This recipe is from Cooking Light magazine, where I get a lot of ideas for meals. Many become family favorites. This was my first attempt at making cheese. I must say, when you've tasted freshly made ricotta, the taste of "store bought" can no longer compare.
1Line a large colander or sieve with 5 layers of dampened cheesecloth, extending over the outside edges of the colander. Place colander in a large bowl.
2Combine the milk and buttermilk in a large heavy pot. Attach a candy thermometer to the pot so the thermometer reaches into the milk about 2 inches. Cook over medium high heat until the thermometer reaches 170 degrees (about 20 minutes). GENTLY stir the milk occasionally. Stirring too often or too vigorously will break down the curds that are forming.
3As soon as the milk reaches 170 degrees, stop stirring and let the mixture reach 190 degrees. Immediately remove the pan from the heat. The bottom of the pan will scorch slightly.
4Using a slotted spoon, GENTLY spoon the curds into the cloth lined colander; discard the whey or save it for some other use. SAVE SOME of the whey for adding back into the cheese if the curds seem too dry after draining. Drain over the bowl for 5 minutes. Gather the edges of the cloth together and tie with twine. Don't squeeze the bag or push the curds. Hang the bundle from the faucet of your sink and drain for 15 more minutes or until the whey stops dripping.
5Scrape the cheese into a bowl, add the salt and stir gently with a fork to combine. Add some of the whey back into the cheese if too dry. Cool to room temperature. Store in a sealed container until used.
Yields about 3 cups of cheese. Store in refrigerator up to 4 days.