This is a great cheese for beginners to try because it requires no special equipment or ingredients. It is a traditional Mexican cheese, and it does not melt, because it contains no rennet.
We like to cube it, lightly brown it in oil, and serve it on pasta dishes with marinara sauce. You can also use it in Indian recipes that call for panir, and some people use it in place of tofu in recipes.
Of course, you can serve it as a snack or appetizer with crackers or a crusty French bread and a dollop of fresh pesto. Try this with cow, goat, and sheep milk to compare the different tastes of the final cheeses. You can even mix half and half for more variety.
Makes 1–2 pounds
- 1 gallon milk
- 1/4 cup vinegar
Heat the milk on low to 180°F, add the vinegar, and stir. The milk should begin to separate into curds and watery whey within a minute. If it does not separate or if the whey looks milky, continue heating it a bit more. My Nigerian Dwarf goat milk seems to separate best if I heat it to 190°F.
You can use any type of vinegar as long as it is at least 5 percent acidity. My personal favorites are champagne vinegar and red wine vinegar.
Line a colander with cheesecloth, and set the colander on top of a large pot or bowl to catch the whey as it drains.
Pour the curds and whey into the cheesecloth. Tie up the ends of the cheesecloth and hang to drain.
I usually hang mine on the sink faucet, but if you have a sloped faucet that won’t hold the bag, you can hang the bag on chopsticks or a spatula that spans the top of a tall pot. After 4 hours, unwrap the cheese and put it in the refrigerator to chill. After chilling it, you will be able to slice or cube the cheese and use it in cooking or serve it fresh.
This is an excerpt from Homegrown and Handmade: A Practical Guide to More Self-Reliant Living.
17 thoughts on “Cheese Recipe: Queso Blanco”
I've made this before with goat milk; it turned out well, but was very bland. Can it be salted? If so, at what point should the salt be added?
Excellent question! When you first dump the curds into the cheesecloth, sprinkle non-iodized salt onto the curds and then stir the curds a bit to evenly distribute the salt. Then tie up the four corners of the cheesecloth and hang it to drain.
I do not have non-iodized salt on hand. Is it not possible to use iodized? Thanks!
Typically you use non-iodized salt (such as sea salt) when making cheese, but since this one is eaten fresh, it doesn’t matter. Using non-iodized is more important when aging cheese.
Does the whey have any nutrittional value? Can you add it to bread or make oatmeal with it or?
Yes, and yes! Ever noticed the whey protein powder at the health food store? In addition to being nutritious, whey is also a natural dough conditioner. It is especially good to add to whole grain breads, as it helps them to rise more. I have not made oatmeal with it, but I say go for it! Some people also make smoothies with it. And if you happen to have chickens, turkeys, or pigs, you can feed it to them as well.
I freeze the whey in ice cube trays
and dump them in a freezer bag. I save them to give the chickens in hot weather or use them in cooking.
Can you add pepper or spice and melt for nacho dip? I have just started milking a goat and want to try this
Because there is no rennet in this cheese, it does not melt, so you can’t make a melted dip with it like chili con queso. Queso blanco simply means “white cheese,” but a lot of people assume that it will melt because the name is similar to chili con queso (which means pepper with cheese). You can, however, add peppers, sun dried tomatoes, or spices to create different varieties.
Thanks so much needed an alternative from chèvre that I make daily. Gonna try this today!
Can you use plant-based unsweeted almond milk instead of high calorie milk?
There are recipes for plant-based milks, but they are completely different.
When I made this the curds separated at 190, but the whey didn’t ever get very watery? It still looked like milk. I tried adding some extra vinegar…but it didn’t ever get how it looks in your picture. I got cheese..but had a ton of milky whey left. Am I doing something wrong?
Can you make this with milk from the store? Raw milk is illegal here (darn it) and I don’t have my own goats.
You don’t have to use raw milk to make cheese, but it cannot be ultra-pasteurized because that has been heated to 270 degrees under pressure so it denatures the proteins, and curds will not form at all. It will tell you on the label if it is pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized, which is sometimes marked as UHT (ultra-high temp) or UP (ultra-pasteurized). You can also make this with whole cow milk. Do not attempt to make cheese with low-fat milk.
How much whey should I expect to get from this? I just made some and ended up with 3 quarts of whey .. is that normal?
That sounds about right. Milk is about 85% water, so if you wound up with 3 quarts of whey, that would mean you got a great cheese yield.