Eating my Curds and Ditching the Whey

May 4, 2009 at 11:12 am | Posted in Appetizers, Lunch | 46 Comments
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Last Friday, I was babysitting my amazing and adorable 10 month old nephew.  I love this kid like crazy, so I look forward to being able spend time with him, especially since I have all the time in the world at this juncture!  Naturally, the best part of being with him is cuddling him, playing with him, and hell, the diaper changes are no big whoop at all because nothing ‘baby Zach’ is gross to me.  One game he really loves I call ‘Bouncy Bouncy Boo Boo’.  I lie on my back and lift him up and down – bringing him all the way to my face so we touch noses, then all the way back up so he can ‘fly’.

While we do this, I repeat “BOUNCY BOUNCY BOO BOO” sporadically, in a silly voice, which makes him laugh incredibly hard.  His sweet and goofy laughter just fills my heart and makes it impossible not to smile so wide that my cheeks hurt.  Well, he got into such a fit of laughter during Bouncy Bouncy Boo Boo last Friday, that when I brought him back down to touch noses, my grin so wide that you could probably see my wisdom teeth from a mile away, he suddenly dropped his head full force – right onto my right front tooth – PAIN -CRACKY like noise, numbness.  It literally felt like an anvil had crashed through my roof and onto that tooth.

3168_70646684204_588779204_1684626_6286219_n                                               My sis and baby boulder head

Of course, my first concern was him, but he was fine, still laughing – the babe has one hard head!  After checking his head, looking into his eyes, panicking briefly, I afforded myself a nano-second to examine my tooth.  A little blood, and boy did it hurt, but of most concern, after him, was the fact that it felt a little loose.  OH NO!  *stereotype alert* Is it time to pack me off to Appalachia with a case of pork rinds and a banjo??


Just my luck, my dentist wasn’t going to be back in the office until Wednesday for evening hours, but I was told that if it’s only slight mobility, the tooth will tighten up on it’s own within a few days to a week – just stay away from hard foods like apples, hard pretzels etc.  Well, it has tightened up a little, and the pain has subsided, but it still feels weird, so I’m setting up an appointment for Tuesday or Wednesday, just to be safe.



Because of the above, I’ve been mainly existing on soup for the past week, since I don’t want to take ANY chance of a chunk of even soft fruit in yogurt jostling that tooth. What a perfect time to try homemade ricotta cheese! At least I can eat some of it!

Technically, this isn’t how ricotta cheese is made, but it’s close and it IS ricotta cheese. Ricotta (meaning recooked) is usually made out of whey, the liquid separated out from the curds when cheese is made, like mozzarella.  In this recipe, you’re using the whole milk plus acid to make the ricotta and discarding the whey (although you can use it in homemade breads, or other preparations which I can’t conjur up at this moment.  This is the perfect time to ask, Can anyone think of any good uses for the liquid whey outside of watering the garden?  I have this weird thing about waste!).

Not only is this easy, with just 4 ingredients and a super rapid cooking time, but the results are well worth it.  You’ll never want to eat store bought again, although it does take quite a bit of milk – as in 8 cups of milk plus 1 cup of cream for a yield of about 1 1/2 to 2 cups ricotta,  OK, maybe you shouldn’t completely rule out store bought, but trust me – this is WELL worth tackling every so often, and the fresh, creamy result is to die for.  BTW, it didn’t jostle my tooth, so I may not have to relocate after all.  This is a good thing *stereotype alert #2* as demanding that someone bend over and “squeal like a pig!!” is not something I ever aspired to do, not even in a kinky way.

IMG_0338_edited                                      MY ‘soft’ dinner – with honey and black pepper

Finally, there is another reason I made this, but you’ll have to stay tuned to find out *don’t you hate when people do that?*  I know I’ve said this before and not come through (I accidentally deleted the photos of what I did with the all dark chocolate Valentino *I paired it with spiced, Frangelico poached pears, hazelnuts and creme fraiche*- and the supposedly soon coming post on the A-Rod deal), but this time it’s for real – I SUUUHWEAR!

Homemade Ricotta Cheese  pilfered from Brooklyn Farmouse


Equipment Needed:
-Large Mixing Bowl

8 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (more or less to taste)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. Line a large strainer or sieve with cheesecloth and place the strainer over a large bowl.

2. In a large pot or saucepan, bring the milk, cream, and salt to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to keep milk mixture from scorching.

