So, if you are following my blog, you know that I have taken on a new learning. That of cheese making. My first attempt at the dairy product occured this past weekend. I choose to make Queso Blanc. This means, White Cheese. To me the name says even more than that. It is a BLANK cheese. More on that in a moment.
Queso Blanc is a beginner cheese and actually only takes a few ingrediants.
1 Gallon Milk
1/4 Cup Apple Cidar Vinegar
Items you should also have on hand.
The directions are pretty simple. Pour the entire gallon of milk into a big pot. (Duh). Slowly heat the milk to 185-190 F. DO NOT BOIL. Stiring often to prevent scorching the milk. This step took FOREVER! I mean forever. I was watching the thermometer and waiting and waiting and waiting! I didn't think it was every going to get hot enough.
Finally, after about 1/2 an hour it was finally the correct temp. Then you have to slowly pour in the vinegar, until the milk starts to seperate and form the curd and whey. Whey is the by-product, the milk like substance that is not the curds.
It does this part pretty quickly, but then the directions didn't say whether or not to keep the milk on the burner. Was I supposed to keep cooking it? I didn't know, so I left it to cook a few minutes after the curds formed.
Then I poured the whole mess into a cheese cloth lined collander. This seperates the whey from the curds. Now, if you are like me, you hate waste. I wanted to know what the heck to do with almost a gallon of whey. I didn't feel right just tossing it out. It had to be good for something right? Well yes, in fact it is! You can use this as a milk substitute is almost anything. Cremed soup anyone? It is a great source of protein, apparently. I didn't have anything to cook with it right away, so I put it in a container in the fridge and have been adding it my dog's food. He loves it. Weird. Apparently this is not as strange as it may sound, as farmers have been adding it to livestock feed forever. Who knew?
At any rate, back to the cheese. After you seperate the curds from the whey, you need to tie up the corners of the cheese cloth, and hang it up to drip for several hours. I only let it hang and drip about two hours. I couldn't stand seeing it hanging there any longer than that. After I took it down, this is what it looked liked.
Cheese. I didn't actually like this cheese. It had absolutely no flavor what so ever. None. This is why I said the name BLANC made such great sense. It was kinda like rocatta cheese in that it was soft and crumbly and no taste. Seren and Sidney however, liked it. They added a bit of salt to it and said it tasted like eggyolk.
I have saved it and put in in the fridge in an air tight ziplock bag. I think I will make pasta later this week and use it in that. The book says this cheese is great if cut into cubes and fried or grilled. It takes on the spices you cook with it. It holds it shape and will not melt. I dont know, isn't the point of cheese to get all melty and gooey? How can a cheese not melt?
All in all this was an easy cheese to make. We will be trying a new cheese in the near future. After we use up this glop of nothing, that is. I'll keep you posted.