Ricotta isn't technically a cheese, it's a cheesemaking by-product. Here is a recipe for fresh ricotta, that's perfect served warm with toast or drizzled with runny honey or grape must.
- 1.5 litres full-fat milk
- 1 litre whey
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- pinch of salt flakes
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Standing time 20 minutes
Draining time 30 minutes - 2 hours
Rinse out a large saucepan (this will be prevent the milk from scorching), then combine the milk and whey in the pan. Bring it to just below the boil, then add the lemon juice and salt and mix well for 3–4 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, cover with a lid and stand at room temperature for 15–20 minutes to allow the mixture to coagulate and separate into curds and whey.
Line a ricotta mould or colander with a double layer of wet muslin, cheese cloth or a damp tea towel and set it over a large bowl. Ladle the liquid into the cloth and leave to drain for at least 30 minutes but no more than 2 hours. The longer you leave it to drain, the firmer it will become.
Remove the cheese from the cloth, then return it to the mould to emboss it with its wired pattern. Serve warm, spread on toast or drizzled with honey, or place it in an airtight container with a ladleful of whey to keep it moist and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days.
• The leftover whey can be frozen for up to 4 weeks and used to make fresh cheese or as a replacement for buttermilk.