How Ricotta Cheese Is Made at a Small Italian Dairy

Claudia Romeo, a video journalist for Business Insider, traveled to the Puglian town of Locorotondo in the south of Italy to learn more about how ricotta cheese is made. Cheesemaker Giovanni Montanaro shared with Romeo that ricotta is not actually cheese. Instead, it’s made from curdled whey that forms during the cheese curing process.

Ricotta is a very versatile cheese that can be eaten in very different ways. And, technically speaking, it’s not even really a cheese, because it comes from the liquid whey when the milk is curdled. Bigger dairies that make cheese often consider liquid whey just a leftover product and use it to feed livestock or even discard it.

The ricotta that is produced at this dairy is considered a fresh product made for eating the same day. Each region prepares its ricotta differently. Montanaro showed Romeo how ricotta is made in Locorotondo.

Just like its sisters, mozzarella and burrata, ricotta is a game of time and chemistry. Today, Giovanni is going to show us how he makes ricotta from 100 liters of milk. Out of these 100 liters, only 10 will turn into curds that will then make cheese.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.