Saturday, February 1, 2014

Homemade Queso Fresco

As I'm still trying to learn the ins and outs of finding affordable organic products, I've found that sometimes it's just easier to do it yourself. Organic and/or raw cheeses can cost an arm and a leg yo'!!

This is by far my favorite cheese recipe and I make it often - it couldn't be simpler and the mild, crumbly cheese it produces is so versatile. Put it on salads, crumble it into soups, casseroles, tacos, pizza, the list goes on and on.  If you're new to or nervous about trying to make your own cheese- this is the perfect beginner recipe. And all ya need are three ingredients:

  • 3-4 Tbsp Distilled white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 gal of organic milk (You can do skim, 1%, 2% or whole - they all work!)

Pour the half gallon of milk into a large non-reactive pot and add 1 Tbsp Kosher salt. 

Bring slowly to a full, rolling boil over medium. Once it's good and boiling, add 3-4 Tbsp vinegar. (I find with the ultra pasteurized or pasteurized, you have to be a little violent with the boiling and the vinegar - alot of recipes say to turn the heat off when you add the vinegar but mine wouldn't curdle that way... I had to keep on boiling! Don't worry, you won't hurt it- it's not a sensitive cheese.) 

Here you can begin to see the curd separating from the whey....

Prepare your strainer: You can't see it very well but I actually have a bowl under the colander to catch the whey - you don't want to throw that away! You can make ricotta or other cheeses out of it or use it to boil pasta or rice in. It's full of vitamins! 

Here you can DEFINITELY see the whey and curd have separated, time to pour into the strainer...

Gather up the cheesecloth to let it hang and pour off the excess whey. 

I actually like to tie the cheesecloth to one of my cabinet handles and let it drain/cool while I'm busy doing other things... make sure to place a bowl under the cheese as it continues to drip. 

I love how it compacts into a little cheese ball, but crumbles easily if you need it to! 

And there you go! Homemade cheese! 

Now what to do with the whey.... 

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