Julie and I often say if there were an emergency and we could eat PIZZA then everything would be ok. I’ve come to realize that cheese is a pretty major comfort food for me and is something I would miss significantly in an emergency situation. I’ve decided to try to have different cheeses on hand in several forms (shredded in the freezer, freeze-dried cheeses in my food storage, parmesan cheese in the pantry, etc.) One thing I couldn’t store well was ricotta cheese which is a favorite in some of our lasagna recipes. I decided to try a completely shelf stable lasagna one day and ventured out to see if I could MAKE ricotta cheese using powdered milk. I googled a few recipes and experimented a little bit and found a solution that seemed to work well! Here’s the full scoop.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese Recipe
8 cups water
1 1/2 cups Thrive Instant Powdered Milk
1/3 cup lemon juice or white vinegar
1 tsp. salt, optional
1 T. oil or butter, optional
Mix the water and milk powder in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat up to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit (or just before boiling). The milk will get foamy and start to steam. As soon as it starts to boil, remove from heat and add in the lemon juice and salt and butter if desired. The oil/butter can be helpful to encourage the curds and whey to separate better since the powdered milk is a non-fat milk.
Let the mixture sit for 10-20 minutes. You should see the milk separate into curds (white clumps) and whey (yellowy liquid). Once it all seems to be separated, strain the curds using a strainer with small holes and/or a cheese cloth or clean t-shirt. I just used a strainer and it seemed to be fine. I like to make things easy. I let it strain for about 30 minutes and then squished out as much of the excess whey as I could by pushing against the curds with a spoon. It made a crumbly cheese that was perfect for this lasagna.
From what I read online, this isn’t a TRUE ricotta but it was a pretty great substitution without taking all day or having to run to the store!
Hurray for cheese in my food storage!
-Jodi Weiss Schroeder