Make your own ricotta
The Chowhound Team split this post from the Pacific Northwest board
It's actually really easy to make your own fresh ricotta. Just heat up 8 cups milk and 1 cup heavy cream in a stainless steal pot (the best quality milk and cream you can get makes it tastier). Bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Add 3 1/2 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and stir. It will curdle and separate into curds and whey. Strain through a fine mesh sieve or a a colander lined with cheesecloth - you will end up with about 3 cups of ricotta. Season with salt to taste and chill. It takes only a few minutes and probably costs less than buying it at the store!
I've used these recipes for years and I can't remember where I got them but along with the ricotta I have:
Queso Blanco (Panir)
1 gal milk
1/4 c vinegar
1. Bring the cow’s milk to 180˚F (82.2˚C) over a direct heat source and hold it there for 4 minutes.
2. Stir in the vinegar until the whey and curds separate.
3. Pour the whole mixture into a cheesecloth-lined colander, and tie the four ends of the cheesecloth together.
4. Allow sitting for at least 3 hours until no whey flows from the bag. If a harder cheese is desired, the curds may be placed in a cheese press to expel more whey while allowing the curds to knit.
5. Unwrap and store in plastic wrap; it will last up to a week.
Note: This cheese can then be cut and cooked by frying or even by deep-frying without melting or loosing its shape. It can even be used in a stir-fry.
1qt light or single cream
1/4 tsp tartaric acid
1. Using indirect heat in a double boiler, heat the light cream to 180˚F (82.2˚C). Stir in the tartaric acid for several minutes.
2. The cream should thicken to what looks like a custard with curd floating in it; if it does not, add a few drops more tartaric acid, but be very careful not to add too much, as this will make the cheese very grainy.
3. Drain the cheese over a cheesecloth-lined colander for about an hour.
4. Now place the cheesecloth into a bowl and chill overnight.
5. The cheese can be put into a container and stored until needed. It will last for 2 weeks.
1 juiced lemon
2 oz heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
1. Bring the buttermilk to 170˚F (76.7˚C) and add the lemon juice.
2. Pour into cheesecloth-lined colander and tie, allowing the cheese to hang until the bag has stopped draining.
3. Refrigerate overnight and remove the cheese; add the cream and salt.