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Queso Fresco

This is the best tasting queso fresco I've ever had. I think this probably has a lot to do with control of salt added, but this super dense and almost creamy cheese is perfect for tacos, guacamole, hell, we've even put it on scrambled eggs!

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Yield

1 lb

Time

About 12-14 hours total (45 min active)

Ingredients

120mlAcid (our favorite is distilled white vinegar)1 GallonWhole milkto tasteSalt

Instructions

1Denature
1 GallonMilk

Heat milk, stirring constantly in a large pot over medium-low flame until the temperature reads 190° F (88°C) If you don’t have a thermometer this can be done by heating until the milk smells like warm tapioca pudding and begins to boil.

2Add Acid
120mlAcid

Once your milk has reached the denaturing temperature, (190°F/88°C) turn off your heat, continue stirring and slowly add your distilled white vinegar or lemon juice.

When curds begin to appear and whey looks bright yellow or green with little clouding, stop adding your acid.

Give the mixture a final stir and allow the curds to rest on the stove for 5 minutes.

3Strain

While resting, set up your straining area by placing a colander inside a bowl large enough to contain your excess whey. Place your cheese cloth inside the colander with ends draping over the sides.

After the 5 minute rest, pour your whey and curds into your prepared cheese cloth.

Allow the curds to strain for 60 minutes at room temperature.

4Salt
to tasteSalt

After 60 minutes, sprinkle salt on the remaining curds and give it a quick stir to incorporate. Taste. If you need more salt, add gradually, stirring in between until you reach a flavor you’re happy with.

5Rest
If you have cheese molds or a tofu press and catch tray, feel free to use instead.

Once you’ve reached a flavor you’re happy with, gather the ends of the cheese cloth into your hand making a ball of cloth covered cheese, give the curds a quick squeeze to get out as much whey as possible.

Once you’ve got as much whey squeezed out as you can, twist up your cheese cloth, wrapping the curds completely and place the curds back in the colander.

Next place your soup can on top of the cloth and let straining continue in the fridge overnight or 12-24 hours.

6Check
If you have excess whey, avoid dumping it down your drain and simply discard in a garden or around a tree outside. Leftover whey is extremely nutrient rich and while plants love it, if whey ends up in rivers or lakes it can quickly create algal blooms that reduce oxygen in the water, killing fish and other aquatic life.

Check on your cheese after 12 hours. If the cheese is fairly difficult to pull apart, unwrap and either crumble and serve right away or keep in a container in your fridge for up to 7 days.

If after 12 hours you cheese is not compact, give the cloth another twist, squeeze and place back in the fridge with a heavier object pressing down on the cheese for another 12 hours.