Freshly made Ricotta 
Homemade Ricotta Cheese 

A photo of Carolyn BinderI spent several hours Saturday afternoon participating in a fresh cheesemaking class at award-winning Sweet Grass Dairy. I’ve loved their cheeses for years, and if you ever get the chance to taste them, do it!  I love their Asher Blue, phenomenal tangy chevre, and milky Thomasville Tomme. And their Black Swan? It has a foodie cult following! The Littles, Jeremy and Jessica, are second-generation sustainable farmers located in beautiful Thomasville, Georgia. They raise happy goats, and happy goats make great cheese!  Sweet Grass Dairy uses rotational grazing methods and a holistic approach to making their artisan cheeses. Each step in the process is done with care and respect, from grazing the goats, to milking them, to packaging their cheeses and shipping them.  I love to visit their beautiful little cheese shop in quaint downtown Thomasville, not only for their exquisite cheeses, but also for their wonderful wine selections and accompaniments like local honeys and olive oils, authentic Serrano ham, olives, organic whey-fed pork, and more!

Like most really great foods, cheese was born of necessity. It is a way of preserving milk (yet oh, so much more!).  And like most really great foods, cheese only has a few ingredients–milk, an acidifier or culture, such as lemon juice or flora danica, a coagulant such as rennet, and salt.  Basically, all cheeses are made from these simple ingredients.  It is the variables of the processes used–temperature and aging, for instance, that make each cheese unique. Isn’t that amazing?

At our class, we went through the steps to make a fresh cow’s cheese, old-world style.  We tasted some fabulous cheeses and peeked into the spotless cooler and cheesemaking room.  The tangy aroma of freshly made chevre draining wafted through the classroom.  And then we made fresh ricotta. It is so much fun and so easy to make that I encourage you to try it. I made some in my kitchen this afternoon, and it is delicious. This recipe is adapted from Jeremy Little of Sweet Grass Dairy.

Simple Ingredients for Ricotta
Simple Ingredients for Ricotta 

Homemade Ricotta Cheese


One gallon cold whole, organic milk
One quart cold organic buttermilk
Juice of about three lemons
Kosher salt

Carolyn Binder
5/3/2011 3:49:29 PM

Catanea - The buttermilk adds flavor. You should get similar results with yogurt. I think it even works without either!

Carolyn Binder
5/3/2011 3:48:31 PM

Marie - I think it ended up making about two pounds.

4/30/2011 11:39:58 AM

And is there an alternative for people who live in a buttermilk-less place?

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