Traditional Whole Milk Ricotta

Mountain Flower Dairy Farm 
Director Michael Montgomery shared with us his DIY, 
creamy ricotta recipe.


1. Use whole milk

2. Add 2 teaspoons citric acid per gallon of liquid (dissolved in 1 cup cool water). Add 1/2 of this citric acid solution to the milk (save the rest of the citric acid). Stir briskly for 5–10 seconds.

3. Add 1 teaspoon salt

4. Heat the milk slowly on low-to-medium heat, stirring well to prevent scorching

5. At 165–170 F watch for small flakes forming in the milk and the separation of small curds.
If, after a few minutes, you do not see the flakes forming, add more of the citric acid until they form (do this in small 1-teaspoon increments to avoid over acid milk).

6. Continue heating to 190–195 F then turn the heat off. The thermal mass of the whey will hold at this temp for quite some time. The higher temp is used here because of the additional proteins found in whole milk vs. whey.

7. As the curds rise, use a perforated ladle to gently move them from the sides to the center of the pot. These clumps of curd will begin to consolidate floating on top of the liquid.

8. Let the curds rest for 10–15 minutes.
*** This is very important because this is the point where the final ricotta quality is assured.

9. Ladle the curds gently into draining forms (No cheese cloth should be needed if  you were patient in the previous step). Let the curds drain for 15 minutes up to several hours.

Notes: For a fresh light ricotta, drain it for a short while (until the free whey drainage slows) and chill. For a rich, dense and buttery texture, allow it to drain for an extended period of time (several hours) before chilling overnight.