Thursday, July 23, 2009

How to Make Raw Queso Fresco (Fresh/Quick Cheese Recipe)

Since my blogging handle is “CheesemakinMamma”, I thought I better start posting more cheese recipes. This is one of the main cheeses we make. It is so quick, versatile and easy. I can have this cheese in the press in 2 ½ hours. We use it on our sandwiches and substitute it for most cheeses including mozzarella, jack and even Cheddar depending on the recipe. It freezes very well when vacuum sealed and it seems to hold its shape better. I make approximately 4 lbs (using 4 gallons of milk) at a time. You can cut this recipe in half if you only want to do 2 lbs. I make 4 lbs a week because I trade some of my cheese for the milk I’m using to make the cheese as well as our drinking milk and eggs. You can also make this out of skim milk, although it makes less cheese. We like using whole milk. That is why the cheese is naturally yellow in color. You may use goat or cow's milk with this recipe.

Raw Queso Fresco Recipe:

1. Heat milk to 90 degrees and add 1/4 tsp direct-set mesophilic starter or 8 oz prepared mesophilic starter. Stir in thoroughly.

2. Then add ½ tsp liquid rennet or ½ rennet tablet diluted in ¼ cup water. Stir (from top to bottom) for one minute

3. Set for 30 minutes or until a clean break occurs.

4. Cut curd into ¼ inch cubes.

5. Gradually heat curds to 95 degrees over 20 minutes, stirring gently every five minutes. Watch this step! Don’t overheat because your cheese will turn out like rubber (know this from personal experience).

6. Let curds set undisturbed another 5 minutes
7. Drain off whey then add 9 Tbl fine ground Celtic Sea Salt or cheese salt and let sit covered for 30 minutes.

8. Line mold or cheese press with cheese cloth and put broken up curds into it.

9. Press at 35 lbs of pressure for 6 hours. Remove cheese from mold.

(Note – I really don’t like the cheese press we bought. It is made out of plastic and it is hard to know what your pressure is. You have to keep checking it and tightening. Don’t buy a cheap one! I’m hoping my hubby can make me a different one sometime.)


Rachel and Family said...

WOW Jackie!! That is some cheese! When I was a little kid in PA, my parents used to make goat cheese in the closet.
Can you post your tortilla recipe? I was taught before by one of our Hispanic HL ladies, but they weren't ww. I bet yours are :). The ones I buy at the store are so expensive!

motherofmany said...

Thanks for the recipe. I wonder if this is anything like pottage cheese, which is also a quick cheese. I'll let you know.

You're not throwing the whey out are you? That stuff is like liquid gold.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

My healthy tortilla recipe is posted under lables-->recipes-breads.

Never heard of pottage cheese. Let me know about that.

I never throw out my whey. I use it in all kinds of stuff as a natural preservative and I give the rest to the gal I get milk from because she uses it in her homemade chicken and pig feed.

What do you use it for? I'm always looking for new ideas.

P.S. I just love that you're commenting again! You always have such great questions and ideas.

motherofmany said...

I use the whey for soaking flour to make it more digestable. We had to stop eating wheat because we were having so much trouble, and I read to try spelt and to soak it per Nourishing Traditions to see if it is a wheat allergy or straight gluten allergy. We seem to tollerate the soaked spelt breads, biscuits, and crusts.

I also use it for lacto-fermented pickles. I used to like pickles, and then when I tried lacto-fermented, I realized the store pickles are a pale comparison!

I hear it is a great drink for those with ulcers, but I haven't worked up the courage to try it straight yet. ;)

Glad to be back, though I was here reading the whole time. I needed to delete the blogs that were creating stress (not necessarily those discussing something hard, but the ones who didn't handle it well) and just have those things that are edifying on my daily read list. I feel like I'm sitting in your yard having lemonade when I read your posts, and they are a soothing balm in this crazy world!

Chris in FL said...

Just wondering if you had a milk cow or goats or both?

Looks yummy!!

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

I think that is the sweetest compliment I've ever received on this blog. Thank you! I needed to hear that.

We live in town, so raising cows/goats aren't an option. I trade cheese for the cow's milk that I get to make the cheese. Honestly, that totally works for me right now as I just don't have the time to take care of animals with two little kids with hubby gone frequently. Our dream is to someday get a place where we can have our own milk cow. By then, the kids will be old enough to help, so trading really works for me at this stage in my life.

Thanks for all your great questions/comments, ladies!

Chris in FL said...

I want that someday. Some land and some farm animals.

Robin said...

Oooo. Impressive. So, do you ever sell your cheese?

I just don't see myself adding one more project to my life.

I always wondered if CheeseMakin' Mama meant you literally DID make cheese. :)

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Thanks for stopping by. Great to hear from you!

It is illegal to sell homemade raw cheese in Oregon. I use my extra cheese for trading. I've traded cheese for everything from the milk I use to make the cheese, fresh farm eggs, free-range chickens, tips for my hair dresser, to babysitting.

Yep, I really am a cheese-making mamma! I'll be making feta next week. I just gotta remember to take some pictures as I'm doing so I can get that recipe/procedure on the blog.

The Real Me! said...

I have never thought of making my own cheese. I think it would be easier for me to just move next door to you and trade you for some! LOL
Great job!

la famille may bouffandeau said...

it looks soo easy- except i can't understand pounds, gallons and fahrenheit! i reckon it'll take me just as long to do the maths...
but i'll give it a go! thanks for such an informative blog

Janet said...

I made this yesterday and was so happy with the ease of your directions!!! I am so thankful I stumbled on this blog. My husband is in the army and I can relate to many things on your site. Thanks - you are inspiring and I am so thankful for more tips on keeping life simple and nourishing more than just our bodies.

Anonymous said...

I make queso fresco using rennet, I have been told that you can use vinegar or lemon juice to make the curds. Do you know any thing about this? or the quantity of vinegar used? I usually use 10 gallons of milk which makes about 15 pieces of cheese. I use the wey to make riccotta cheese and have made ravioli with it and it was wonderful. I also skim the cream and make butter.Any info would be appricated.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

I've also heard of using vinegar instead of rennet, but I don't know the measurements. I've just always used rennet. Sorry I'm not more help! It sure would be less expensive to use vinegar :)

Sonja said...

Thanks for the recipe! I've been looking forward to making cheese. My problem is that I don't have a mold and don't want to buy one. What do you suggest? Could I make or improvise one?
I've also heard of using cultured buttermilk instead of rennet. Do you think this would work?
I use vinegar to make ricotta cheese. It has 3Tbsp and then gradually up to 6Tbsp of vinegar per half-gallon of milk. If hard cheese is curds without the whey, maybe this will work! Again, thanks and blessings!


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