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Best supermarket ricotta?

Hi everyone. I'm looking on opinions on ricotta cheese brands -- ones that are pretty easily found in regular supermarkets. I was making a basic baked ziti the other day and made the mistake of buying Target's store brand (Market Pantry, I think). It was low fat/low moisture. Maybe that had something to do with it? It was absolutely awful. I've never paid much attention to the ricotta brand that I buy but this experience told me that it probably makes a big difference. Also, I don't care if it's low fat or not -- just want it to taste rich, creamy, and smooth. The Target brand taste and consistency made me think of wallpaper paste.

Many thanks in advance for your opinions.

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  1. I love love love Biazzo ricotta. It is rich, thick, and creamy. Definitely the best available in our local supermarkets.

    1. Biazzo or Sorrento are the two brands I buy and they're both fine, but I've pretty much given up on buying ricotta since it's so incredibly easy to make at home (just milk, salt, vinegar, a little cream and a thermometer). Cheaper than buying it, too, and the flavor is incomparably delicious.

      1 Reply
      1. re: biondanonima

        It takes a lot of milk, though, doesn't it?

      2. I think I have made it more than purchasing it. There is one that I've bought, in the red, green, white container.... not sure which brand it is. We have limited choices here, just a couple of brands.

        1 Reply
        1. re: wyogal

          Biazzo

        2. rich, creamy, and smooth
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          Definately gol with whole milk ricotta and if you have an Italian deli nearby shop for ricotta from the deli case as opposed to the dairy case.

          1. Organic Valley. Otherwise, just read the labels and stay away from anything with gums (Xanthan Gum, Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum) or "stabilizers". Ricotta should only list milk, salt and possibly vinegar as ingredients.

            1. You guys are great (as always)! Many thanks. I will look for these brands, pay attention to the ingredients, only buy whole milk ricotta, and I am even now tempted to try my hand at making some on my own. Thank you!

              8 Replies
              1. re: lafarrell

                Yes, make your own! So much easier than going to the store to buy some!

                1. re: wyogal

                  I second this. The first time I made it I was surprised at how easy it was. I've looked around and my go to recipe is a gallon of whole milk, maybe 1/2-1 cup of cream(I find it makes it, uh, creamier), 1 1/2 cups plain ol white vinegar, and salt to taste. Bring the milk/cream to 160-165, add salt and vinegar, stir it just to get everything distributed, and you should see it curdle immediately. Take it off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes to finish curdling then drain to the texture you want and use. Drain with cheesecloth or a fine-mesh chinois if you have one. Heck, I've made it rather inebriated and I've gotten great results so it's quite quick and easy.

                  If you are going to purchase it though, just drain it first, in my experience most ricottas are really waterlogged.

                  1. re: medjool

                    That's a lot of vinegar! I sometimes use buttermilk instead of vinegar. But yes, oh so creamy. And when it is fresh and still warm, with honey drizzled over, yummmmmmm!

                    1. re: wyogal

                      Oops, make that one cup of vinegar. It's worked for me, no vinegar aftertaste. However, have you had success with smaller amounts? And that buttermilk idea sounds cool, might have to try that sometime.

                      1. re: medjool

                        I've only done the amount using a gallon of milk. (or almost a gallon, a couple of glasses short of a gallon). If I want to make it and have no buttermilk on hand I'll use vinegar.

                        1. re: medjool

                          When I make ricotta at home I use 4 cups half & half, bring to 190 degrees, take off the heat and add 3 tbsp of vinegar. Let it sit for 5 min w/o stirring. I let it strain through cheesecloth anywhere from 15 min to an hour. Then I stir in about 2tbsp of heavy whipping cream & a pinch of salt. It's a perfect amount for a pan of lasagna or served with grilled bread.

                          I've used the leftover whey in a bread recipe with good results.

                        2. re: wyogal

                          if, after you drizzle the honey over it, you also sprinkle it with some orange zest too, you will be in heaven.

