Despite the fact that cheese making skills have fallen out of the household skill set of everyday Americans, making your own homemade ricotta does not take years of home economic classes nor hours of scouring YouTube videos or blog posts online. I’m always surprised when some food item or other I’ve taken for granted turns out to take less active time to make than a trip to the store to buy it from the grocery store (like crackers, or peasant loaf). Using fresh, local ingredients, home made ricotta is going to be orders of magnitude better than anything you’re going to buy in the store. Plus, you get a nice little by product called whey that you can use in other food stuffs, like your own bread.
The simplicity of this technique from the April 2014 issue of bon appétit spurred me to finally try my hand at making my own fresh cheese. This recent batch was made with a combination of fresh lemon juice and apple cider vinegar as the catalyst for curdling, and the milk and cream were both from the Fresh Breeze Organic Dairy out of Lynden, Washington. The result was an incredibly rich ricotta, tasty enough to just eat by the spoonful, although it ended up going onto a Swiss chard and mushroom Galette (the recipe also conveniently from the April issue).
NOTE: Oddly, the online version is missing the ingredient list – which is simply 2 cups whole milk, 1 cup heavy cream, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or distilled white vinegar, although I’ve found I can use apple cider vinegar, and suspect any vinegar with enough acidity and a pleasurable flavor will do the trick.