Using a large pot, add the 8 cups of Whole Milk, along with the heavy cream & salt
Using a candy thermometer, SLOWLY bring the temperature up to 190 degrees. (about 10 to 15 minutes)WARNING: The key to success is bringing the temperature up to 190 slowly. DO NOT at any point allow the milk to boil. Be mindful of the bottom of your pot, do not allow the milk to scorch. Use a spatula to stir.
The idea is to be gentle with the protein and fat in the milk. The slow warming process allows the fat to separate/coagulate. Creating curds ( the cheese) & they Whey (the leftover liquid)
While the milk is coming to 190 degrees add in the salt. Add the salt asap.
Once @ 190 degrees stir in the 2 whole lemons - juiceStir for 60 seconds. You'll start to see the milk thicken. This is the coagulation process happening. You're making cheese!!!
Cover the pot with the heat off and allow it to coagulate for 15+ minutes.
After 15+ minutes, pour through cheesecloth. You'll need to drain off the whey. Do not allow the curds (cheese) to sit in the whey. Once the whey level starts to touch the cheese, drain off the whey. Continue until all whey is gone and only the curd is left.
How To Shape & Store The Cheese
Using plastic wrap. Layout the curds and roll them into the shape you want. This is your one chance to shape the cheese to your desire. Think about the presentation of your ricotta cheese when you slice and serve.
Storage: Refrigerate, wrapped in plastic wrap
It will last around 1 ½ week. Over the days the cheese will shrink a very small amount due to the frigid air in the refrigerator.
Set up the ricotta cheese overnight for a solid form cheese.