We’re not strangers to the DIY lifestyle around here. We built our own dining room table, bake our own bread, tiled our bathroom (God knows how or why) by ourselves, so it probably comes as no surprise to anyone that I even dabbled in cheese-making once. Why not?
If you haven’t seen it, you should definitely check out Williams-Sonoma’s agrarian section. They’ve got a ton of interesting little kits for random culinary and gardening experiments. The possibilities are endless. Make your own butter. Grow your own sprouts. Brew your own beer. And yes, make your own cheese.
Inspired, I started Googling around on how we could make our own cheese sans a kit in the hope that maybe we could do it even cheaper than WS. In retrospect, we should have just bought the kit. I think it’s worth it for a newb like me. Not wanting to splurge on organic goat’s milk (which makes goat cheese… in case you couldn’t figure that out), I decided to just go for an attempt at making homemade ricotta and even planned a big mushroom lasagna to use it in. So here’s the process.
- 2 quarts whole milk (avoid ultra-pasteurized)
- 1 cup heavy cream (avoid ultra-pasteurized)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Line a sieve with a layer of cheese cloth.
- Slowly bring the milk, cream and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Make sure to stir occasionally to prevent any scorching.
- Add the lemon juice and stir constantly for 2 minutes – it will curdle.
- Pour mixture into the sieve and let drain for about an hour.
That’s it. It’s super easy. Store the cheese in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (so basically only make it when you’re ready to use it). We made our lasagna the next night.
Thoughts? Even though I made sure not to use ultra-pasteurized (UP) milk, the heavy cream was UP, so the final yield of cheese was pretty low. I also didn’t use fresh lemon juice opting for the squeeze bottle store-bought stuff instead. Since the yield was low, we had to buy some cheese from the store in order to have enough for the lasagna. This gave us a chance to do a little taste-testing and the difference is unbelievable. The homemade version was fluffier/lighter and had a much fresher taste that what you buy in the store. I definitely recommend making your own if you have the time.
Anyone else read this post with Giada’s voice in your head? Makes me shiver, but I can’t help myself. Jump to 1:22 for the glorious pronunciation.