I needed ricotta for a fig cheesecake, but at the supermarket, I realized I could not decipher a word on cheese containers (ie: what kind of cheese would this be?). Luckily, I had spotted some delicious looking fresh (raw! alluring! dangerous!) milk at the market, so I decided to make homemade ricotta. As for homemade cheese, I’d only ever attempted the easy mozzarella recipe from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and it had turned out rather bland. But, being in the adventurous spirit, I was excited to try again.
In the planning phase, I learned a lot from Serious Eats. I learned more about working with unpasteurized vs pasteurized milk (the latter needs higher temps) than it turned out I needed, as the fresh milk I coveted at the market turned out, in fact, to be yogurt. I returned to the supermarket looking for boring, regular old pasteurized milk and settled on a carton with black and white cow spots on it, just to be sure (3,2% means full milk right?). I then heated 4 cups of milk until they were just simmering and added 4 Tbl acid. I tried one batch with lemon juice and one with orange muscat vinegar, both of which slightly influenced the taste, but not in a bad way. Next, I strained as much whey from the curds as possible, and transferred them to a dish cloth to drain for 20 mins or so.
Tada! Cheese! Phew.