Anyway, I say all that to say that any time I get the chance to make something from scratch using whole ingredients, it usually costs me less in the long run. Ricotta cheese is one such food that I was stoked to make on my own! Aside from the package of cheesecloth (which I needed to have in my kitchen anyhow!), making ricotta costs the same as a gallon of milk! Granted, you use salt and vinegar, but those are staples in my kitchen and not an extra cost to make cheese. Plus, making your own cheese is tons of fun!! This is will take about 5 hours, but it does all the work, and you get to go do something else while it is making itself. I would encourage you to have a plan of what you will do with your luscious homemade ricotta cheese once it's done; it will last only about a week in your fridge. :)
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Source: Leslie Sarna
(Yields about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of cheese)
1 gallon of whole milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup distilled white wine vinegar (or regular white vinegar will work!)
*I easily halved this when I made it the first time.
- Pour the milk into a large stock pot and heat at medium low slowly so it doesn't burn.
- Stir frequently. Heat the milk till it reaches 180 degrees.
- Off heat and pour in the salt and vinegar. It will begin to curdle immediately.
- Give it a gentle stir and cover. Let sit covered for 2 hours.
- When the time is up, place a strainer over a large bowl and line it with cheesecloth.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the solid pieces from the milk. Let drain for another two hours. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. *The leftover liquid is called whey, and can be used for a variety of purposes! I'm still investigating on those, but a good use of it is as a substitute for any liquid in baking. Store in the fridge for up to 6 months.