Cheese Making 101

This year for Cinco De Mayo, along with our typical turkey enchiladas and spanish rice I wanted to add Queso Blanco (literally “white cheese”) this can also be known as Queso Fresco (or “fresh cheese”) this is essentially an unaged cheese.  It is something that the local mexican joint always uses and I had no idea where to find it.  When I googled it I found lots of recipes….turns out it’s really easy to make. 

Soooo…..I decided to make it.

Basically you take a gallon of whole milk and just about boil it.  Some recipes said to just let it boil, some said to pull it off just before it boiled.  I let mine just start to bubble and removed it from the heat.  In any case you have to stir the living heck out of it to keep the milk from burning to the bottom of the pan. 

At this point  you add 1/4 C of acid such as lemon juice, lime juice or white vinager.  I used a combo of white vinager and lemon juice.  Once you do this the milk will begin to curdle….keep stirring for about 10 minutes.  When you stop stirring the curds will rise to the top and look kind of disgusting. I would have taken a picture but I had to run out the door to get M off the bus.

Pour it into a collander lined with cheese cloth and let it drain…ours took awhile.  Once the curds have cooled for a bit (or 10-15 minutes for those of you who insist on actual measurements), gather the top of the cheesecloth, hang the cheese over a bowl and let it drain until it stops dripping.

Then once it’s done draining you can crumble it and it will look thusly.

or you can press it so it looks more like a traditional cheese.  You can leave it as is or you can salt it….it was a bit bland for us so we salted. 

We learned that this method of cheese making is called acidic coagulation.   MMMMM!  Doesn’t that sound yummy?!? 

No? Really?  Yeah…I agree.  🙂  The cheese was good though, very creamy with the texture of feta. What it basically means is that the acid (vinager and lemon juice in our case) breaks the bonds between the casien and whey  causing the whey to drain off and the casien molecules to tighten back around themselves like a twisted rope.  This is the cheese. (did anyone else just here Little Miss Muffett in their head?).  Most hard cheeses use rennet instead of acid for this purpose (google at your own might not want to know).

Once it’s done you can at it to your mexican meal…like say..for instance..Green Chili Turkey Enchiladas.

See it peeking out there on top of the enchilada?  You can also refridgerate it or even freeze it I hear.

The kids helped make this meal…here they are in the enchilada assembly line.


One response to this post.

  1. What fun! I want to make cheese!


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