20 February 2013

Queso Fresco

Admittedly, it is difficult to "rehomestead" in an apartment, but we've found ways.  Last year in Texas, I drug a few bags of wool with me and learned to wash and spin it into yarn.  This time, the wool has all been packed up so I went in search of other ideas and decided to try one that Jack certainly would love: cheese making   We didn't dive head first into making aged Gouda or anything but queso fresco is a start.  It takes about a day to complete though only fifteen minutes or so of actual work.  The result is a tender, crumbly cheese that's great on pizza, enchiladas, scrambled eggs, made into dips or as enjoyed as a snack.

Ingredients:

1/2 gallon whole milk
3 Tablespoons white vinegar
Salt to taste
Cheesecloth
Heat the milk in a large pot to about 180F (hot but before boiling).  Add the white vinegar and stir until curds form (they aren't large chunks so don't be discouraged if it sort of looks like curdled, yellowed milk).  Remove from heat and let stand for about ten minutes.  Pour through a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth.  Wrap tightly in cheesecloth and let drain overnight.  Squeeze out any excess whey and sprinkle with salt, combining gently.  Let cheese sit another few hours to dissipate salt.
***If you'd like your queso fresco shaped rather than in crumbles, add salt during the milk heating process and once drained through the cheesecloth, shape into desired sized rounds.  Also note, queso fresco isn't a "melting" cheese***
Enjoy!

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