Easy Cheese Making: Ricotta & Crème Fraîche

The last time I reached for an 8oz. container of crème fraîche at the market otherwise (and affectionately) known as Whole Paycheck, I gasped aloud.  I carefully put it back on the shelf – it was that expensive.

I try to shop the best prices when purchasing crème fraîche and ricotta, yet I also have to wonder how much gas I use driving around to save money? It boggles my brain that in one store the same exact brand of crème fraîche or ricotta is a small mortgage payment and in another it is merely a car payment.

And if I bought some and didn’t use it before it expired, I felt just awful.  Like I was tossing money down the garbage disposal and I guess I was.  But baking with both is a pleasure and I really can’t help myself – I keep buying the stuff at those absurd prices.


Here is where I give a big giant thank you to a few awesome bloggers who paved the way for me to keep a check on both my checkbook and my sanity.  Chocolate for you all!

To Deb from Smitten Kitchen – I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  As does Cap’n Awesome.  Smitten’s ricotta recipe (here) is just to die for.  It is crazy easy and I actually thought she must have left something out because it took no effort at all.  We used it in a homemade just cheese lasagna and it was so spectacular I actually ate my piece very very slowly.  Anyone who knows me is laughing because I usually inhale food.

It is by far, the best ricotta in the universe – smooth, creamy, cheesy.  It gets better with a little age, I think – so give it a day to ripen.  It does not like a lot of heat, so beware.  I added more to the serving of lasagna after it was cooked. And just a tiny bit on some of your favorite GF crackers with a little green something on top will make you swoon.  I promise.

The lasagna I made used this ricotta and fresh homemade GF egg noodles from here.

And then there is crème fraîche.  It is mind-boggling easy to make and keeps forever.  I know that because I like it to keep it at least two weeks so it gets uber tangy.  Smitten Kitchen has directions here and if you have the book, Flour – Joanne Chang tells you how to make it as well.

That is so easy to do I can tell you right now.  Take two cups of heavy cream (not ultra pasteurized if you can help it) and pour it into a glass container you can seal.  Add about 4 tablespoons of buttermilk – give it all a stir and seal.  Leave on the counter overnight or at least for 14-20 hours until it sets up.  I find that about 16 hours does it depending on how warm the house might be.  Be patient.  Then refrigerate – it will continue to ripen but that is a good thing.

You can certainly use it right away, but I like it to advance into tangy-ville which takes about a week and at two weeks it is usually at a peak for flavor.  After that I use it for baking and toss it out (like there’s anything left) after three weeks.

This is cheese making so easy I feel like I wondered what I was waiting for.  I haven’t shopped for either of these since I learned how to make them at home – which takes less time than shopping for the best price.  Just saying!

Try it.


  1. Bellwether Vance says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was contemplating a container of creme fraiche last week and couldn’t…just couldn’t…buy it. I’ve made ricotta (though I’ll have to check out the recipe you’re talking about, because the one I use is a little finicky and I’d prefer a recipe that’s a little more submissive), but for some reason I just never really thought about making the creme fraiche because it isn’t a common ingredient round these parts.

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      My pleasure. The ricotta is not fussy at all. So easy and forgiving. You can leave it much longer and all that will happen is a more firm cheese. Still tastes fabulous. The creme fraiche is so ridiculously easy I am embarrassed to admit I used to pay so much to buy the stuff. Sigh. But I haven’t since I started making it and never will again. Great to see you!


  1. […] two days in advance make the ricotta and crème fraîche (make double recipes of both from here) […]

  2. […] apple. I have to admit that I used homemade ricotta found here and homemade crème fresh found here and followed this recipe… it was super yummy!  This was my first venture into homemade […]