homemade ricotta using nigari
We love using ricotta in our vegetarian lasagna, as a spread on bruschetta with lots of fresh herbs, sea salt, a squeeze of lemon and good olive oil, and also as part of next-level cheesecake. Try ricotta pancakes, and fresh berries with ricotta drizzled with honey for a snack – lots of delicious uses! Homemade ricotta is very easy to make, and the flavour and texture is so much better than store bought, especially when made with our all natural Liquid Nigari available in our online shop or in the US on Amazon.com.
Homemade Ricotta Using Nigari
- Strainer with cheesecloth
- Heavy bottomed stainless steel pan
- Candy thermometer
- 8 cups Fresh goat or cows milk
- 1.5 tsp Sea Salt
- 1.5 tbsp Liquid Nigari
- ½ cup cream (optional) to replace equal amount milk
- Gently bring milk up to 200F* in heavy bottomed stainless steel pan over medium heat, stirring often to prevent scorching the milk.
- When milk is at exactly 200F, turn off heat and tip in both Nigari and salt and stir quickly with a slotted spoon to mix all together. You should be able to see the curd (solid) separating from the whey (liquid) at this point.
- If coagulation does not occur within 15-20 seconds, add half tablespoon more Nigari at a time until the milk solids form and stir well.
- Allow 10-12 minutes to allow curd to fully separate.
- Line a fine mesh chinois or strainer with cheesecloth and strain whey from the cheese curds. Let it strain for 10 minutes for a creamy ricotta
- Keep refigerated and consume within three days
- You can add 1/2 – 1 cup of cream to increase the fat content of your milk (take away equal amount of milk to bring total back to 8 cups). This will result in a creamier ricotta. Omit this option for goat milk ricotta.
- You can strain the ricotta for up to 2 hours for a denser, drier, fresh cheese. You can also put weight on the cheese overnight (in the fridge) to press it into a farmer’s cheese/queso fresco style of cheese.
- Keep refrigerated and consume within 3 days.
We made two versions of ricotta, one using goat’s milk, and the other cow’s milk. Adding the Nigari at a higher temperature (200F, almost to boiling point) at the same time as a bit of sea salt accelerated the formation of curds.
Organic milk is great to use, but only if you can find non-UHT (ultra-pasteurized) organic milk. In our cow’s milk ricotta version, we recommend substituting one cup of milk with heavy or double cream instead. The higher fat content creates big, beautiful curds.
Both recipes use the exact same procedure, and the only difference is that we used half a tbsp more Nigari in the goat’s milk recipe (maybe because goat’s milk has less lactose than cow’s milk). Our chef found the cow’s milk make a better ricotta for melting, it got somewhat chewy and crispy compared to the goat that melted a bit more.