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Food

You Should Be Making Cheese In The Microwave

And not just any cheese — fancy delicious ricotta cheese.

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GUESS WHAT. You can make ricotta cheese in your microwave with just milk, heavy cream, salt, and lemon juice.

The kind you make yourself is actually so much better than the store-bought version.

Homemade ricotta doesn't have all the weirdo stabilizers that processed ricotta does. And you can customize the texture: Drain it longer for a thick, spreadable texture, or drain it less time for a thinner consistency. You can make it in your microwave or on your stovetop — and this post will show you both ways.

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And some kitchen tools you probably already have (except maybe the cheesecloth, which your grocery store has):

Lauren Zaser / Via BuzzFeed

A microwave safe glass bowl, a strainer, a large pot, a spoon, lemon squeezer, instant-read thermometer, spatula, teaspoon, and cheesecloth. You can buy cheesecloth at most cooking supply stores, or here. It's washable and reusable, too.

1. The first thing you should do it set the strainer over the pot, then line the strainer with a double-layer of cheesecloth.

Don't worry too much about getting the cheesecloth to perfectly cover the strainer. As long as it's covering most of it, you'll be fine. Start with a 4-foot piece and go from there.

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10. Let the ricotta drain for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour 30 minutes, depending on the texture you want: It will get firmer and less wet the longer it drains. Transfer your ricotta to a container and refrigerate for up to one week.

Lauren Zaser / Via BuzzFeed

By the whey, (haha) there's going to be a lot of liquid leftover in the pot. That's the whey, as in "separating the curds from the whey." You can keep it to use in baked goods (it adds a nice toasty flavor) or discard it. Some people even use it in protein shakes.

THE RECIPE: How to Make Ricotta in a Microwave

Makes about 2 cups

Recipe by Lindsay Hunt

INGREDIENTS
4 cups milk

1 cup heavy cream

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

PREPARATION

1. Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth, then set it on top of a stock pot or a very large bowl. Set aside.

2. Combine all the ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high power for 9 to 12 minutes, or until clumps form (those are the curds) and an instant-read thermometer registers 200 degrees F.

3. Stir gently and then use a slotted spoon to gently transfer the curds into the cheesecloth-lined strainer, then pour the remaining liquid (the whey) into the strainer.

4. Let the ricotta drain for at least 30 minutes and up to to 1 hour 15 minutes, depending on your desired consistency. It will get firmer and less wet the longer it sits. Transfer to a container and refrigerate for up to one week. You can keep or discard the whey (the liquid leftover in the pot).

The nice thing about making ricotta on a stovetop is that you can make a bigger batch.

If you have a candy thermometer (the kind that clips onto the side of a pot), it's useful to have here, since you can watch the temperature rise as the milk heats.

Unlike the microwave version, you heat only the milk and cream in the pot. Once they reach 200º F, you stir in the salt and lemon juice. Let it all sit for about 10 minutes while the curds separate, then spoon into the strainer and drain, the same way as above.

How to Make Ricotta on a Stovetop

Makes about 4 cups

Recipe by Lindsay Hunt

INGREDIENTS

8 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream

½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons kosher salt

PREPARATION

1. Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth, then set it on top of a stock pot or a very large bowl. Set aside.

2. Clip a candy thermometer, if you have one, to the side of a large pot or Dutch oven. (You can also stick an instant-read thermometer into the pot occasionally as the milk warms.) Add the milk and cream to the pot and stir to combine. Warm the mixture over medium heat until it reaches 200º F, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and salt. Let the mixture sit until the curds begin to separate from the whey, 5 minutes. (You will see small white clumps separate from a translucent liquid.) Use a slotted spoon to gently transfer the curds to the strainer, then pour the remaining whey into the strainer.

4. Let the ricotta drain for at least 30 minutes and up to to 1 hour 15 minutes, depending on your desired consistency. It will get firmer and less wet the longer it sits. Transfer to a container and refrigerate for up to one week.

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