Homemade Queso Blanco Tutorial: The Easiest Cheese Ever

| 11/22/2013 2:46:00 PM

Cheese, the oh-so-beloved dairy-licious decadence that with the exception of the vegans and lactose intolerant among us, tops the charts as one of our favorite foodstuffs. Baked mac’n’cheese with farmhouse cheddar, made-from-scratch blueberry cheesecake, PIZZA! And then there is the sweet simplicity of a fresh chunk of mozzarella and homegrown tomato wrapped in a leaf of just-plucked windowsill basil. Mouth watering, yeah? You betcha!

For most of us modern-day mamas (or papas), a truly delectable cheese is as close as the nearest grocery store gourmet counter, depending of course, on the size of your bank account. But for the adventurous among us, I offer up an alternative. Grab a gallon of whole milk and a good cooking pot, and let’s make some cheese!

The first time I felt the smooth stretch of warm mozzarella between my hands, I was awestruck. Seriously? I am doing this? I made homemade pizza that day. Everything from scratch or grown from the garden. I felt like the most awesome person ever. And I was rewarded with happy tummies and complements at my table. Take out? Take that! Eat your heart out Digiorno! There is a deep satisfaction from homemade. Try it and let me know what you think.

We’re going to make Queso Blanco, by far the easiest cheese in my opinion, as the only ingredients are whole milk and white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar if you like).

Queso Blanco Ingredients and Equipment

1 gallon Whole milk
1/4 cup vinegar
A dairy thermometer
A large stainless steel cooking pot
A strainer. A wooden spoon
Optional: Salt and/or fresh or dried herbs

The entire process takes about 4 hours and will yield approximately 1 pound of cheese. Alright! Let’s do it!

1/29/2014 5:18:29 PM

There is unbleached cotton cheesecloth already, although maybe not in the very fine grades. I was wondering why stainless cheese mesh was not used more often in cheese making, besides the traditional imagery of the suspended cheesecloth. You can find stainless steel mesh in all sizes, down to a 500x500 thread per inch, that's over 10 times what the finest cheesecloth can offer. It's surely more convenient to have the curds hanging in an easy to clean mesh basket than in a cloth, and the fine grades can also retrieve more curd from the whey, or open the road to different cheese recipes because it is slower to dry the curd out. Just an idea.

1/29/2014 11:44:27 AM

morning although not adverse to using cheese cloth I was wondering if an alternative was out there. Unbleached cotton perhaps. A more authentic substitute. I first thought burlap as an alternative... but? Any suggestions from your readers thanks

11/24/2013 10:31:57 PM

French "fromage blanc" (same meaning as "queso blanco") is similar, but tastes better in my opinion. It uses rennet, vegetarian or animal, and the milk is also infused with a specific culture before adding the rennet, to provide the same taste consistently. The Cultures for Health web site has fromage blanc starter cultures. It is also left to fully curd in the same container, and you carefully ladle it into the definitive jar only after it is fully mature, you do not drain it. You can drain just a little bit the fromage blanc that you want to mix rather than in ladle blocks. Both types are excellent. If you let it drain a few more hours, you have a great fresh cheese to mix with garlic, crushed black peppercorn and "fines herbes" (chives, parsley, chervil), or a cream cheese if you add "crème fraîche", which is sweeter than sour cream. Another couple day and you have the start of a real cheese, perfect for "aligot". Just google image it! ;)

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