Rootstohealth's Blog

Do it yourself: Ricotta!
June 22, 2009, 6:52 pm
Filed under: Dairy, Doing Well at Home, Organic

I was planning a post based on this press release:  which states that drinking fat-free milk instead of fruit juice at breakfast leads to feeling more satiated and eating less calories at lunch time.  But then I realized – why talk about what I read today, when I can talk about what I actually did today, which is making my own ricotta!

Now this sounds much fancier than it actually is….ricotta is actually one of the easiest cheeses to make.  All you need is some nice good milk (we’ll talk about the best kinds later), a lemon, lime, or vinegar, salt, and a stovetop!

Super simple – just heat up your lightly salted milk, medium high heat, stirring frequently (that part, unfortunately, takes a good 20-25 minutes).  When the milk starts to lightly boil, squeeze some of your vinegar, lemon or lime juice into the milk (I use about 1/4 cup acid per quart of milk), give it a stir to disperse said acid, turn off the stove and let the curds set.  When the curds separate from the whey (you have big white blocks floating in greenish liquid), use a slotted spoon to spoon the curds into a cheesecloth-lined colander (or a mesh sieve if you have it) and let excess whey drain off.  That’s it! Simply store it in the fridge when the curds are at the desired consistency! (Let them sit longer for thicker ricotta, shorter for runnier ricotta).  And let me tell you – does it taste good – I have never used vinegar but the lemon/lime impart this light citrus flavor in the cheese that is just lovely.  Plus you feel super accomplished.

Now, today was a big day in my ricotta making because I used a new kind of milk (and here’s where I feel like a goody-goody).  I used Milk Thistle Farm’s Whole, Organic, Hormone Free, Grass-Fed, Unhomogenized, Lighly Pasteurized, Cream-on-Top, Comes in a Glass Bottle That You Bring Back to them to Recycle!!!, Milk!.  ( This stuff tastes good.  They come to the Union Square Market Friday and Saturday, and you will soon understand why each bit of that long title means good things for everyone.

1. Whole milk – yes, more fat; however, this extra fat keeps you fuller longer and tastes better and creamier.  The extra 30 calories probably won’t kill you, and it’ll keep you from rushing to your cabinet for more food.  Plus, being while milk means that it can be 

2. Unhomogenized – milk you buy at the store usually is stirred around at quite high speeds so that all of the little fat droplets are the same size as the little carbohydrate droplets, so the milk doesn’t separate (hence, cream-on-top). First off- whole fat milk is the only kind that can be unhomogenized, because you can only take the fat out of the milk by homogenizing it.  Also — unhomogenized milk is supposedly better for you because it is much easier for your poor intestines to digest! And since most people have a little lactose-intolerance in them, this is definitely a good thing.

3. Organic/Hormone Free – yay! These cows are fed non-GM foods, not given any hormones to pass along to you, and are treated in a kind way!  Organic is an important one for milk ( – a little bombastic, but they get the point across).

4. Grass Fed – these cows are outside! In the sun! absorbing Vitamin D! Which will get passed on to you when you eat this ricotta! (see Sally Fallon’s Traditional Diets). And – being grass fed means that they are not being fed grain and corn, so they’re getting the proper ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids, which is very important to our very off-kilter current ratios of the fatty acids.

5. Light Pasteurization – see more from Sally Fallon about the benefits of raw milk, but since it’s illegal in New York State to buy/sell raw milk, we’ll have to stick with slowly and lowly heated milk that will hopefully preserve some of those yummy enzymes.  

6. Glass Bottle- yay! Not throwing out plastic, plus, if I return the bottle to them, I get a dollar back! So they can keep reusing bottles, and my milk becomes a little cheaper!


Wow, that milk actually is worth the title!  Up next for this milk will be trying to make my own yogurt.  Yay Probiotics! 


I hope you can give this recipe (and this milk farm!) a try.  It’s definitely worth the effort when you get to eat warm, freshly made cheese.  (By the way – mix with chocolate chips and sweetener of choice for the most delicious cannoli cream!)


1 Comment so far
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sounds yummy!

Comment by Dan

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