3. Add all the lemon juice, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring gently once or twice, for 2 minutes. The mixture will curdle immediately.

4. Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth lined strainer and let drain for an hour or two.  Discard the liquid whey (Can be used in bread baking!) and refrigerate the ricotta or use immediately.  If you want it really dry, wrap it back up with the cheesecloth, leave it in the strainer over the bowl, weight it down with something heavy, and refrigerate overnight.

Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh ricotta.

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  1. Oh my goodness. Zach is totally precious, and man, that kid must have one hard noggin. Glad to hear your tooth is feeling better and that you’ll be able to see the dentist soon enough. Man oh man, what an accident! In the mean time, this “soft” ricotta looks amazing! I really need to try my hand at making it!

  2. Does it still taste grainy like most store bought Ricotta?

  3. Beautiful pixs of the ricotta and the baby. Things happen for a reason sometimes and this time it was for you to make this tooth friendly soft ricotta. Your cheese shots are most professional. Waiting for your surprize.

  4. slow-1 – Actually, it did not have a grainy taste or texture at all – ‘curdy’….but creamier than store bought. I think that probably has something to do with the heavy cream.

    Thanks Audax and Elyse! 🙂

  5. OMG Lisa what an adorable little guy! That big smile is precious.

  6. Oh lord I’ve been bonked by my kids like that… and it hurts. Usually my nose or chin–I’ve never gotten a loose tooth. Although I know someone whose cornea was scratched by her kid–yikes.

    I’ve never liked ricotta–but reading this I gotta wonder if homemade would change my mind.

  7. Hey pretty girl, your blog is looking fierce! I’m blown away that you made ricotta cheese from scratch! If I stop over, could you whip up a batch for me? I’ll just eat it out of the strainer with a spoon!

  8. Your nephew is crazy cute! You know that their heads are so hard and soft (insane right?) at the same time to keep THEM from getting hurt. On of the twins fell so much I worried about brain damamge. The doctors told me if I was that concerned to put a helmet on him and let him go otherwise except for something extreme he’d be fine. You know except when he’s playing sports he’s an accident waiting to happen.

    I love ricotta cheese and you’re saying this is even better? Hmmmm, I’ll be honest I’mnot sure about the honey and black pepper together on top of my ricotta cheese. I’ll have to take your word it’s a just do it!

    Btw, are you finally pushing 100%? Or do you still have a ways to go?

  9. OMK!! That’s what I don’t have for my lasagna … LOL

    I found my card reader and uploaded my cookie pix …

    Your pix make mine look horrible … You’d never know that I got a degree in photo-journalism … But, then again, there’s a difference between “still life” and “real life” … LOL

  10. There’s nothing like homemade ricotta!

  11. Interesting recipe…I’d like to try it. The baby is very precious. Great pictures.

  12. Great ricotta cheese..gonna roll that up in some manicotti?

    Oh, heard what happened….is he crazy? I’m here if you need a shoulder, or anything…….. seriously.

  13. I love that you’ve made your own ricotta! Cheese making is one of those things I’ve never tried but yours looks so delicious, I really should!

  14. Aha. Now that’s an idea. Home-made ricotta would fit the bill perfectly.

  15. Tooth…OH NO! Baby Boulder Head…HA!

    Honey on ricotta does rock — I went to a honey tasting that paired them together and I was in hog heaven (that’s a shout out to your stereotype inserts…which made me literally LOL). The instructor mentioned how easy it would be to make your own ricotta…and looks like you’ve proved him right! Do you think…it could be done with 2%?? I wonder if it would achieve the same effect (albeit not as delicious, I’m sure!).

    And…um…Yankees? Very depressing. So depressing I may just need to splurge and go for the whole milk. 😉

  16. Ooh, ouch! I hope your tooth is feeling better by now!
    Cool, ricotta!

  17. Home made ricotta is lovely & delicious! You did a great & wonderful job! Honey goes great with ricotta!

  18. Fantastic! I’ll also have to try making my own fresh cheese soon…



  19. Lis,

    I sent you an email and tried to call, but no answer either way. So so sorry for your loss, honey. I’m here for you..always.

