I first saw ricotta being made at a Thermomix demonstration some years ago, and took notes of the process for the cooking and mixing time which I follow.
I have also taken the lead from the wonderful Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage (UK) fame, who enriches his ricotta by adding cream and yoghurt to the milk, but you can use just milk if you prefer. In terms of milk, use whole milk as you will not get much ricotta by using skim milk. And as Hugh also points out, making ricotta is a perfect way to use up dairy that is close to its “use by” date, as you are extending the “life” of your dairy by making a product that can be used over the coming week.
I am a great advocate for seasoning so I add a reasonable amount of sea salt flakes, so although this is optional it does give a lovely lift to the final cheese.
I like to use white vinegar in lieu of lemon juice … I have had mixed results using lemon juice as the acid from fruit to fruit, and season to season, can differ, which can make a difference to how much curd you end up with. If you wish to use lemon juice then I recommend you use the juice of one whole lemon (aim for 50 to 60g juice per lemon) per litre of milk. And if using vinegar I recommend white vinegar instead of other varieties (apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, etc.) as they impart a slightly different flavour which does not marry well with ricotta in my view.
Keep the whey (there will be a lot of it) and use it in place of water when baking; or freeze into ice-cubes to use in smoothies; or use as the liquid when making soups, etc. It is too good and nutritious to throw away. Whey will keep for up to six weeks in a container in the fridge.
The ricotta will keep for up to a week in the fridge, but it is at its best when used within a few days.
NB: one of the aspects I love most about having my blog is the interaction it gives me with others outside of my “home”. One such person is a dear follower Peter … he kindly shared on my FB page his process and photos for making ricotta the traditional way. Peter has since agreed that I can reproduce his process here. Peter has also used his Thermomix to make ricotta, but likes to make more than the machine will allow (due to size constrains) so he usually doubles or triples the amounts in his recipe to get the volume he wants. I also decided to use Peter’s photo of the three ways he likes to serve ricotta because I thought it looked so beautiful: spread on sourdough and topped with either honey, olive oil, or balsamic … absolute heaven!
- 1600g whole milk
- 400g full fat cream
- 100g full fat plain yoghurt
- 2 tsp sea salt flakes
- 100g white vinegar
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Line your Veroma base with a cheese cloth or something similar, ensuring that you have an overhang
- Place it over a deep bowl so that the Veroma base is not sitting directly in it (you want space for the whey to drain off into the bowl without reaching the Veroma base)
- Get your white vinegar ready by placing a small jug onto the ™ lid and weighing in 100g … put aside until you are ready to use it
- Place milk, cream, yoghurt and salt into TM bowl and cook 18 minutes / 100 / speed 2 / no MC
- When the time has elapsed, pick up your jug of vinegar
- Turn Thermomix to speed 4 / no heat
- Through the hole in the lid add the vinegar and IMMEDIATELY turn the machine off
- Allow mix to rest in the TM bowl for 30 minutes to separate into curds and whey (you can do this for just 15 minutes, but I like to give it plenty of time)
- Use a large spoon to remove some of the ricotta from the TM bowl into the lined Veroma tray, then carefully pour the rest of the TM contents into the Veroma tray (I find it is easier to do this instead of trying to pour the whole contents of the TM bowl into the strainer all at once)
- Allow to drain for 5 to 30 minutes depending on how dry you like your ricotta … the dyer it is, the less weight you will have
- Transfer ricotta to an airtight container and store in the fridge
- Save the whey to use as described in the notes
- Pour the milk, cream and salt into a large nonreactive saucepan
- Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer
- Heat the milk to 190°F (approximately 90°C) stirring it occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom (basically bring it to the just starting to bubble stage)
- Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, then stir it once or twice, gently and slowly
- Let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes
- Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl (to catch the whey)
- Pour the curds and whey into the colander and let the curds strain for at least an hour
- I usually hang it from a kitchen drawer with the pan underneath
- At an hour, you’ll have a tender, spreadable ricotta
- The longer you leave it, the firmer it will get
- Eat the ricotta right away or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use