Queso Fresco a cheese for the heat of summer

While looking for a summer cheese to make I came across this recipe on the New England Cheesemaking company web site.  This is a nice quick cheese that requires little to no no aging.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 tsp. Calcium Chloride Liquid (30%) Dissolved in 2 Tbsp. distilled water (if using store-bought milk)
  • 3 ounces prepared Mesophilic Culture.
  • 3/4 Rennet Tablets (microbial) Dissolved in 1/4 cup distilled water
  • 3 gallon Whole Milk Cow plus 1/2 whipping cream (makes it close to what jersey milk would be at 5% fat)
  • optional: 3 smoked peppers (chipotle this time)
  • optional: any other herbs you like

Cheese making steps:

  1. Add your calcium chloride to your milk. Then gently stir the milk and heat to 9° F.
  2. Remove pot from heat. Sprinkle culture over milk surface and let hydrate for 1 or 2 minutes. Gently and thoroughly stir culture into milk. Let sit for 45 minutes
  3. Add rennet and mix it into milk with an up and down motion for about 1 minute. Let sit for 40 minutes for curd to develop.
  4. After you get a clean break cut curd into 3/4 inch pieces. It is okay if they are not perfect cubes. Let the curds heal for 5 minutes.
  5. Slowly heat your curd back to 90°F if it dropped below and keep it there for 60 minutes.  Gently stir during the 60 minutes. If you want a drier cheese bring the temperature up to 93-95 during the 60 minutes
  6. Now slowly pour into your cloth lined colander. If you use your hand to stop the curds from going into the cloth first you will have a faster drain time.

Draining / Pressing time:

  1. Let the curds drain for at leat 30 minutes.
  2. mill into small pieces and add 1 tbsp of salt per lb of curd and any seasonings that you want to add into it
  3. add you curd to the mold and put into the press
  4. Put the follower on your cheese mold and press at the following .
  5. 30 minutes at 3-5 lbs.

  6. 60 minutes at 8-12 lbs
  7. 4-6 hours at 25 lbs

  8. remove and eat!!!  almost like eating squeaky cheese

How to make fresh squeaky cheese aka cheese curds

One of the greatest little snacks is fresh cheese curds.  You can’t beat the flavor, and the tiny little squeak noise that you get when you bite in to them.  Also they are very easy to make since they do not require a press to make.  This is a great cheese for a person that is just starting to make cheese.  Small curd size when cutting is very forgiving to those starting out. ingredients:

  • 2 gallons of milk
  • 1/2 tsp of calcium chloride
  • 1 packet of thermophilic culture (yogurt culture)
  • optional: annato coloring
  • 1/2 tsp rennet or 1/2 rennet tablet

1. 2 Gallons of Milk are heated to 96F, add 1/2 tsp of calcium chloride at this point. (Optional; If you want more color in the curds add 1/4-1/2 tsp of annato cheese coloring at this point)

2.  Add one packet of thermophilic culture and let this ripen for 30 minutes.

3.  Then add 1/2 tsp rennet and stir gently for 30 seconds. the milk will begin to curd in 6-10 minutes and a full curd will be set 25 minutes

4.  When firm cut the curds into 3/4 inch cubes and slowly stir 5 minutes.

5.  Then begin to cook the curds to 116F slowly over the next 30 minutes. (starting out at 2F every 5 minutes and then increasing the heating rate as the curds dry out)

6.  Continue to stir the curds for the next 30-60 min at 116F to increase firmness. (60 is best if you want a dry firm curd)

7.  Drain the curds and whey into a cloth lined colander and bundle by tightening the cloth after the whey is drained.

8. Press with a weight of one Gallon of water (app. 8 lbs) and let set three hours.

9. Now break or cut the curds into small bite size pieces(or cut into cubes) and toss with a bit of salt or herbs (to your taste) they are then ready to eat. The curds will lose their squeak after 12 hours or so.  But they still taste great regardless.  I had a batch from the store that was covered in garlic and dill that was delicious.  That is a variety I would love to make for a potluck. Mmmm squeaky cheese goodness.