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commercial ricotta cheese.

fresh ricotta is becoming more and more difficult to buy.
please recommend a preferred commercially available brand
for baking cheesecake. thanks, J

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  1. Making fresh ricotta is pretty easy, if you are inclined to do so. Melissa Clark did a video on it a while back:

    1. I buy the store brand (shoprite) unless another brand is on sale. Works fine for eating, cooking, baking

      1. Polly-O is okay; maybe a little salty. When I discovered the ease of homemade, it was my Oh Happy Day.

        5 Replies
        1. re: mamachef

          +1 on the Polly-O. Also use their whole milk mozz on pizza.

          1. re: njmarshall55

            i used to use polly-o, but it has gone downhill since being bought out by kraft. i no longer buy supermarket ricotta. ever.

          2. re: mamachef

            I agree that Polly-O is okay - Sorrento is slightly better, but homemade is 1,000,000 times better than any grocery store brand and SO easy that I never use grocery store anymore.

            1. re: biondanonima

              JOOC, how much milk yields how much cheese for homemade?

              1. re: njmarshall55

                not biodanonima, but 6 c. milk+2 c. cream yielded me about 4 c. cheese. And the whey can be used to make bread.

          3. Whole Foods makes a wonderful ricotta. It is the 365 brand. It is by far my fave.

            1. Calabro ricotta, in the metal tin, is very good.

              1. Lioni is the best I have come across. They are located in Brooklyn, NY but my WFM in Pennsylvania carries the brand.


                1 Reply
                1. Does that mean you have already tried sourcing through an Italian deli or specialty market fresh Italian cheeses? Other than the 365 Whole Foods brand already mentioned I would try an Italian market if you don't wish to make your own. Another idea is an Italian bakery or pizza restaurant that may be willing to sell you fresh ricotta directly.

                  1. Gioia ricotta is wonderful. If you stop by the factory late morning, early afternoon, it's sold still warm. Or you can buy it online.

                    Bellwether Farms makes several kinds, both whole milk or whey, and sheep or cow's milk.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      I have no idea where the OP lives but right now Bellwether Farms is not open to the public and the first link you provided is coming up as unsecure for online ordering.

                      1. re: HillJ

                        That may be. If one is concerned, you can always call Gioia to place an order. I felt that it's better to link to a page with more information on it than I cared to type myself.

                        Bellwether Farms is distributed in many other states outside California or can be obtained via its website. Many cheesemakers are not open to the public or maybe I'm missing your point. Were you planning to visit in person?

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          No I was responding to your recommendations. As I said, I don't know where the OP lives, did you? I can't comment on the product having never tasted it. But I did visit the links you provided to read more. The one farm would only be avail as an online purchase. I have never ordered one container of fresh ricotta cheese online. Especially if I was not familiar with the taste, have you? And, the other link you provided to order online is not a secure website for credit card usage. I think that's valuable information.

                          I did not consider a phone order. Valid suggestion. But, I would want to taste the product before buying online.

                          1. re: HillJ

                            That's not true. As I stated above, Bellwether is distributed in many states and sold in supermarkets and cheese shops. It is not only available as an online purchase.

                            The OP asked for brands. I recommended my two favorite brands. The OP also posted a similar request earlier on the Manhattan board, presumably for ricotta available near a home or work place, and was moved to ask a more general question. Since this request is on the Cheese board (and may have been on General Topics before) and no specific geography was stated, I don't feel a need to limit my recommendations to suit ability to taste in person or your buying proclivities. If that were a criteria, I guess I'd just shut up as I cannot guarantee that every product recommended is available in every corner of the universe. Hopefully, this thread will be of use to many others besides the OP who find it in the future.

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              Bellwether isn't avail in my home bases in NJ or CA. I used the sites zip code locator. I don't know where the OP poster lives. That information is helpful in making a recommendation.

                              I thought this OP was to help a CH find a container of fresh ricotta cheese for a cheesecake recipe.

                              Who said anything about your personal guarantee. It wasn't a slam against your statements. I was reading the sites you provided and not finding much of a resource out of either recommendation due to a lack of availability and an unsecure ordering site.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                Websites break. Especially websites for small companies that do not devote a lot of resource to maintaining them, and both of these places probably fit in that category. Chowhounds know how to dig to find what they're hunting for. Not every feature is going to work all the time. But there is still information about the product to be gleaned even it a site doesn't have all the bells and whistles. Product manufacturing methods, pack size, price, company background, seasonality, etc. can be found. I prefer to add a link that shows those things instead of typing them myself. Availability can be ascertained by using the contact info, if one gets serious.

                                I'd also like to make clear that the warning for Gioia's website is not on the page I linked but deeper into the online store feature. One can open that url now readily to find pertinent product info. Yet, I'll point out that website security is a moving target and can be browser dependent as we saw with Google Chrome's recent debacle. Sometimes certificates expire and they'll eventually (hopefully sooner) be renewed and the site will be secure once more. New browsers will provide some warning when a site is insecure.

                                Again, untrue that Bellwether is not available in NJ or CA, and I don't know how many ways I can try to tell you this. What is true is that the zip code locator for Bellwether does not work right now. When I originally posted, I used it to try a variety of locations across the country including those in Sonoma County where the farm resides and got an error message for all of them. I can tell you for sure that Bellwether is available in CA, as I buy it in stores and farmers markets. I saw the sheeps whey ricotta last Saturday morning at its booth at the Santa Rosa Redwood Empire farmers market and its in the supermarkets I've visited this week. I have never been to the farm to buy it and buy through retail channels myself. The company's twitter feed and FB page show it posting from trade shows across the country, presumably to sell its cheese to stores and wholesalers in national markets. You can find it be searching well-known cheese stores that list Bellwether on its website, and if one really wants to buy it, ask a local store if it is something that can be ordered through the distributors that supply the store. Even if the ricotta is not normally stocked due to perishibility, if a store carries other Bellwether cheeses, there's a good chance it can get its hands on the ricotta.

                                Yes, the original request explained difficulty finding fresh ricotta and asked for "a preferred commercially available brand". Both Gioia and Bellwether are commercially available and they are my preferred brands. Again, no specific geography was stated in the question and this board is not limited by geography as the regional boards are. So I'm making my best recommendation without regard to geography. If you check the OP's profile, a location is listed, but we know that not everyone keeps that up-to-date and it may not be correct. But where one lives and where one chooses to buy and use a product can be different so I'm not focused about where the OP lives. Also the OP posted to the Manhattan board as I stated above asking about ricotta before making this request which may give you a clue.

                                This is a longer answer than I felt like typing, but if you're this confused and mislead about the facts, likely others are as well and I'll keep trying to shine a light on it.

                                "I can explain it to you, but I cannot comprehend it for you." ~ Mayor Ed Koch

                                1. re: Melanie Wong

                                  Wow. I don't know if I should say thank you or apologize. I didn't follow the OP around to other boards to draw any conclusions and you and I (once again) just don't jive.

                                  I'm going to only assume your best of intentions and stand by my brief experience trying to use both links.