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Monday, January 7, 2013

Ricotta Salata    

“Ricotta” refers to a soft Italian cheese made from the whey of milk. So in true Italian style, you can use whey ( left over from making cheese) to make Ricotta. BUT.. if this is your first attempt rather use milk , and attempt using the left over whey for your next Ricotta making endeavour (:  Ricotta Salata however is ricotta cheese that has been dried and salted. It us a hard cheese that is delicious with salads and pastas.

I hope you had a read through my previous post “ A crash course in cheese making”. Now you are ready to attempt your first yummy cheese!!  This is the recipe I started with and on  difficulty levels it ranks ‘easy’ and you’ll be surprised how easy it really is.Italians typically use Ricotta in Lasagne and Cheesecakes.

You will need

-    A pot
-    A wooden spoon
-    A strainer.
-    A cooking thermometer is best, but I actually just use  a room thermometer (: just make sure it can go up to 100’C
-    A cheese cloth
-    A cheese press mould


-        2 cups full cream milk / low fat milk. 
       (remember not ULTRA   PASTEURIZED)
-        2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar/lemon juice
-        ¼ teaspoon salt


Step 1- Pour milk into saucepan, and whisk frequently. Heat to 75 ˚ C, and take the pot off the stove.

Step 2- Add vinegar / lemon juice. Do not whisk, but rather slowly stir with a wooden spoon. The milk will start to form a curd. 
( If you stir too much you will break up the curd)

Step 3- Leave the pot off the stove and allow the curds to rest for 25 min. This allows the curd to set.

Step 4- Pour curds into a strainer, lined with  cheese cloth .

Step 5-  Salt the ricotta, and then let it drain for 30 min – 4 hours. You will know the curd is ready when most of the whey 
( or yellowish substance) has drained out, and the ricotta is clumps together. 

At this stage you have made yummy ricotta – use it in lasagne, on a salad or in cheesecake.

Step 6- To make Ricotta Salata - 

Place the cheese cloth in a cheese mould. You can use any plastic container and make small holes in it to allow the whey to drain out.  I just improvised and bought a (clean and new) kitchen sink drainer . It works perfectly and already has holes in it. (:

Step 7 – Place a small plate / or an extra clean sink drainer on the cheese mould . ( so that the weight does not press directly into the cheese) Place a weight on the cheese overnight. This helps to further drain the whey form the cheese and make a delicious hard cheese. Place a 2-3 kg weight on the cheese , and leave it overnight.

Again I improvised and used my couch as a weight (:

Step 8- The cheese should not be noticeably firmer. Remove it from the mould and wrap it in cling wrap. Leave it in the fridge.

Step 9- From now on the cheese must stay in the fridge. For the next week you need to unwrap your cheese once a day and sprinkle 1 tsp of salt over the outside of the cheese. This is to absorb any more whey that leaks out.

Step 10 – After 1 week of treating your baby- leave it in the fridge to rest and mature. After another 2-3 weeks you will have a beautifully nutty, and creamy Ricotta Salata!

There you go!! Your very own cheese! Enjoy it with on a lovely fresh salad , with A  creamy Rosa tomato pasta or combined with Rosemary and Olives for a delicious chicken stuffing.

Hope you enjoy making this cheese as much as I do!

See you ladle


  1. Dankie An3s! (: Nou moet jy dit net probeer maak..

  2. DEFINITELY gonna try this!
    Do I have to use fresh milk or can I use box or long-life milk?
    What can I use if I do not have cheesecloth?
    Where do I buy cheesecloth, the hardware store?
    How do I "salt" the cheese at step 5?

    PS: Can't read the bright green writing!

  3. Hi Ciel. Thanks for your message. Some people say you CAN use UHT or long life milk to make cheese that does NOT require Rennet ( used to coagulate milk curds, like when making Mozzarella) However, your curd yield will be much lower THAN if you were to use fresh milk pasteurized at a low heat for a longer period of time. Please read through my previous post on ' A crash course in cheese making ( I wrote about what type of milk to use..)

    Ok, Cheesecloth.. If you don't have a cheese cloth just use any muslin type cloth, that is not too thick.. You need the whey to drain out of the curds..
    ( just make sure that it has been sterilized in boiling water ) For my first cheese cloth I actually just used a thin dish cloth (:

    If you want to buy a cheese cloth, go and have a look at to order online

    To 'salt' your cheese just rub a teaspoon of salt around the outside of the cheese.
    Hope it helps (:

  4. Hi Cecile!! Sorry , for step 5 .. 'SALT; the ricotta means you just 'add' salt to the ricotta, and mix it in gently..!