Fresh ricotta requires good ingredients, and though I have made it with common brands of milk, if the milk is pasteurized using the UHT method (ultra-high temperature), you will have less ricotta, (less success). Using low fat or skimmed milk is not suggested as the results are even less.
Leftover whey is the greatest of bonuses, I use it to bake, as a tenderizer for meat, in protein shakes, pancakes, muffins and more. Where milk or water is needed, the whey can often replace them.
Gives app. 1 ½ – 2 cups ricotta
8 cups milk (full fat)
¼ cup lemon juice or white vinegar
4 tsp. sea salt
Arrange four layers of cheesecloth in a colander over a large bowl.
Place your pot over medium heat and add the milk and salt.
Place a candy or reliable thermometer into the pot and heat the milk to 200° F.
Remove from heat and add lemon juice or white vinegar, stir very gently, just to get the lemon juice incorporated, once or twice across the pot. (This is important!)
Wait 10 to 15 minutes.
Gently, pour the now curdled milk into the cheesecloth covered colander to catch the curds.
If you want a dryer ricotta, use twine to secure and hang the cheesecloth and ricotta above the bowl. You decide how wet or dry you want it. Wetter, looser ricotta for things like pizzas and drier, firmer ricotta for cannoli, cheesecake etc.... If you wrap the drained ricotta in cheese cloth and press it beneath a weighted plate in the refrigerator overnight, you can also make queso fresco, or other fresh farmer's cheese. This time around, I used it in my tortellini, receipe here.