When we’ve made it ourselves, fresh ricotta is simply better than what is found on store shelves. It is a different experience altogether to eat warm freshly-made ricotta as the foundation of a dessert, or as a high-protein savoury treat. Even after being refrigerated, this fresh cheese made at home with Thermomix is so versatile that you will be inspired to find new ways for using it regularly while saving money.
Making fresh cheese at home saves 50%-60% off the price of store-bought varieties.
The food shops in my city sell ricotta for about $16/kg. But the Thermomix recipe below (using whole milk and light cream) reduces the cost to $6.50/kg.
Make fresh cheese in less than 20 minutes!
True ricotta is the result of a adding acid to whey, the by-product of making cheese. But ricotta (like paneer and mascarpone) can also be made easily at home by adding acid to whole milk. (Unlike paneer, ricotta is drained, not pressed.) We find great discrepancies in the many online instructions for how to make ricotta at home. There are differences in: the recommended temperature (75°C-95°C/170ºF-200ºF type of acid used (vinegar or lemon juice), and draining time (10-120 minutes). Frankly, it’s confusing. For this reason I decided to create a customized Thermomix version that is quick, performs reliably, and delivers a soft curd suitable for a variety of uses.
This ricotta-styled soft cheese is similar to the German quark of my childhood. It can be used like a cottage cheese, or blended further by Thermomix to a cream-cheese substitute. Consider using fresh cheese in lasagna, cannoli, cheesecake recipes, dips, as a salad topping, and blended with herbs in colorful Veggie Spirals. The only thing you can’t do with acidified fresh cheese, is to keep it in the fridge for long periods. This is a perishable cheese that will keep about 4-5 days at the most. But it’s so easy to make, you can just make it as you need it!
- 1500 g (52.9 oz) whole milk
- 200 g (7 oz) light cream (I use 10% coffee cream)
- ¼-½ tsp salt (optional)
- 50 g (1.8 oz) white vinegar (lemon juice may be substituted, but results vary due to different acidic levels between lemons)
- Insert butterfly. Place milk and cream in Thermomix bowl and heat about 16 minutes/90°C/195ºF/speed 2. Turn off the Thermomix as soon as the red 90°C/195ºF light becomes solid. (Time may vary depending on the temperature of your fridge/milk.) Make sure the cap is on the lid to ensure proper heating, and that your milk/cream has reached 90°C/195ºF before going to next step. In the last few seconds add the salt so it mixes in.
- Keeping the butterfly in the Thermomix, set for 1 minute/soft stir – speed 1 (no heat) while gradually pouring vinegar through hole in lid. (Remember that 50 g (1.8 oz) of vinegar is half the measuring cap, so there is no need to pre-measure your vinegar… just half fill the cap and pour slowly. After one minute you should see separation between the solids and whey.
- Allow to rest for another minute or so, to ensure curd formation. Remove butterfly and gently transfer the solids to a jelly bag (I use these) or strainer lined with fine cloth. (If using regular cheesecloth, use several dampened layers to create a finer mesh for holding the loose ricotta.) For soft and lovely ricotta-style fresh cheese, it’s important to transfer gently at this point. I recommend scooping or ladling solids from the Thermomix to the cheesecloth, rather than dumping all once. Allow to drain for at least 10 minutes before using. (Drain longer for a dryer cheese.) At that point, you can serve the ricotta as a warmed dessert, or refrigerate for later use. It will keep a about 4 days in the fridge but fresher tastes better.
- Use these (non-Thermomix) sites to learn more about the science and technique of making ricotta: Homemade Ricotta, Home-made Ricotta on About.com, The Food Lab: How to Fresh Ricotta in Five Minutes or Less
- See more about making yogurt and cheese with Thermomix >
- Blend ricotta with herbs and use as a yummy filling in Veggie Spirals!
- As suggested by Mara’s comment below, I recently made a batch of this ricotta-style cheese using only goat’s milk (1700 g/60 oz) and without cream. Though the texture was less creamy, the very subtle goat milk flavour was just right!
- Consider blending ricotta with whipped cream for a rich cake topping — see a photo on the SuperKitchenMachine facebook page.
- If your Thermomix kitchen doesn’t yet have nut milk or jelly bags, check out what’s available in the Kitchen Kit shop. (These bags have so many uses when cooking from scratch!)