I have been making soft cheeses at home for about a year now. They are surprisingly simple, and there are many that don't require special equipment. While I would love for us all to go out and buy cheese molds and cultures and age our own Gouda, we are going to be making fresh ricotta, which can be made in your own kitchen with things you already own. (Bon Appetit kinda stole my thunder on this, but whatever).
1 gallon milk (you can use 1 percent on up, remember that the more fat in the milk, the more cheese it will yield.)
1 quart buttermilk
-cheesecloth (a good, tightly woven one, not the kind you buy at the supermarket)- If you don't have one of these, you can get by with a slotted spoon, but you may lose some of the cheese.
-a thermometer (mine is for oil and candy)
Place buttermilk and milk in a pot, heat on med-low heat until it reaches 185 degrees.
It will begin to separate into curds and whey. Be sure to stir occasionally to make sure no curds stick to the bottom and burn. You will see that as the temperature approaches 185, the whey becomes clearer as the curds coagulate more.
Pour the curds into a cheesecloth lined colander. Tie the ends of the cheesecloth together and hang for 10-15 minutes. Remove from cheesecloth and place in an airtight container.
Here is a link to a post about making ricotta, with pictures.
use can use milk that has been pasteurized, but not ultra-pasteurized. Ultra pasteurization heats the milk too much, and de natures the proteins that form curds. You will not get cheese from ultra pasteurized milk. Sorry.
make sure your pots and other equipment are very clean before starting
you can make any amount as long as you stick to a 4 parts milk to 1 part buttermilk ratio.
From the Forum:
The ricotta was great. I had it drain longer, so it was drier. I personally like it drier. I used unsweetened soy milk, but there was still a hint of sweetness in some of the bites
Debyi of Healthy Vegan Kitchen
can't believe how simple it was especially when we've been paying 18bucks a pop for cream cheese
Kavs of The Girl Next Kitchen
I did my cheese on Saturday and tastes the same as a fresh cheese we have in Spain called Mató.
Olga of Las Recetas de Olga