8 C (4 C) whole milk (the best you can find)
1 C (1/2 C) heavy cream (the best you can find–not thickened)
1 1/2 tsp (3/4 tsp) sea salt
3 T (1.5 T) lemon juice
two layers of cheesecloth
Pour milk and heavy cream into a 5- to 6-quart pot, along with 1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt.
Squeeze 3 tablespoons of lemon juice into a small bowl and set aside.
Line a colander with two layers of cheesecloth, and set over a large bowl.
1) With the burner on medium high, heat the mixture, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching, until it foams and just comes to a boil. Watch the pan like a hawk because milk will froth, boil and then heave itself up over the sides of the pan so fast it will make your head spin. Just stand there and watch it and as soon as it foams and starts to heave, turn the heat down to low, sooner if you are cooking with electric.
2) As soon as the heat is on low, add the lemon juice. The citric acid in the lemon juice will help the milk solids curdle.
3) Let the mixture simmer, stirring gently, until it forms small bits of cheese (the curds). It will take about 2 minutes for small curds to form. If you’d like your ricotta to be drier with larger curds, let it simmer for 2 minutes more. I simmer for 2 minutes only, because I like a moist, small curd that can be spread on toast or mixed with yogurt on fruit or cereal.
4) Carefully pour the mixture into your prepared colander that you have set over the large bowl to strain the curds.
5) The original recipe said to let the mixture drain for 7-10 minutes or until the ricotta is how you like it—whether that’s tender and spreadable or firm and dry. The longer you let it drain, the thicker the ricotta will be. For the same reasons as above, I only let mine drain for 5 minutes.
The ricotta will keep in the fridge for 1 week, though you’ll probably finish it long before then, if you have help eating it. I am the only one in my house who eats it so I make half a recipe (in parenthesis above) and it works beautifully. I think it is the cream and the short cooking/draining times that make this the consistency I like, but experiment with it for your own tastes. I don’t worry about the fat in this because of the way I use it which is spread on toast instead of butter, or added to yogurt. I’ve tried making regular, whole milk ricotta without the cream and I didn’t like it as much as this one, but each to our own tastes. You can also reserve a jar of the whey milk to use in other recipes. It is salty, however, so keep that in mind.