4 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or white vinegar
- Pour the milk and salt into a 3-quart nonreactive saucepan. Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer. Heat the milk to 190°F, stirring it occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice or vinegar, then stir it once or twice, gently and slowly. Let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.
- Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl (to catch the whey). Pour the curds and whey into the colander and let the curds strain for at least an hour. At an hour, you’ll have a tender, spreadable ricotta. At two hours, it will be spreadable but a bit firmer, almost like cream cheese. (It will firm as it cools, so do not judge its final texture by what you have in your cheesecloth.)
- Save the whey for baking bread, feeding your dog or pouring on your blueberries and tomatoes.
- Eat the ricotta right away or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Serve with honey for a sweet ricotta or topped with lemon zest and olive oil. Or use in lasagna. It has tons of uses!