This Wiki Article is a generic recipe for making Queso Blanco. Queso Blanco is Spanish for “white cheese” and is a direct acid, soft, fresh cheese. Direct acid means an acidic solution, vinegar is added directly to the milk to lower the pH and cause the milk to separate into curds and whey. Soft is because the texture is soft as the curds are not pressed to expel more whey. Fresh as the cheese is not aged (also called ripening), and thus can be eaten imediately.
Queso Blanco is a very easy to make cheese as it i) does not use a starter culture to acidify the milk, and ii) as it is fresh so the learning curve time is minimal versus some cheeses which require months to years to ripen. The consequence of no culture is a very milky tasting cheese. Queco Blanco is often eaten strait or crumbled or cut into 1-2 cm/0.5-1 inch cubes and mixed in with various dishes like lasagna. The consequence of being soft and moist is this cheese has a short shelf life, consume within 1 week.
Queso Blanco is very similar to Indian subcontinent Paneer Cheese except that Paneer commonly uses lemon juice to acidify the milk and is additionally lightly pressed to form a slightly firmer cheese.
- Vat to hold and in which to cook the milk.
- Stirring tool.
- Cheese cloth.
- Gravity draining device to hang curds in cheese cloth from.
- Food grade storage container.
Makes ~0.85 kg / ~1.75 pounds of Queso Blanco:
- Pour milk into the vat.
- Heat milk to 82 °C/180 °F stirring frequently to ensure even temperature and so that milk doesn’t catch/form skin where heat is applied, ie bottom of vat.
- While mixing, slowly dribble in the vinegar 1 spoon full at a time while gently stirring thoroughly to distribute. Stop adding vinegar when milk has separated into large fluffy curds and green transparent watery whey.
- Note: All milk’s are different (raw, pasteurized and homogenized, skim, 2%, full fat etc) and vinegar acidity varies by type and age of vinegar, thus above vinegar amount is minimum recommended. Add more vinegar while gently simmering until get good separation.
- Note: Adding excess vinegar makes the Queso Fresco softer and results in a more vinegary taste.
- Line a colander with a fine cheesecloth and place in sink (unless want to retain whey).
- Note: Place colander on top of container if want to retain and use whey.
- Ladle or pour the curdled milk through the colander, draining and disposing whey down sink.
- Note: If whey is milky, then you have not used enough lemon juice.
- Allow the curds to cool for about 20 minutes.
- Tie the four corners of the cheese cloth together and hang cheese to further gravity drain whey for ~5-7 hours until it stops dripping.
- Remove from cheesecloth and use immediately or store in food grade container in fridge.
- The solidified cheese can be broken apart and optionally salted to taste.
- The juice of 3-5 lemons may also be used as partial exchange or substitute to the vinegar to give produce a more tangy flavoured cheese.