Real, fresh ricotta is a revolutionary experience. I suspect that it’s rare to find it in a grocery store, but the difference from mass-market ricotta and post-cheesemaking ricotta is astonishing. The texture of fresh goat’s milk ricotta is much finer and it’s quite fluffy unless you press it. The flavor is clear and creamy, with a hint of tang from the culturing process of the milk for the cheese. You can toss it on top of baked potatoes, pizza, steamed vegetables, pasta, crackers, or simply a spoon. Rumor has it some artisan dairies do produce a true ricotta, rather than the coarser textured typical grocery store ricotta, and it can occasionally be purchased in stores.

How to make ricotta:

1. Make cheese with rennet (not with an acid).
2. Save whey.
3. Boil whey, remove from heat and add lemon juice.
4. Strain through cheesecloth.
5. Eat.

I’ve had some other experiences where the classical production method does produce a dramatically different product from your plain Jane grocey store version, but ricotta is the first where I’ve really been transformed from an “eh” opinion to a “brilliantly delicious!” opinion. What’s a commercial food that you found to be completely different when homemade or traditionally-made?

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