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How To Make Great Ricotta Cheese From Whey

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Picture of How To Make Great Ricotta Cheese From Whey
This Instructable will show you how to make Ricotta Cheese from the Whey that was left over from the Mozzarella Cheese you already made.
Check out my Instructable for making Great Mozzarella Cheese. You will find it at:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Great-Mozzarella-Cheese/
There are tons of Mozzarella Cheese recipes on the Internet. I checked a lot of them out and perfected my own recipe and made an Instructable for it to make it as easy as possible to make Mozzarella Cheese. It seemed like a lot of the recipes I found either left out a step or didn't explain it very well.

Unlike Mozzarella, Ricotta Cheese seems to be almost 100% foolproof.
There are recipes out there to make Ricotta from milk, but this lets you get everything possible out of that gallon you used for the Mozzarella.

Things you will need:
1. Leftover Whey
2. Large bowl
3. Reusable coffee filter. You can also use a clean cloth.
4. Large Strainer that you used for the Mozzarella
5. Small bowl to put the final product in
 
 
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Step 1: Heat the Whey

Picture of Heat the Whey
Pour the Whey back into your pot and heat back up to from 200 degrees to boiling. The temperature here is not critical and you don't have to do it slow. Just be VERY careful not to let it boil over. It WILL make a mess.
Some people suggest letting the Whey set out overnight. I have tried that and also started it right away and haven't noticed any difference.
Turn the heat off and let it cool down some. After a little while, if there is stuff floating on top stir it so that it sinks to the bottom. This will help later so you can just strain most of the liquid and it won't clog up the filter so fast.
jasonlough1 year ago
I'm having an extremely hard time finding milk that actually works to make any kind of cheese. I've tried 2%, vitamin D, organic, and the only one that works for me is Raw milk which is extremely expensive and therefore isn't really an option. I understand it's about the fun and "experience" but spending over $10 on a gallon of milk isn't a viable option for me. any Ideas on Brand names of milk or any other options that may help me in my new adventure?
Well, most milk available in grocery stores has been pasteurized at temperatures over 161F and/or homogenized, which is problematic for cheesemaking because the level of heat affects calcium distribution in the milk. I live in Washington and there are quite a few co-ops where I find Jersey cow (yields more cheese) milk for relatively cheap. around $5 per gallon. You can always start a search at www.realmilk.com to find a source of local milk in your area.

For Adjustments for Pasteurized or Homogenized Milk:
You can always mix nonfat milk and heavy cream (both are usually not homogenized) together to reach the same fat content in whole milk. The ratio is 1 pint of heavy cream for each gallon of nonfat milk.

If you are using store-bought milk and find that your curds are too soft, you can add calcium chloride. To use this, dissolved the calcium chloride in nonchlorinated water and add to the milk, prior to coagulation. Chlorine can affect the functionality of certain coagulants, so its is best to stick with nonchlorinated or distilled water.

Hope this helps! Happy Cheese making!
ditto to the calcium chloride - plus rennet.
Jasonlough, you can make farmhouse cheddar from regular whole milk from the store. All you need is Mesophilic culture and rennet. oh yeah, and a cheese press - which you could make (I did). Dont give up - if you have a local source for raw goats milk - use that! you can chevre just by heating the milk and adding chevre culture - let it sit for 12 hours, then heat the whey and get some ricotta from that as well. I too, am on the road of trying cheese making. ^^
there are so many youtube videos making cheese with 2 gallons of regular store bought cows milk. You add calcium chloride which helps the coagulation. I just learned this the last few days. I have a Nigerian Dwarf goat that is giving me enough milk for chevre and ricotta, but for the cheddar I want to make (need to get going on that cheese press :/) I would have to mix either the two milks :( or maybe try to freeze the goats milk until I get 2 gallons) I have read goats milk does not freeze well and separates. By accident I left my "cooling" milk too long and it froze in the freezer. It looks fine - no noticeable separation and taste fine. ^^ yay.
mdeblasi11 year ago
I just strained what was probably 3 US gallons of Yoghurt whey.
I got an insignificant amount of cheese/
I'm thinking that I didn't boil the solution long enough, I only brought it up to a boil, then turned off the heat.
The color of the fluid draining off seemed to indicate that it still held a significant percentage of albumen. I managed to save a pint of this liquid, acidulated it and will note what happened once it has sat overnight. I don't have any great hopes, but it's worth a shot.
Thanks for the instructable.
interesting. I just noticed the age of this post - oh well, I just finished a batch of chevre and the whey looks so white like milk. It has not had that appearance before, always more watery, yellowy looking, but I still got the same amount of cheese. weird - plan to make ricotta with the whey.
WVSundown3 years ago
DON'T THROW OUT THE WHEY!!!! You can make another yummy Norwegian cheese from the whey after making ricotta called gjetost (from cow's milk) or mysost (from goat's milk). It is buttery, cheddar-y flavor, a slight sweet/sour bite, caramel-colored cheese that I think is as good if not better than the ricotta. It is used more like a spread, can be used in sauces and soups, or to flavor veggies.

