Homemade ricotta. Why would anyone time the time make homemade cheese? What’s the point? Can’t you just buy it at the store and save yourself the hassle?
At least that’s what I would have previously said before I actually tried homemade ricotta at one of my favorite restaurants. Infinitely better – and now I’m hooked. At first glance when I spotted homemade ricotta with grilled bread on the busy menu it seemed ordinary and so unassuming I almost glazed right over it. But it was happy hour and half off and I do like bread with toppings…so why not?
Life changing – and trust me, I don’t throw that term around often. What came out from the kitchen was light and fluffy, unlike any ricotta I’d seen before. It was simply topped with a pinch of sea salt and olive oil and served with mammoth sized pieces of slightly charred bread that were chewy on the inside and perfectly crisp and smoky on the outside. The ricotta itself was airy, spread as easily and as perfectly as softened butter, and just completely melted in your mouth. Heaven. From that moment on I’ve been obsessed with the stuff; I can easily polish off a whole order myself and still crave more. So of course, I had to figure out how to make it at home.
And here we are.
After a little research and perusing through various cooking sites, I settled on this variation on the Epicurious website. It seemed pretty straightforward and had plenty of raving reviews so I was hopeful this was the recipe for me. Although, I do admit that even though the recipe seemed to be relatively easy, I just knew that it wasn’t going to be – we’ll call it a cook’s intuition.
I was completely, utterly, wrong.
Like me, I’m sure you would assume that re-creating something like this at home would be next to impossible even if the recipe declared otherwise. Much to my surprise, it was the opposite. The recipe was just as it appeared – humble in its preparation and ingredients. It required only whole milk, cream, lemon juice, and salt and comprised of just four easy steps to an end result of pure ricotta perfection.
I stuck with the original recipe, but doctored it up with a little lemon zest and fried rosemary for added flavor and texture then topped it off with a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt. Again, pure creamy, decadent ricotta perfection.
- 2 quarts whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Zest of two lemons
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 loaf ciabatta bread, sliced thick
- Set a sieve lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl. Bring milk and heavy cream to a boil in a large pot. Stir in lemon juice and turn the heat down to low. Stir mixture for three minutes until it has curdled. Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth lined sieve. Let set for an hour until all the liquid has drained.
- Heat olive oil in a small skillet over a medium flame. When the oil is hot, add the rosemary. Cook until crispy, about 10 seconds. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel. Place ricotta in serving dish, then mix in lemon zest and all of the rosemary except enough to garnish the top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and remaining rosemary. Served with grilled bread.
- For Bread: Cut ciabatta into large pieces, cut on a bias. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill until slightly charred, about 30 seconds per side. You could also use the burner on a gas stove or broil in the oven until slightly charred.