Ricotta Cheese

1 gallon whole milk, not ultra pasteurized
1 teaspoon citric acid dissolved in 1 cup cool, nonchlorinated water
1 teaspoon cheese salt dissolved in 1⁄2 cup cool, nonchlorinated water
1–2 tablespoons heavy cream

Pour in the milk, the citric acid and the salt solutions, and mix well without touching the bottom of a chilled pot.

Heat the milk to 185–195 degrees, do not boil. At 180 degrees stir occasionally to prevent a skim coat from forming on top of the milk.

When the curds and whey separate, turn off the heat. If the whey is still milky at 195 degrees, increase the heat another 10–20 degrees.  If the whey remains milky, add more citric acid solution a little at a time, stirring gently until you see a clear separation. Allow to set for 10 minutes.

Ladle the curds with a slotted spoon into a colander lined with butter muslin. Tie the corners of the muslin into a knot and hang the bag to drain at 72–86 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the cheese reaches your desired consistency.

Remove the cheese from the bag and place in a covered container. For a creamier consistency, add the cream at the end and mix thoroughly.

Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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