You cook it down over a several hours until it renders down to about 1/4 (or less) of the original volume, then use a stick blender or hand mixer to fluff it and make it creamy, then pour it into containers to cool. It keeps for a good while in the fridge, too. Check the 'Net for more specific recipes. All I added was about 1/4 cup of heavy cream before I started boiling it down. It is my favorite cheese!
Thank you, I am looking forward to checking out the making of gjetost, I am always on the lookout for new stuff.
Why did you add a 1/4 cup cream to the post-ricotta whey before you made gjetost? Can it be made without adding cream?

Thanks for the extra info on re-using the whey!
That was a couple years ago when I had access to fresh milk, but as I recall, there was something in the initial recipe about if one made ricotta after the cheese, adding a little heavy cream would make a more substantial and creamier gjetost . . . and it did!
Thank you WVSundown!
So now I'm going to get a gallon of milk and make queso blanco; then from the whey I'll make this ricotta; THEN I'll use the remainder for that to make this gjetost! This cheese-making experiment is going to be fun! (and incredibly time consuming!)
Good luck with your cheeses and I hope you like the gjetost!
caeric10 months ago
A wonderful instructable, interesting I never stumbled on it before. Never made ricotta, and have thrown or the whey in all my mozzarella batches. Well try this! A comment to the milk wonderers out there. Ultra pasteurized or high temp pasteurized won't work, but once I figured out my issue, Walmart vitamin D milk works just fine for me. After going through several gallons of various milk, my issue was my pot and not the milk. If you're using a double walled pot try something else. Hope this helps!
Well, most milk available in grocery stores has been pasteurized at temperatures over 161F and/or homogenized, which is problematic for cheesemaking because the level of heat affects calcium distribution in the milk. I live in Washington and there are quite a few co-ops where I find Jersey cow (yields more cheese) milk for relatively cheap. around $5 per gallon. You can always start a search at www.realmilk.com to find a source of local milk in your area.

For Adjustments for Pasteurized or Homogenized Milk:
You can always mix nonfat milk and heavy cream (both are usually not homogenized) together to reach the same fat content in whole milk. The ratio is 1 pint of heavy cream for each gallon of nonfat milk.

If you are using store-bought milk and find that your curds are too soft, you can add calcium chloride. To use this, dissolved the calcium chloride in nonchlorinated water and add to the milk, prior to coagulation. Chlorine can affect the functionality of certain coagulants, so its is best to stick with nonchlorinated or distilled water.

Hope this helps! Happy Cheese making!
shyfrog71 year ago
Jason you need to make sure the milk you are using is either not pasturized or only pasturized NOT ULTRA pasturized. It is best to use whole milk and I would recommened horizon or dairy gold if you have it locally.
You might try your hand at cream cheese to start because it is so simple and almost always gets good results here is a recipe that I have tried that works out great, I substitute cultured buttermilk for the bacteria becase it is easier to find I use about 1/4 a cup for this recipe
http://nourishedkitchen.com/how-to-make-cream-cheese/
I used the leftover whey from my first cheese making experiment and it made ricotta! For the cheese cloth I found a 5 pack of Lint free flour sack towels at Walmart for $7 which worked great. Just make sure to boil them before you use them the first time.
neffk1 year ago

I honestly don't know how you got this to work just by re-heating.

The overnight is for the natural culture (if you're doing it that way) to further sour the milk. Otherwise, you should just add some more acid.

It drains a lot faster if you carefully scoop the whey off and then spoon the curds into the filter. Pouring just makes it take a long time to drain. Maybe it'd work better if I had a small-mesk sive like you used....

A credible and compelling site on the interwebs that explains ricotta and various other cheeses you can make at home:

http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/Ricotta/RICOTTA_00.HTM

rrkrose1 year ago
I just tried this because I had some extra whey and it din't work at all. By the end there was no cheese and 90% of the whey had evaporated. :(
frauh3 years ago
Help! I attempted to use the leftover whey from my quark making. I heated and heated it, but it never foamed up. What's up?
suecheese frauh2 years ago
how do you make quark?
can you tell me the true differences between quark and cream cheese?
OK here we go: In my restaurant, we make our own mozzarella, but from store-bought curds. We cook the curds in salted hot water until stretchable, and form our mozz. Naturally, the curds leech out some milk, and this turns the water white and somewhat 'milky.' Is this whey? And can i use this whey to make ricotta as stated above? Thanks, and btw, this is a great article!
ezekiel884 years ago
Are all wheys the same? Can I use whey drained from yogurt or does it needs to be from making mozzarella?
I was wondering this too. I make my own "greek" strained yogurt from plain lowfat yogurt. I'm still trying to find a use for the whey. It would be great if I could make ricotta out of it!!
I do the same thing as you. I use 2% milk and Fage greek yogurt as my starter. I am trying this with my last 2 batches (1 gal + 1/2 gal total - about 6 cups of whey)of whey (my second batch I didn't strain out my "leaked" yogurt.

