweet and the other say it's bland and needs sugar...lol... you just never know.

Hugs,

Jamie

Arroyo City, TX(Zone 9b)

Rucky... I don't know how old you are but, do you remember the 70's? They used to do colored sand layers in those old bottles...lol...in waves of different colors...if they are green they just used lights and darks...okay...I'm older than dirt...I was just a kid though!!!! There is all ways terrariums and ships in a bottle!!!

Huffman, TX(Zone 9a)

Great Ideas I like the terrarium idea have to work on that. I remember the 70's in fact I got married in 1968 I remeber the 60's as well I was a kid in the 50's now whos older than dirt. In fact dirt comes to me for advice.
What kind of cooking competition do you do ....... cooking is a passion of mine (my waste line shows it too) being retired now I try to cook healthier at least every other day :-)

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

Ha, about the same age as you guys.

I make my own wine. It is fun and tastes pretty good.

Huffman, TX(Zone 9a)

Cparts I have often thought about making wine I have this orange tree the one with the little round oranges they are good but a little too bitter to eat and the tree stays covered with the oranges I could allmost pick them year around . I eat some but the rest are deer food (along with anything else they can reach like my young trees)But I wondered about making wine from those do you think it would it be possible? there is a wine and beer store in Houston where they sell all of the equipment.....rucky

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