Queso Fresco (yes, cheese) March 12, 2016 16:48

Queso Fresco

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon pasteurized milk (not homogonized)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt with acidophilus cultures
  • ¼ to ½ cup distilled white vinegar
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon Kosher or canning/pickling salt or to taste

Directions:

  1. Pour milk into large stainless steel pot and stir in yogurt. Cover the pot and set aside at room temperature for 4 hours.
  2. Remove pot lid and place pot over medium heat. Bring mixture to 185 degrees, stirring as necessary to keep milk from scorching on bottom of pot.  Remove pot from heat.
  3. Slowly drizzle ¼ cup vinegar into mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to add up to ¼ cup more vinegar, until mixture coagulates into curds.  You will recognize a distinct change when the curds form; they will be white and separate from the whey, which will be yellowish in color.  You may not need to add all the vinegar.  Cover the pot and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Line a colander with cheesecloth or your flour sack dishtowel. Place it in the sink to drain.  Pour the curds into the colander.  The whey will immediately start to drain.  Drain for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the curds from the colander and place them in a bowl – add the salt. Work the salt in with your hands.  Add salt to taste.
  6. Line two cheese baskets with cheesecloth. Note:  I just put in two plastic containers, not molds, with no cheesecloth and put the lid on.
  7. Fill each mold with the curds and press them slightly into the cheesecloth lined basket. Cover the basket filled with curds with plastic wrap and chill.  This is a fresh cheese and will not improve with age, so enjoy it right away.  It keeps about a week if refrigerated.

Uses and Pairings:  Nothing can compare to this cheese as a topping for classic Mexican dishes.  Try it on handmade tortillas, carne asada, or red beans.  Or try it topped with fresh pico de gallo, or making a quesadilla with this cheese.  Always good spiced up with hot pepper powders!!