In the past, I have added it to pancakes with good success, and like it the most in homemade blueberry muffins for my freezer. (though I can't write "blueberry-whey" on the label or my kids won't eat them. Muhaha!
Ok, I made ricotta with this last batch mentioned above. I got a bit of yogurt in the whey at the end of straining and left it in (2 tablespoons?)

As far as how much ricotta I got - I didn't measure it or anything, but it came out to about 5-6 tablespoons of Ricotta. Not exactly the most efficient use of the whey, but I don't go out and BUY ricotta anyway, so it was fun to throw on our spaghetti. I watered my plants with the leftover liquid and it seems to have not done any harm. It was a fun *experiment* :)
I realize this is an old post but in VT, the left over whey from Cabot, is given to nearby farmers as fertilizer. So I imagine your plants loved it!!
eculp frogmama2 years ago
I had the same result. I got about 1/4 cup of ricotta, which isn't much, but I'll throw it into the lasagna anyway. My mozzarella didn't turn out that great either. I'm still working on it!
I too was wondering the same thing, but sense cheese is mainly fat, and protean you might need to add powder milk. I'll fact check my self on this, but if anyone else could shine some light on this, it would be a great help.
I used about a quart of whey that was strained out of plain whole fat yogurt and got a thin layer on the coffee filter. I don't know if it was ricotta or yogurt that didn't get strained out. Never the less it was a fun experiment. Thanks for the recipe. I will use the left over whey to make the gjetost and let you know how it went.
sturnquist12 years ago
Ok, I've tried this and the whey seems to remain in a liquid form, meaning when I strain it it all goes down the drain. Any thoughts on what I am doing wrong? I've tried it both with and without cider vinegar and haven't had any luck. Although my mozzarella is turning out fantastic!
This just happened to me as well. I realized shortly afterward that I had accidentally used Fat-Free milk. Maybe this happened to you as well? Perhaps this isn't the case, though, because my mozzarella turned out rather tough and rubbery, and not in the good way.
lgourmande2 years ago
Are you saying that the whey left over after making ricotta can be boiled down to make another cheese? That's exciting!
I make ricotta, quark, fromage blanc and strained yoghurt and I have only used whey for baking bread, muffins, pancakes and crepes. I once made a blended drink with whey-dill/whey-basil combo, which twas foamy and tasted very refreshing when I drank it immediately as soon as it was blended. It did, however, become quite disgusting in the fridge later on (might be because I forgot about it till the next day).

I will get my three containers of left-over whey out of the fridge right now and get it boiling! I have all day to do it. Hate to throw out the whey, because I can't bake any more than I already do using whey, since bread or muffins only need a cup and I have about a gallon!
Let you know how it goes!
frogmama3 years ago
I am a yogurt maker and have found a few places I like to use whey. I'm not that familiar with using Ricotta, but I am going to try this!!

I know for cooking, you can freeze whey until you are ready to use it. If yogurt whey produces a small quantity of ricotta, do you suppose that freezing the whey until you have enough to make making the ricotta worth it would affect the process? Thanks
So I was given fresh goat's milk; about a pickle jar's amount and told to do this in order to make ricotta:
Heat milk until just before a boil. Add 1/4 cup vinegar and stir. Then strain (through whatever I had; I used a clean t-shirt).
I was told that the cheese I got is ricotta, and the strained liquid is whey.
Is this correct? And if so, how is it that I can use the whey to.. make... ricotta....? Please help! I have all this liquid and don't want to throw it all away! Thanks!
The cheese that would result would be cottage cheese, if you left it as is. If you strain it out, and mash the curds, you would get a cheese similar to ricotta.

The whey left over from what you describe doing would be rather useless...
Thank you! That is really helpful.
Dr. Speer3 years ago
A great use for leftover whey (if you are lucky enough to have chickens or pigs) is to use it to soak chicken scratch or pig food, then stand back and watch them go nuts over it! It is high in protein and calcium and is good for them!
Tizy4 years ago
Hi Mike! I found your web site a while ago, and I actually right now making mozzarella! I went to Whole Foods and found unhomogenized milk and so far I am at step 11 and all looks good. I have a question about the left over whey.
Since it's getting late...can I keep it and make ricotta tomorrow?
Should I keep it in the refrigerator?
Thanks!!
tabbique4 years ago
We sourced out local raw milk mostly to make our own butter and cheese - i'm excited to try these easy recipes.  Keep it up!
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