  20. Aww, such an adorable little nephew you have Hopefully you can help teach him to be a real foodie as he grows up. 😉

  21. Ricotta is on our to-do list for the daring cooks this weekend 😉
    and is there a reason you chose to add pepper? Thats a really interesting combination (honey and black pepper).

    and I think I’ll spare too many comments about the Yankees. I am surprised that there is no website titled ‘’ or ‘’

  22. I hope you are doing with your tooth!!!!
    nice looking Ricotta and delicious flavours.
    I love the home made Ricotta,or as we say in Arabic fresh Areesheh.
    one of the best selling sandwiches in Lebanon, specially if you are going on a tour trip the bus driver will stop at one place in Shtourah – Bekaa, and every one will go for a sandwich of warm fresh Lavash Bread and Areesheh w Assal(Ricotta with Honey)
    the owners of that place has their own dairy farm.

    thanks for sharing the recipe

  23. I recently made fresh ricotta and used the whey as a cooking liquid for pasta.

    Maybe kind of indulgent, but definitely delicious.

  24. Hi Lisa,
    Sorry Zach gets a little too excited playing with you. He whacked me in the eyebrow with a remote control a few weeks ago. Looks like I might need a helmet being his Mom. Your ricotta looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it. Hope you are feeling better. We’ll get through this.


  25. Ha ha ha! Can’t wait to see the “why”! 🙂
    I hope your tooth is ok – but what a freaking cutie! Hannah at Bittersweet had a bread recipe using whey – it was soy but it would probably work ok for you.

  26. left my comment on your about your photos and I will be back! Thanks for dropping by!

  27. Lisa, a little birdie told me what happened. Double whammy is an understatement and I wish i could say something soothing outside of a cliche “I’m so sorry, sweetie”. You are beautiful, and pure sunshine, especially when you flash that dazzling smile. You always made everyone around you feel great, and that’s a gift. Rotten luck downed you for a while, but that inner glow was still there waiting to bust out in full force again.

    Alright, I’m starting to sound like a bad poet, so since this is your blog, and this blog is about your STOMACH GROWLING cuisine, I need to demand that once you’ve healed, you’re making me dinner and dessert! Now, will you check your work email addy, please?? I bet it’s filled to the brim. Lots of love, M

  28. I got inspired by your post and got to making my ricotta today, and oddly enough, the milk didn’t curdle when I added the lemon! I did some quick research and added white vinegar, and it did the trick. Your ricotta looks luscious though- and thanks for the inspiration.

  29. The beautiful pearl was callously ejected out of the shell she loved and lived in for years….BUT this is a good thing! Now we gotta get you walkin’ again, babe!

    Oh, I want your cheese..and your cheesecake too 😉

  30. I remember getting whacked by my kids and it hurts! Your ricotta looks perfect. I’ll look forward to your secret post!

  31. Your nephew is so cute!! Your homemade ricotta looks gorgeous. I really need to make my own one day.

  32. Glad to hear you didn’t have to lose it. If it means I’d be having something like this, I wouldn’t mind the momentary pain.

  33. Hope your tooth is ok!!
    Your homemade ricotta looks so delicious and creamy!

  34. I made English Muffin bread with my whey. It was a success I think, and I avoided pouring it down the drain.

  35. That is one cute baby…with, thank heavens, a hard head. Glad your tooth is OK. The ricotta looks amazing, but sounds like quite a process. Didn’t know you could water the garden with whey…will have to try that when I make fresh ricotta!

  36. MMMMMM….home made ricotta! Looks so lovely & yummie!!!

  37. I love homemade ricotta. It’s also called paneer (Indian cheese). There are some great Indian recipes that use paneer. Thanks for visiting my blog! Your site is great. I will be back for more recipes!

  38. […] It started with this…remember this?  Homemade Ricotta  is definitely the best option for these fluffy […]

  39. I’ve been hit it the nose by my infant son with a hard plastic teething ring, and heard a loud crack. Luckily, it was just bruised. Hope your tooth feels better. Honey and cheese is one of my favorite pairings…

    I just read a Slate article about how you can save the whey to use instead of water when you make bread or bagels. Here’s the link:

  40. Wow!
    This looks so yummy!
    You can use the whey to lacto-ferment lots of things.
    Like pickles, black beans, ect.
    It’s very easy.

  41. […] through the brown once they were cooked. I also made my own ricotta cheese following this recipe: It was surprisingly easy and gave lovely […]

  42. […] your own ricotta and/or mascarpone cheese!… […]

  43. Thanks so much for the impetus to finally make ricotta. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you through the Secret Recipe Club.

  44. well written article, saved this page, I’ll be returning later.

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