                          1. re: westsidegal

                            oh yum. yum, yum,

                  2. Calabro makes a delicious whole milk ricotta. I have found it in Italian grocery stores and delis and at Whole Foods.

                    Edited to add link http://www.calabrocheese.com/

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: EM23

                      Calabro and Scala are the only ones I can tolerate anymore. If it doesn't say "Old Fashioned" it's just no good to me, at least recently. Don't know what they are doing wrong, but the bigger brands have no flavor and terrible texture once you get used to the good stuff.

                      I bought Pollio out of desperation on Christmas Eve (I tried 3 stores and they were all out of every brand) and it RUINED my lasagna. I am getting ready to make my own for the first time. The recipe I have says to just give a few minutes in the microwave, then let it drain in cheesecloth, I'm hoping it's that easy.

                      1. re: coll

                        Ruined lasagna is sad. I hope your homemade version turns out well Coll.

                        1. re: EM23

                          I'll let you know, I have high hopes!

                      2. re: EM23

                        Calabro is indeed good but I think only available in the North East.

                      3. I generally buy whole milk ricotta but sometimes find that what I'm about to use for a nice lasagna is kind of grainy. My sister told me to run it through the food processor and it made it much smoother--also a good time to add s & p and herbs etc.

                        1. Now you all have me curious: what's your favorite (easy would be nice) way to make ricotta at home? Thanks!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: lafarrell

                            There are lots of recipes out there, I warm milk to 180F, add the vinegar or buttermilk. Take off heat, let sit, then strain. ta-da.
                            (can add salt, too)

                            1. re: wyogal

                              I don't quite understand. I make paneer this way and it clumps into big (semi-hard) clumps which is the way I want it. What do you do different that makes it firm up into the smallest of grain that comprises a ricotta type.

                              My recipe for paneer: 1/2 gallon of milk, heat to 180, add 2-4T of vinegar (or lemon if you wish) until it clumps, take out with large colander-type scoop and drain.

                              1. re: Rella

                                Maybe I stir it too much and it breaks up the curd. I can't just leave it alone.

                          2. http://foodcurated.com/2011/02/the-ki...

                            On Food Curated (my favorite video blog, btw) these two demonstrate how they make their ricotta product. lafarrell, while a commercial batch it's helpful to see the process. Good luck!

                            1. A brand that we're seeing now in Northern California is Piacci from Wisconsin. How do folks like it?

                              Ingredients: Sweet whey, whole milk, sweet cream, culture, vinegar, salt

                              http://www.piacci.com/cheese/ricotta

                              Owned by Grande Cheese Co,
                              http://www.insideview.com/directory/g...

                              1. I recently made a chard/prosciutto/ricotta tart that won praise from a group of Italian wine importers who cook together every week. I used Bellwether Farms sheep's milk fresh ricotta. Outlets at (plug in zip): http://www.bellwetherfarms.com/outlets/

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: rccola

                                  Oh my darling rccola, I burst out laughing on reading your post. Not because of anything humorous in what you've said, but because we'd had a pointed exchange over Bellwether's zip code plug-in a few days ago.
                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8783...

                                  But I've checked it now for some sample zip codes in CA and NY and it seems to be working just fine now. Whew!

                                  And yes, I use Bellwether Farms sheep ricotta myself as my preferred brand.

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                    Melanie, there is simply NO food you're not an expert in (in which you're not an expert--you're good at grammar, too). I never went on the Website before, having purchased the ricotta at the Bowl. I live a narrow sheltered life mostly from Alcatraz to Solano with only occasional forays into the wilds of Richmond to trek to Costco.

                                    I was very impressed with the cheese, having not used it before secondary to fear of lasagna thighs.

                                    1. re: rccola

                                      And now you've quipped something genuinely funny, more than one actually, and I thank you.

                                      You might try Judy Rodgers (Zuni Cafe) recipe for ricotta gnocchi. Watching the video is worthwhile for technique in forming the gnocchi.
                                      http://www.epicurious.com/video/chef-...

                                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                                        We are having the kitchen remodeled so, cooking-wise, I'm basically homeless. I was loving cooking and now I'm strangely not interested, as in: the day I make homemade pasta/gnocchi is the day the dawn comes up like thunder out of Belvedere 'cross the Bay.

                                2. I noticed Fairway (in NYC) offers Calabro ricotta. I dig it.