Author Topic: My first Queso Fresco and seeing The Milky Whey  (Read 2074 times)

Offline Scarlet Runner

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My first Queso Fresco and seeing The Milky Whey
« on: February 22, 2011, 06:27:39 PM »
I made my first Queso Fresco this weekend, using FiasCo Farm’s recipe.

Ripened 4 gallons storebought whole milk + 8 frozen cubes meso primer culture (~1.5%) for 1 hour, 90F.  Added CaCl2.
Floc time = 11 min x 2.5 multiplier.
Curd cutting: 1/4". Poor curd set (I ended up waiting 40 min. total to see if it would firm up more.)
Heal curds 5min.
Up to  99F over next 20 min, stirring every few minutes to distribute heat (stovetop) and avoid clumps. 
Let the curds settle for 5 minutes, drain all whey from curds by pouring thru colander. All clumped together.
Maintain curds (in pot) at 96F for 20 minutes, curds were matted/clumped- broke up by hand occasionally.  Whey was VERY milky.
Add 4TB salt. 
Press cheese (in two side by side 5” cheese molds in the same press):
 14 lb. for 10 minutes
 39 pounds for 1 hour
 60 pounds overnight
Air dry about 6 hrs, wrap and refrigerate.

Tasting notes: Smells tangy and fresh. Texture: firm with a few mechanical openings.  Slices well, some crumble.  Inside glossy and firm, NOT creamy/matte. Taste: tangy, cottage-cheese/mozzarella taste. Does not melt at all.

I’m wondering about a few things:
-Yield:  5lb 1.2 oz yield from 4 gallons- Is this normal??
-Curds didn’t set very well- I think I’ve got rennet about right, since I’m getting floc times of 10-12 minutes now. Could I add more CaCl2 (I currently use 1/8 tsp per gallon)? Or perhaps my acidity wasn’t in the right range for rennetting after 1 hr- no way to tell w/o a pH meter, I guess…
-Why the firm glossy texture (vs. creamy, crumbly, matte)? Is this related to the milky whey? I drained curds by pouring the whole lot thru a cheesecloth lined colander and I now think this is too rough because my whey after draining was very cloudy, and curds got very firm.  I’m learning (thanks John (CH)!!) that many folks siphon off whey, or bail it- will learn more about this. Or maybe I pressed too hard?
-I use direct stovetop heat to make cheese- a 5.5 gallon stainless steel (18/10) pot with heavy bottom- which I realize is not ideal.  I don’t have problems scalding milk, but it is hard to distribute heat without stirring all the time, and I end up stirring curds too much I think. Does everyone else on the planet use some type of water bath or double boiler system?? (I am eyeballing the turkey roaster posts very closely these days…)

Cheers everyone-

Offline JeffHamm

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Re: My first Queso Fresco and seeing The Milky Whey
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2011, 06:58:12 PM »

I made this yesterday.  The only major difference I see is that the recipe I have doesn't call for any ripening time, just warm up and add starter and rennet.  I let my curds heal for 10 minutes, though recipe called for 5, because I've noted that my milk produces soft curds.  The extra time seemed to help this time.  Anyway, I had made this because the recipe I copied said it could be a substitute for moz on pizza, but after making it I found it doesn't melt.  I see yours doesn't melt either, and the more I read up on it the more I think someone's note about pizza is misplaced.  Oh well.  By the sounds of it though, my make and yours turned out very similar.  And, I use a double boiler set up.  (I also just made 10 L, and got 1556g, or about 3 lbs).

Queso Fresco (Saturday, May 21, 2011) Overcast, cool; 19 0C, high pressure
•   10 litres Home Brand standard Pasteurized Milk
•   4 ice cubes Prepared Mesophilic Starter (Flora Danica)
•   0.6 ml Rennet
•   1/2 tsp CaCl
•   2-3  Tbls Salt
1)   Heat milk to 32.20C (temp 32.2-32.4)
2)   add your starter & CaCl, and stir for 3 minutes.
3)   Add rennet to achieve floc in 10-15 minutes (time 10:15 am; floc = 14 min 0 sec)
4)   let set 3x floc (30-45 minutes) (cut time = 10:57)
5)   Cut the curd in 0.6 mm pieces  (time 10:57-11:03 Temp 32.2)
6)   Raise the temperature to 35.00C over the next 20 minutes, (raising no more than 2 degrees in 5 minutes) stirring gently every few minutes to prevent the curd from forming a mass. (reached 35.0 at 11:24)
7)   Sit undisturbed for 10 minutes so it forms a mass of curd at the bottom of the pot.
8)   Drain the whey (started 11:34)
9)   mix in the curds 2-3Tbls of cheese salt. (used 2.5 tbls; some may have drained off as I poured out more whey after this)
10)   Keep the curd at 35.00C and allow to sit for an additional 30 minutes. (11:47 – 12:17)
11)   Place the curds into mold and press the curd under 15kg of pressure for 6 hours. (start press in the pot at 12:30 flipped/redressed at 1:30 and upped to 20 kg; moved out of the pot until 6:30 ish)
12)   Remove from the press, refrigerate and enjoy. 
Good knit.  1556g out of the press.

- Jeff
The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.