If you’re a fan of Italian cuisine, then you probably know how important ricotta cheese is in many traditional dishes.
But every so often, the texture of store-bought ricotta can be too watery, making it difficult to use in recipes. This is where straining ricotta comes in – it removes excess liquid and gives you a thicker, creamier cheese that’s perfect for cooking and baking.
In this blog post, we’ll walk you through 8 easy steps on how to strain ricotta cheese like a pro, so you can elevate your Italian cooking game and impress your family and friends.
What is Ricotta?
The ingredients of this type of cheese are a combination of whole cow’s milk (skim or low-fat) and whey.
In terms of texture, you will think of ice cream every time you look at ricotta cheese – it is white, thick, and grainy like a glass of cream. The cheese also includes very little fat content regarding the nutritional value, although the taste is still very delicious.
So, how to use ricotta? People often use ricotta cheese to replace other types of cheese.
What Is Needed To Strain Ricotta Cheese?
The first job to begin straining ricotta cheese is to prepare all the necessary equipment. Once everything is complete and ready, you can proceed with the work entirely.
- Small bowl – Strain ricotta cheese is easier than ever with a small bowl. Place the filter neatly over the bowl, and your ricotta cheese will flow into the bowl without splattering.
- Strainer or Chao – You can choose either of the above tools depending on the situation. Overall, both can work and go well with your small bowl.
- Cheesecloth or stiff paper towel – Cheesecloth is still a good choice to prevent cheese particles from coming out of the strainer. In case of shortage, replace it with a stiff paper towel. After the straining is complete, do not forget to clean the cheesecloth properly.
- Small spoon (Of course)
How To Strain Ricotta Cheese Like A Pro
Follow the eight steps guided below, and learn how to dry ricotta cheese as easily as pie! Let’s explore in detail to see what to do in each step.
Step 1: Use A Paper Towel (Or Dry Cloth) To Line The Colander (Or Strainer)
In case you don’t own a filter, replacing it with a colander is also a good idea.
Use a paper towel (or dry cloth) to cover the entire strainer surface. If you are more careful, apply two coats to ensure good filtering results.
Step 2: Place The Strainer Neatly On The Bowl
The ricotta will flow down after going through the strainer, and a small bowl is a great place to store it. More specifically, place the strainer in the bowl so that no ricotta noodles fall out during the straining process.
Step 3: Use A Spoon To Scoop The Ricotta
Pouring all the ricotta at one time possible leads to spillage. That’s why you should use a spoon to scoop the ricotta into the strainer. One piece of advice for you is, remove the liquid from the bottom of the ricotta container because it is all useless.
Step 4: Cover Your Ricotta With A Plate
Use a plate of the appropriate size to cover the ricotta. I would like to point out that your plate should not be on the lip of the filter, as it will affect the process.
If you can’t find a suitable plate, you can use a paper towel or clean cloth instead.
Step 5: Place A Heavy Item On The Top Of The Cheese Strainer
When you come to this step, you need to prepare some heavy objects on top of the plate (or cloth). A heavy enough force will help to squeeze the juice from the ricotta.
You have a lot of options for this position- an ice pack, a lunchbox, etc. Make sure the thing you choose has the proper weight and is clean!
Step 6: Waiting For The Straining
Your next job is to let the strainer work and wait. The time to complete this job is usually from 1 to 8 hours, depending on your intended use as well as the amount of ricotta.
Step 7: Handling In Case Ricotta Slow Flow
Some variation during cooking will give your ricotta a little bit of a problem. It tends to be denser than usual, and the flow rate is also slowed down considerably.
Therefore, it would help to keep an eye on the strainer to know when to help it get through. Use a spatula to scrape the ricotta off from the cloth side if they’re stuck. That is how you make the ricotta flow return to its original flow rate.
Step 8: Ricotta Is Ready For Serving
After the straining is complete, the pressed ricotta is still slightly warm, and this is a great time to serve it!
Here we have some suggestions for you on how to use ricotta so that the dish becomes the most beautiful and delicious. Let’s try it out!
- Spread on top of toast or crostini
- Make a dip by mixing ricotta with herbs and chopped tomatoes.
- Mix a little salt and top with olive oil for a dip.
- Make a dessert with ricotta, honey, and your favorite nuts.
Some Tips To Strain Ricotta Cheese Effectively
For straining ricotta cheese more effectively, you should know a few tips below:
- The refrigerator is the best place to store this ingredient. Yet, the longer you leave it, the more cheese will melt.
- To save time, strainer in the evening and let the process go on throughout the night.
- If you want to wrap ricotta cheese, use a paper towel (or clean cheesecloth) to do it.
What Can I Use Ricotta Cheese For?
In general, ricotta cheese plays an indispensable role in dishes such as:
- Pasta – Before serving, mix your pasta well with ricotta cheese for extra flavor. You can also use this cheese in breaded dishes like lasagna.
- Cannoli – An Italian pastry filled with ricotta cheese.
- Sauces – Mix pasta sauces with ricotta cheese, and now you have a delicious sauce.
- Spread / Dip – You can use ricotta cheese to dip vegetables. Or seasoning, then spreading this cheese over crostini or cookies is also a good idea.
- Sandwiches – Spread some on sandwiches for better aroma and taste.
How To Know If Your Ricotta Cheese Is Spoiled?
Does Ricotta cheese go bad? – Yes, when left for a long time or improperly stored, ricotta cheese will begin to show signs of spoilage. So how do you know if your cheese is still edible or not? Scroll down as the answer is waiting for you!
Blue Fuzzy Moldy
The change in appearance will be the first hint that your ricotta cheese has gone bad. Specifically, the surface of the cheese will begin to appear moldy and ooze light brown (yellow) water instead of white.
For some soft cheeses (Danish blue, Brie, etc.), the mold is still edible. But most of this mold includes harmful toxins. Hence, we highly suggest you throw away all ricotta cheese when these signs appear.
Ricotta cheese has a slight milky smell or no flavor at all. Once you discover your cheese has a strange odor (sour, fermented), you should throw it away as soon as possible.
Pay Attention To Cheese’s Shelf Life
Because of its perishability, ricotta cheese is often stored in the refrigerator. But for these cheese packs after opening, it’s best to discard them after two weeks. It is the recommendation of the US Department of Agriculture, so you need to follow it to keep your health safe.
Check The Date
The “use-by date” appears on all soft and hard ricotta cheese packaging, so check it often to know when you need to throw it away. Typically, an unopened pack of ricotta cheese can keep for two to four weeks.
Why You Have To Drain The Ricotta?
Draining ricotta cheese without liquid will make your dish much tastier than before. Some dishes (such as pies, cakes) require dry ricotta cheese not to break the dish’s texture.
Can Your Ricotta Cheese Be Frozen?
You can freeze ricotta cheese for long-term storage. However, its texture will be changed and often adversely affect the dishes.