Saturday, November 27, 2010

Queso Blanco with Hatch Green Chile's and Cilantro


This was my fist attempt at making cheese and I think I am hooked!  It was so easy, fun, and out of this world delicious!  The actually work was so minimal, easier than cooking lunch or dinner is.  So, if you are willing, you will get great results from this.  I am a lover of Mexican food so this is what I wanted to start with.  I flavored it with Green Hatch Chile's from New Mexico, and some dried cilantro, and some salt.  Had it on some nachos for lunch and just got a lot of pleased comments from it.  I think I will try this maybe with an Italian twist as well soon.

1 gallon of whole milk
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1. Start with 1 Gallon of Milk heated slowly to 185F with occasional stirring.  Once the temp is reached add 1/4 cup of White Vinegar while stirring. Add this in 3 equal additions.  You should notice the curds beginning to form and the whey separating as a greenish yellow liquid. Let rest for 5 minutes.  Once the curds begin to form well, stir to keep from matting for another 5 minutes.

2. Spread a sanitized piece of cheesecloth over a colander which is placed over a pan to collect the whey.  Pour the curds and whey into this cloth. Add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt. (You can use the whey to make other cheese such as ricotta cheese.)  Chopped Chile's, spices or herbs can be mixed in also at this point.  Stir the curds gently to increase whey drainage and mix the salt.

3. Tie the four ends of the cheese cloth together and hang for a 5 to 6 hours.  If you have a cheese press hang the cheese for 20-30 minutes and then press with 10 pound for 20 minutes and then press with 25 pounds for 2 to 5 hours depending on how dry you want your cheese.  Your cheese can now be wrapped in waxed paper and refrigerated.  It is now ready to eat!

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