Ricotta is one of the easiest cheese to make with really rewarding results!
Ricotta literally means re-cooked, in fact it is often made from the leftover whey from mozzarella making by re-boiling it with a small amount of milk and citric acid. Unless you have made cheese and have whey leftover, also not much ricotta comes from using whey and small amount of milk, this recipe will result in a good amount of cheese:
1/2 gallon milk 1/3 cup lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid 1 teaspoon salt, optional
4-quart pot, instant read thermometer, measuring spoons, cheese cloth, strainer, slotted spoon
Warm the milk to 200°F: Pour the milk into a 4-quart pot and set it over medium heat. Let it warm gradually to 200°F, monitoring the temperature with an instant read thermometer. The milk will get foamy and start to steam; remove it from heat if it starts to boil.
Add the lemon juice and salt: Remove the milk from heat. Pour in the lemon juice or citric acid) and the salt. Stir gently to combine.
Let the milk sit for 10 minutes: Let the pot of milk sit undisturbed for 10 minutes. After this time, the milk should have separated into clumps of milky white curds and thin, watery, yellow-colored whey — dip your slotted spoon into the mix to check. If you still see a lot of un-separated milk, add another tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and wait a few more minutes.
Strain the curds: Set a strainer over a bowl and line the strainer with cheese cloth. Scoop the big curds out of the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the strainer. Pour the remaining curds and the whey through the strainer.
Drain the curds for 30 to 60 minutes: Let the ricotta drain for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how wet or dry you prefer your ricotta. If the ricotta becomes too dry, you can also stir some of the whey back in before using or storing it.