Whole Milk Ricotta
This soft, creamy Italian cheese is often used in ravioli and lasagna. It’s also wonderful eaten on its own or spread on toast.
1. In a large pot, heat 1 gallon of whole milk to 185 degrees, stirring to prevent scorching. (Use the best milk you can afford—you’ll really notice the flavor in fresh cheese.)
2. Stir in ½ cup fresh lemon juice and remove from heat.
3. Cover the pot for 15 minutes. Whey should be clear and the curds fluffy white. (If not, add 2 tablespoons more of lemon juice and let sit 5 more minutes.)
4. Line a colander with two layers of fine weave cheesecloth or a dish towel (not the fuzzy kind!). Ladle the curds into the cloth.
5. Tie the opposite corners of the cheesecloth into a knot.
6. Hang the curds to drain for 30 minutes.
7. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week.
Used in Spanish, Mexican, and South American cooking, this cheese is frequently seen crumbled on tacos or stuffed into enchiladas. It’s also great with fruit and honey or jam. It doesn’t melt when cooked. (Not to be confused with queso dip!)
1. Same recipe, just replace the lemon juice with ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar.
2. At the end, drain the cheese for 2 hours or more until firm. Refrigerate 1 hour to set.
The main ingredient in Indian dishes like saag paneer and palak paneer, this non-melting cheese is great for frying, on kebabs, or stuffing into samosas.
1. Same recipe, but bring the milk to a boil before adding the lemon juice.
2. After hanging the curds, place the bag on a plate. Put a small saucepan filled with water on top of the curds. Press for 2 to 3 hours. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to set.