Ricotta Cheese

Circle B Kitchen

Makes about 3 cups of cheese

1 gallon whole milk (organic)

1/3 cup white vinegar

1 tsp salt

Heat the milk in a large, heavy-bottomed pan until it reaches 185 degrees (this can take 1/2 hour or so). It's best to stir as much as possible to keep the milk from burning on the bottom. I use a heat diffuser under my heavy Le Crueset pot and have no problems with burning. Remove from the heat, add the vinegar and salt and stir gently just to mix. Cover the pot and let sit for 2 hours to allow the curds to fully develop. Do not stir, or the ricotta will have a grainy texture.

Line a colander with cheesecloth. Pour or ladle the mixture into the colander carefully and let the cheese drain for 1 to 2 hours, depending on how dry you want your ricotta.

When the ricotta has drained, transfer it to a bowl, break it up and stir. Store the ricotta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

If your cheesecloth is really tight-woven, you may have to hang it in order to get it to drain. I usually do this. Just pull the ends of your cheesecloth together, tie it up with some kitchen twine and tie it to a faucet over the sink or over a bowl. It drains pretty quickly.