This recipe makes a rich, full fat ricotta cheese. Feel free to substitute reduced fat dairy if you wish. The final product will be a little less creamy, but still much superior to store bought.
A word of caution: Do not stir the warming milk too vigorously or too often. The curds will be small and the ricotta will be grainy and thin.
4 quarts whole milk
1 quart buttermilk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1. In a large, heavy Dutch oven, combine the milk, buttermilk, and cream.
2. Cook over medium heat, gently stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer reaches 170°, about 20 minutes. Stop stirring.
3. Continue to cook until the mixture reads 190°. Immediately remove the pan from heat.
4. Line a colander with 5 layers of dampened cheesecloth.
5. Using a slotted spoon, gently separate the curds into the colander, discarding the whey. Drain over a bowl for 5 minutes.
6. Gather the edges of cheesecloth together and tie the bundle together with kitchen twine, leaving twine tails to tie over the handle of a wooden spoon.
7. Suspend the bundle over a large bowl or the corner of the kitchen sink and allow to drain until the whey no longer drips.
8. Transfer the curds to a clean large bowl and sprinkle on the salt. Gently toss with a fork to combine.
9. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate in a smaller air-tight container. Store refrigerated up to 4 days.
Yield: about 4 cups