Making Soft Cheeses At Home

How to make Queso Blanco (white cheese)

Use the double boiler or two pans. Put water into lower unit and 1 gallon of pasteurized milk (I find if you add 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk, not instant it works better) in the upper unit. Sitr in 1/2 cup fresh buttermilk or 1/4 cup fresh plain yogurt. Stir and warm slowly to 92F to 94F. Maintain this temperature through the next two steps.

Add rennet, following directions given by manufacturer. Dissolve tablet in cold water and stir into milk for 2 or 3 minutes. Leave the milk undisturbed for about 30 minutes until a firm gel forms. Test gel firmness by inserting spatula into curd and pulling it out at an angle. If curd breaks clean, it is ready for cutting.

Cut the gel with the spatula into one-inch cubes. Stir gently for 20 to 30 minutes until the curd "heals" or becomes firmer. Maintain temperature at 92 to 94F.

Pour off or dip out the whey (yellow liquid). Allow the curd to settle, and dip out whey with a cup. Push curd to one side and tilt pan to drain off remaining whey.

Add salt. Amount of salt added may be varied to suit individual taste. Mix 3 teaspoons of salt into the curd in three portions, 5 minutes apart (1 teaspoon, three times).

Divide the salted curd into two equal portions. Line two hoops (the prepared, clean cans) with clean, wet cheesecloth or mulsin. Place each salted curd into a lined can. Fold cloth over the top and add can-lid follower.

Apply pressure by adding weight to the top of the follower in the can. Continue pressing until cheese surface is smooth, usually 2 to 4 hours. Do this in the sink since a great deal of liquid will drain out.

When pressed, remove cheese from cans. Remove cloth and wrap cheese in waxed paper or plastic wrap.

Equipment

  • Thermometer, preferably stainless steel, dial-type, with temperature range of 25 to 150F. A good, sturdy thermometer is essential. Glass thermometers are usable, but be careful not to break the thermometer in the cheese.
  • Large double boiler; the inner pot should have about a 5-quart capacity for 1 gallon of milk. If you do not have a double boiler use two large pots. The smaller should fit inside the larger.
  • Spatula, thin bladed, long enough to reach bottom of pot.
  • Long-handled spoon.
  • Cheesecloth or mulsin.
  • Hoops or forms for pressing the cheese. These can be made from one-pound coffee or shortening cans. Punch holes in the bottom of the can with an ice pick. Work from the inside out so the cloth liner does not catch on the holes. Make a perforated follwoer out of the can lid.
  • Modified from Bodyfelt, F.W. 1975June. Making soft cheeses at home. FS227. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331.



    Updated: Monday, June 4, 2012.