Adapted from Cheesemaking Made Easy, by Ricki Carroll and Robert Carroll.
Queso blanco is a Latin American cheese. The name means white cheese. There are many variations of this cheese throughout Latin America. It is hard and rubbery, with a bland, sweet flavor. It is excellent for cooking, and has the unique property of not melting even if deep-fried. A similar cheese, Panir, is made in India, and there are many delicious Indian recipes using this cheese. Queso blanco is an example of acid precipitation of milk protein. Both the casein and the albuminous protein are precipitated out into this cheese.
It is easy to make, and is an excellent choice if you are in a hurry or if the weather is very hot, a condition which causes problems in the making of many cheeses. Queso blanco is often diced into half-inch cubes. That way it can be used in many ways, stir-fried with vegetables, added to soups or sauces (such as spaghetti), or used in Chinese cooking as a substitute for bean curd. It browns nicely and takes on the flavor of the food and spices in the recipe.
Makes 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
1 gallon whole milk
1/4 cup vinegar
Over a direct source of heat warm 1 gallon of milk to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring often to keep it from scorching. Maintain this temperature for several minutes. Slowly add vinegar until the curds separate from the whey. Usually 1/4 cup of vinegar will precipitate 1 gallon of milk.
Pour the curds and whey into a cheesecloth-lined colander. Tie the four corners of the cheesecloth into a knot and hang to drain for several hours or until the bag of curds stops dripping. Take the mass of curds out of the cheesecloth. It will be a solid bag of curd. It may be wrapped in Saran Wrap and stored in the refrigerator until needed. It will keep up to 1 week.
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