Whole Lotta Ricotta

Homemade ricotta is wholly different from the store-bought alternative, but for the richest, most flavorful ricotta, use raw, grass-fed whole milk. I purchased some from Wholesome Dairy Farms at the Fair Food Farmstand, and it yielded much tastier results than a batch I made from pasteurized milk. This ricotta is pillowy and fluffy—great for breakfast with berries and a drizzle of honey.

Homemade Ricottastory and photo by Tenaya Darlington

Note: you’ll need cheesecloth and a candy thermometer

  • 1 g. fresh whole milk (ideally raw, and not ultra-pasteurized or homogenized)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice

Rinse a large stock pot with cold water to help prevent milk from sticking to the sides as it cooks. Pour milk into the pot and add salt. Heat gradually on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for 30 to 40 minutes. Be patient—the slower you heat the milk, the softer the curd.

When the milk begins to simmer, at around 180°F, remove the pot from the heat and gently stir in lemon juice. Stir just until combined, then let sit for 20 minutes.

Line a colander with cheese cloth—you may want to fold it in two and use a double thickness—then use a ladle to scoop the curds from the pot into the cloth. You can reserve the whey (it’s good for making pizza dough) or let it drain into the sink.

Let the ricotta drain until it has reached your desired consistency, anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Then refrigerate and use within three to five days.