How to make ricotta cheese – A day at an Italian dairy

Hands up how many of you have actually tasted proper fresh ricotta?

I have never yet managed to find the real thing away from Italy.

I have tried but all I can get is a packaged tasteless and refined version which is a completely different product altogether. Although  commercial ricotta can be quite handy as it lasts longer and it is very versatile in the kitchen, it is light years away from the precious fresh product and if consumed on its own it is pretty much tasteless.

Now let’s think of real ricotta: a sweet soft fluffy cheese that melts in your mouth and with a deep milky almost buttery fresh taste. You spread it on fresh ciabatta bread and when you sink your teeth you hear the crunch of the bread which combined with the ricotta is simply divine, it will send you straight to heaven. And what’s great about it is that it is light and just perfect if you are on a diet.

Now, let’s look at how to make ricotta. The process is simple.

Literally the word ricotta means “re-cooked” as it is made with whey following what’s left during the process of cheese making. It is formed by coagulating the proteins that remain after the casein has been used to make cheese.

milk curding - ricotta making

Here you can see the milk which has coagulated

coagulated milk

The whey is then collected using a bowl and it is put in a stainless steel container

collecting whey

A bowl of milk is added (but this is not always necessary) to the whey to add creaminess to the ricotta

adding milk

The whey is then heated to a temperature of 85 Degrees Celsius (near boiling).

heating up whey

And now the chemistry trick: lactic acid which coagulates the whey when it is added

adding lactic acid

And 30 seconds later…


Ricotta is formed and harvested using a colander

harvesting ricotta

harvesting ricotta

Soft, fluffy and delicious and with no additives.. this is proper ricotta!

fresh ricotta

And now check out my “homemade” video! I hope you enjoy it!

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14 Responses to How to make ricotta cheese – A day at an Italian dairy

  1. gloria

    I love ricotta!

  2. Louise

    Hi Alida:)
    I have actually tasted fresh home made ricotta. It was many, many years ago. My uncle would not eat any other kind of ricotta unless it was freshly made. He had friends in Brooklyn who would make him ricotta whenever he wanted it which was often, lol…I would love to try to make it at home one day. You could probably make it perfectly:)

    This series is so interesting and your video, well, excellent! Thank you so much for sharing this expereince with us Alida. Now, if only we had some fresh ricotta to share:)

    • Alida

      Thank you Louise. I know what you mean about your uncle. If you try proper ricotta then you don’t want to eat anything different!

  3. Dottie Sauchelli Balin

    Dear Alida,
    Wow is this cool to see the process of how proper Ricotta is made. I love your post and what I find amazing is that he does this all by hand, no machines. This is the old fashioned way and I think it is so nice to see this practice, still being used. My dad never made this kind of Ricotta, but what he did make was what you would call Ricotta Salata. A different consistency and a different type of Ricotta. Gosh, it really looks so creamy and delicious. I love Ricotta and enjoy it even on a piece of toast. Thank you for sharing this process and you did a great job on the video. Have a wonderful rest of the week..looking forward to your next post…
    Dottie 🙂

    • Alida

      Yes, I couldn’t believe it either that they still used this traditional methods. That’s why their ricotta and cheese tastes so fabulous! x

  4. Diana

    REAL Ricotta!!! HEAVEN! You are so right about the real thing… mother-in-law regularly has it at her house…..divine!

    • Alida

      Grazie Diana!

  5. la cucina di Molly

    Adoro la ricotta, però quella artigianale! Ogni settimana, quando vado da mio fratello a Cassano delle murge vado dal caseificio dove producono una ricotta favolosa, il più delle volte è ancora calda ed ha un sapore diverso da quella confezionata, molto cremosa e si scioglie in bocca, è una vera delizia! Un abbraccio!

    • Alida

      Oh chissa’ che delizia! E dalle tue parti e’ particolarmente buona!!! Mandamene un’po! 🙂

  6. Alida

    Oh I certainly did!!

  7. Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours

    Lovely post! I went to see Grana Padano being made last year, and it is very similar in lots of ways to the ricotta

    • Alida

      It is interesting as it is the same process, amazing how many things you can do with milk.

  8. 2pots2cook

    Absolutely marvelous ! So simple yet so tasty !

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