And Queso Was Its Name-O!

The was a man he made some cheese and Queso was its name-o.  Well Queso Fresco to be exact!  As part of my class with Metro Continuing Education I demonstrate how to make a Queso Fesco, a fresh pressed cheese that is ready to eat the next day.  I like to age mine a week before eating, but it is strictly a personal preference.

Starter kit

I gathered up my basic equipment and began.

This was to be my practice cheese, the one that I could pull out at then end of the demonstration and show what the cheese would look and taste like after pressing.

Heating the milk.

I started with my water bath and heated the milk to 32C.

Ripening time

Once the milk was at temperature I added 1/4 cup of active culture buttermilk and ripened for 30 minutes.

In keeping with how I would teach how to make the cheese in the class, I added 1/4 rennet tablet dissolved in 1/4 cup of distilled water and added to the milk after the ripening time.  I let the milk sit for another 45 minutes and then checked for a cleaned break.

checking for clean break

After 45 minutes I achieved a clean break.

Now I started to cut the cheese into 1/4 inch cubes.

Now I started to cut the cheese into 1/4 inch cubes.

resting the cheese.

After cutting the curds you let the cheese rest for 10 minutes.

The curd needs time to heal and then it was time to start to heat the curd up again.

Slowly over the next 20 minutes I heated the curd to 35C.

Slowly over the next 20 minutes I heated the curd to 35C.

Close up of the curd

This is where I can break up a bit of the curd that is too big.

Checking out the instructions

Some times you just have to read the directions over and over.

Checking on the curd for heating

Once you reach 35C it was time to check the curd.

Curd shatter.

The curd was still soft, but it was time to drain.

After draining the whey to the level of the curd it was time to move the curd to the prepared cheesecloth lined colander.

After draining for 5 minutes I added 1 1/2 tsp of "Redmond's" natural sea salt to the curd.  The brown flecks are the natural minerals in the salt.  If you want the cheese to be saltier then add more salt.

After draining for 5 minutes I added 1 1/2 tsp of “Redmond’s” natural sea salt to the curd. The brown flecks are the natural minerals in the salt. If you want the cheese to be saltier then add more salt.

It was now time to press the cheese.  You have so many options, you could use any mould you want or even press in the cheesecloth if you want.  I pressed using a basket mould.

I pressed the curd for 8 hours, well over night, with about 4Kg of weight.

I pressed the curd for 8 hours, well over night, with  4Kg of weight.

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The class was happy with the results of this cheese.  I now have aged the class cheese a week and it was time to cut it up and vacuum seal it so I can use it for next set of classes.

This is the demonstration Queso that was made last weekend.

This is the demonstration Queso that was made last weekend.

Here it is, the flavour is very lactic and has a hint of salt.  The buttermilk adds a great flavour.

Here it is, the flavour is very lactic and has a hint of salt. The buttermilk adds a great flavour.

I aged this cheese in my fridge, on a plate covered in plastic wrap.  It seems wrong, but it works, as does vacuum sealing this wonderful fresh cheese.  It will allow me to keep the cheese longer than the 2 week “life” of the cheese, and I will have samples for the classes.

Pictures from the full make will be up on the Facebook Page later this week.  Until next time go and make some cheese.

 

 

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6 comments

  1. Looks like a lovely cheese. How long will it last if vacuum packed? Can one freeze this cheese? Thanks for sharing. I made my first cheese some time ago and I’ve forgotten everything, but now I want to go make more cheese. 🙂

    1. I would think that vacuum sealing the cheese would extend the life of the cheese by a month or two. You could freeze the cheese, I freeze my mozzarella and a few other fresh cheeses, if I have more than I can use. You will find that the cheese will dry out but not by much.

  2. Super cool. Thanks for posting this. I find Queso is sometimes hard to find… good to know that it’s pretty easy to make. Do you have any vegan cheese recipes to share? I’ve only made cashew cheese so far, but I’d like to go deeper into the world of vegan cheeses…

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