As part of the Cheesepalooza challenge, there were some additional cheeses we could make. This week, I decided to make Queso Blanca! Queso Blanca is just white cheese. It is really easy, and doesn’t require any special supplies! And it is really good!
1 gallon whole milk
1/3 cup vinegar (I used regular white vinegar)
First, place the milk in a heavy bottomed pan, or in a double boiler. I decided to use the double boiler method. I have two large pots – one larger than the other – and I filled the bottom 1/2 full of water, and placed the smaller pot inside the larger pot. Add the milk, and bring to 195 degrees F.
Since I live at 9000 feet elevation, our boiling point is much lower. I could only get this to 190 degrees, so I just went with it!
The milk smelled really warm and delicious!
Add in 1/3 cup vinegar, and remove pan from the heat. Let sit with the lid on for 10-15 minutes. It will start to look curdled.
In the book, it says that if your milk doesn’t look curdled at this point, add in 1 tsp extra vinegar at a time until it does start to curdle. You don’t want the cheese to taste like vinegar, but it might need some extra help. However, mine didn’t, I just needed the original 1/3 cup vinegar.
Now, the cheese needs to be drained. I placed a strainer over a 2 gallon bucket, and lined the strainer with cheesecloth. Scoop the curds into the cheesecloth lined strainer.
Let it drain like this for 10-15 minutes.
Add in 1 tsp salt. I use this canning salt – you want a plain salt with no additives.
Carefully mix the salt into the curds with your hands, or a spoon.
Now, the cheese needs to be hung to complete draining. Take the edges of the cheesecloth, and bring them together. I use a hair tie to hold it together – you can use string or whatever you have.
I use a clip, and clip the remaining cheesecloth around a long handled spoon that will sit over the top of the bucket. Make sure the cheesecloth is not touching any of the whey in the bucket, and just let it hang and drain for about an hour.
After an hour, it will look like this. I dumped it straight out of the cheesecloth, so it is formed like it was in the cheesecloth.
Appearance: it looks so smooth and creamy
Nose (aroma): no scent that I could tell, it smelled like cheese!
Overall Taste: Incredibly smooth and creamy, not gritty at all.
Sweet to Salty: It was a little on the salty side – I probably could have added less salt, but the salt really complimented the cheese!
Mild (mellow) to Robust to Pungent (stinky): Very mild, not robust or pungent at all
Mouth Feel: (gritty, sandy, chewy, greasy, gummy, etc.): so smooth!
This cheese was so good, and is so easy! It came together in just a few hours, so it is something quick to make while working on other things in the kitchen.
Don’t throw away the whey either! It is full of nutrients! I took the extra whey and fed it to my tomato plants, which was a tip I read in the book! I also fed some to my dog – he liked it!
Happy hump day!