No Whey!

…as in curds and whey.  And there is no whey {hopefully} in the Queso Blanco cheese I made tonight.

Yep, I’m now a budding cheese maker.

Budding = Barely Know What I’m Doing

I love cheese and dairy.  Almost every meal at our house has some sort of cheese-dairy thing in it.  And cheese is a great source of protein so we feed a bunch of it to Miss-Too-Skinny-Pants-Mary-Margaret.

A month or so ago I was in the grocery store and realized just how much cheese I buy on a regular basis: shredded cheddar, block of cheddar, queso, bleu, mozzarella balls, shredded mozzarella, sliced provolone, shredded parmesan.  And that’s not including the sour cream, or the cream cheese, or the cottage cheese, or the many varieties of yogurt.

Hmmmmmmm, I thought.  Maybe I could my *own* cheese and save some money.

So I bought the book, Home Cheese Making on Amazon.

I read it all the way through and decided to start with the most basic of cheeses: Queso Blanco.

the book

It’s a Latin American cheese {who would have thought…with a name like ‘Queso Banco’?!} and is a firm cheese with a bland, mildly sweet flavor.  It’s known for the fact that it doesn’t melt–you can even deep fry it and it won’t melt.  It’s good in stir-fries, soups, spaghetti sauces, or Chinese food.  It is supposed to take on the flavor of the food and spices in what you’re cooking.

But the best thing?  I can make TWO POUNDS of it for…get this…are you ready?…$1.89.

Now don’t misunderstand, some of the cheeses are tougher to make than others and some require things like mesophilic starter or citric acid, etc. but in general cheese-making is a pretty easy hobby.

what you need to make queso blanco

These are the supplies I needed for my cheese:

1 gallon whole milk               1/4 c. apple cider vinegar               Dutch Oven (or other pot)

Good thermometer                Cheese Cloth                                   Ladle

Colander                                Bowl                                                String

I found the cheese cloth at the grocery store.  Since my cheese cloth isn’t “official cheese cloth” {i.e. it has bigger holes in it than cheese-making grade cloth} I tripled it in my colander.

In a large pot, heat the milk to between 185 and 190 degrees.  Stir often to prevent scorching.  If you want a less acidic/sour cheese up the temp to 200.  This takes at least 30 minutes.

Slowly add the vinegar, a little at a time, until the curds {cottage cheese looking stuff} separate from the whey {the “juice”}.  Usually 1/4 c. of vinegar will precipitate 1 gallon of milk.  As soon as you pour the vinegar and it starts separating, STOP adding vinegar.  Let the pot sit for 10 seconds and turn off the heat.

after you add the vinegar the curds and whey separate

Ladle the curds into the colander lined with cheese cloth.  {I put mine over a bowl to catch the whey to use later}

separating curds from the whey

the curds in a cheese cloth-wrapper colander

Tie the corners of the cheese cloth into a knot and hang the bag from your cabinet knobs to drain for several hours {or overnight} or until the cheese has reached the right consistency for your taste.

letting it hang

Remove the cheese from the cloth.  Store in a covered bowl in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

finished!

And then I tasted the cheese. I wasn’t sure if I would like it–I don’t like cottage cheese or yogurt, after all–but I was pleasantly surprised. It tastes very similar to Laughing Cow cheese if you are familiar with that. I think I’m going to have to eat it with some crackers tomorrow. …and maybe just sneak it into some quesadillas and see if C. notices or not, hehe.

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4 Responses to No Whey!

  1. Mimi August 2, 2010 at 8:13 pm #

    This cheese was amazing! You are AMAZING!!! Love you
    Mom

  2. Drena Hollingsworth August 2, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    girl, it is always something with you! You make me tired just reading about all the stuff you do. Wish my mom was as close to me as yours is and maybe I could do a few fun things too! 🙂 Or I wish O napped like MM. That would work!

  3. Natalie August 2, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

    it so helps to have family nearby! and not just my mom/dad, but my grandmother, and my aunt/uncle/cousins. there are always arms to hold mm! i totally believe it takes a village to raise a child {and to keep a mama sane!}.
    and, horrors of horrors, mm is only napping for 2-2.5 hours/day lately. i don’t know what to do about that–i sure don’t like it–she used to nap much longer! HA! 🙂

  4. Mandy August 3, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    At least she takes a nap. I am lucky if Mollie sleeps 30 minutes during the day and then she thinks its all about her the rest of the day! She has been this way since day 1. She will be 8 months on the 14th. And bedtime..ha..I can count less than 10 times she has slept through the night. She’s lucky shes my last..or she would have been my ONLY…lol

    But she is such a little stinker and we love her to death…shes so silly.

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