OK, so I believe the Italians are the best at this so visit this copyrighted site for great mozzarella and ricotta recipes.
To help you through some of the processes, watch these videos. (The mozzarella lady uses a microwave at one stage which can offend purists, but if you’re just starting out I see no problem with it!
1 gallon whole milk, (not ultra high pasteurized (UHT) and preferably raw)
1/2 cup cold water, divided
1 1/2 teaspoon citric acid (1 teaspoon powdered Citric Acid is equivalent to ¼ cup lemon juice (4 Tablespoons))
1 teaspoon vegetable rennet (This is naturally occurring in cow’s milk from a cow that has just calved. Do not use junket rennet. Alternatives that can achieve the same result as rennet include vinegar, and lemon juice. Other options are to acquire “vegetable rennet” made from one of several plants (thistle, nettle and mallow, to name a few), or “microbial rennet” acquired from mold.
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1.) In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup cold water and citric acid. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and rennet.
2.) In a large, non-reactive pot, combine the citric acid mixture and milk, then stir well. Place it on the stove on medium-low heat, and let the mixture warm up to 90 degrees, while gently stirring.
3.) Remove from heat, and slowly stir in the rennet mixture for a few seconds. Cover with a lid, walk away from the pot, and wait for 10 minutes.
4.) Check to see if the curd resembles a soft custard or silken tofu. If not, allow the mixture to sit covered for a few more minutes. Use a long knife or long offset spatula to cut through the curd to create large chunks.
5.) Heat the pot again on medium, while gently stirring, until the temperature reaches 105 degrees Use a mesh strainer to remove the curds from the whey, and place in a microwave safe bowl. Cheesecloth works even better.
6.) Microwave for 1 minute, knead the curd 2 times, and drain excess whey. Microwave for 35 seconds and repeat the process 2 more times, or until the curds reach 135 degrees. Be sure to get rid of any whey each time.
7.) Sprinkle with salt, stretch, fold, and knead the cheese several times, until it appears more smooth and glossy. Fold into a ball.
8.) Serve immediately, or cover and store in the fridge in some salted whey liquid.
Don’t throw the whey away!
Ricotta cheese is made from whey that is left over from making a different cheese, like mozzarella. It is like a present from the cheese gods! Easy to make and very few ingredients.