This cheese, Queso Fresco, stems from Spain and Latin American roots. Translated it means Fresh Cheese. This cheese shouldn’t be confused with Queso Blanco, which is essentially Ricotta Salata. Queso Fresco uses rennet, whereas Queso Blanco only uses lemon juice to coagulate the milk.
It is a quick farmhouse cheese that can be made a variety of ways. It involves a little bit of mesophilic culture, a little liquid rennet, and some salt. Not too much to making it really, but well worth the effort.
Here is the recipe that I adapted for a lower yield as most of the recipes that I found asked for 8 litres (2 gallons) of milk, which I believe was too much.
- 4 litres of full cream milk
- 1/16th of a teaspoon of Mesolphillic direct set culture (MO30)
- 1/8th of a teaspoon of liquid rennet diluted in 30ml (2 Tbspn) of unchlorinated water
- 1 Tablespoon of Cheese Salt
- 1/8th teaspoon of Calcium Chloride diluted in 30ml (2 Tbspn) of unchlorinated water, if using pasteurised/homogenised milk.
- Add milk to pot, heat to 32°C (90°F). Add the
- Add the culture and mix the milk well.
- Add the Calcium chloride if using.
- Add the diluted rennet and stir for 1 minute only. Cover.
- Allow milk to set for 45-60 minutes, or until you get a clean break.
- Cut the curd into 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) cubes.
- During the next 20 minutes, slowly increase the temperature to 35°C (95°F), stirring gently to keep the curds from matting.
- Cover and let the curds rest for 5 minutes.
- Drain off the whey by hand, return the curds to the pot.
- Add the salt and gently mix by hand. Cover and allow curds to rest at 35°C (95°F) for 30 minutes.
- Line your mould with cheesecloth and fill with curds
- Fold one corner of the cheesecloth over the mould and top with a follower. Press at 16kg (35lbs) for six hours.
- Remove from press and mould.
There is a Queso Fresco video tutorial in the works for this cheese, which will be published in the next few days.
Enjoy this simple, yet worthwhile cheese.