Homemade Ricotta Cheese! Easier than you think!

homemade ricotta cheese recipe

“Cheese, I just love cheese! Really I do!!”

Does anyone else remember this cartoon? A little female mouse declaring her love of the good stuff? I remember watching this cartoon on 1001 Rabbit Tales as a young child and it’s the one line that has stuck with me throughout the years.

I can’t say the word ‘Cheese’ without putting on my best southern belle accent ‘I love cheese, really I do!’

Once you’ve tried my recipe for homemade ricotta you’ll never buy the supermarket version again. It’s almost too easy to make it at home and the taste is out of this world. Eat it warm, eat it cold, bake it, spread it, sweet or savoury.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

  • 2 litres full cream milk
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or plain white vinegar

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Pour the milk, cream and salt into a saucepan. Heat the milk, stirring it constantly to keep it from scorching on the bottom. Just before it comes to the boil, add the lemon juice or vinegar, stir it once only and let it simmer it 1-2 minutes only. Remove from the heat and let the pot sit undisturbed for 30 minutes.

seconds after the lemon juice was added

seconds after the lemon juice was added

Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth (minimum 2 layers) and place it over a large bowl. Pour the curds and whey gently into the colander and let the curds strain for at least an hour. The liquid collected in the bowl is whey.

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After straining at room temperature for an hour, you’ll have a tender, spreadable ricotta. At two hours, it will be spreadable but a bit firmer, almost like cream cheese.

I usually discard the whey into our vegetable patch, however there are many uses for it from baking with it to bathing in it a la Cleopatra

Homemade ricotta cheese will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge, in a sealed container.

homemade ricotta cheese recipe

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Smelly, flavoursome Shanklish

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Ever walked around your fancy delicatessen and seen something you have no idea what to do with?

I love deli’s. There is a smoky, salty smell that hovers over the counters and isles from the pork laden meat cuts to the mouldy creamy cheeses.

One of my favourite varieties of cheese is Shanklish.
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Shank What?!! I hear you say

Shanklish is a salty pasteurised Cow or Sheep’s milk based cheese, similar to feta in consistency that is rolled into balls and covered in dried herbs, (usually Zaatar or thyme) smokey paprika and chilli that is then left to age and dry. It is very common in Middle Eastern cuisine and is served in Restaurants as a mezze or antipasto option.

So what do you do with Shanklish? I like to unwrap the ball and smash it with my fork into little pieces until its flaky. Add some diced ripe tomatoes and shallots and drizzle it with lots of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It is traditionally mopped up with soft delicious Lebanese Bread
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So tell me dear reader, what deli item would you like to brave and buy one day, but you’re not quite sure how you should use it?