- 1/2 gallon whole milk – skim or 2% will not work in this application
- 1/2 cup cultured buttermilk
- 1/4 lemon juice – fresh squeezed
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil – very flavorful such as Piro
- high-quality olive oil – for serving
- salt and pepper – for serving
- warm focaccia – for serving
- large pot
- wooded spoon
- deep bowl
- Line a sieve with a large cheesecloth, folded over itself at least 3 times. Place the sieve over a deep bowl. Make sure to use non-reactive materials like wood or plastic.
- In a large heavy-bottom saucepan, over medium heat, add all the milk and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon. Taking it slow to ensure the milk does not scorch.
– If you have a thermometer, heat to 185 F. If you do not have a thermometer, you need to heat until you see little bubbles close to the edge of the pot and a slight film begins to form. This will take about 15 minutes.
- Adjust the heat to low. Add the lemon juice. Slowly stir the mixture for 2 minutes. You will notice the curds (the ricotta) separating from the whey (yellowish liquid).
- Remove from heat and over pot. Let stand for about 20 minutes.
- Carefully ladle, with a slotted spoon your ricotta into the cheesecloth-lined sieve.
- For creamy ricotta, let it sit 3-5 minutes, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the ricotta, and whip with a hand mixer or small food processor. Taste and adjust salt and as needed.
- Serve immediately with warm bread, such as focaccia, or cover and refrigerate up to 4 days. Ricotta will become denser the longer it’s left in the refrigerator.
- If the curds are rather small and not completely formed, reheat the liquid and add additional lemon juice while stiring gently.
- There should be a clear definition between the curds and whey (remaining liquid).
Keywords: whole milk, ricotta cheese, Italian, dip, appetizer