How to Make Queso Blanco Goat Cheese with Cider Vinegar: An Illustrated Guide

Soup with Crumbled Queso Blanco

Courtesy of: http://www.recipe.com/images/chipotle-sweet-potato-soup-with-queso-blanco-R131823-l.jpg
Courtesy of: http://www.recipe.com/images/chipotle-sweet-potato-soup-with-queso-blanco-R131823-l.jpg

About Queso Blanco Cheese

Queso Blanco cheese made with cider vinegar is a firm, sliceable cheese which is nice for stir-fries, chunky omelettes, adding to sauces, and snacking. It takes on the flavor of the dish it is cooked with, and could even be used as a substitute for tofu. It is a traditional Latin American cheese, and, while it does soften some, it doesn't really melt. It does brown nicely.

Queso Blanco cheese lends itself well to additions such as sweet or hot peppers, and fruits such as chopped dried apricots.

You do not need a cheese press in order to make it...it hangs in bags to develop over a period of hours.

What You Will Need to Make Queso Blanco Cheese with Cider Vinegar

There are only 2 ingredients:

  • Whole goat milk (or other whole milk...different kinds of milk may give slightly different results)
  • Cider vinegar (not other kinds, as they will not give the same results in taste or texture)

The supplies you'll need are also few and simple:

  • Good stock pot(s) in which to cook the milk - a heavy bottom is a real bonus
  • A long, wooden spoon
  • A dairy or instant-read thermometer
  • Large cotton tea-towels (not waffle-weave), for hanging cheeses to drain (pillowcases also work, but they'll never smell nice again!)
  • A bucket and/or large bowl in which to drain the whey
  • A collander in which to drain the cheese
  • Glass measuring cup

Equipment and Supplies

I make lots of cheese at a time - many people won't need a 5-gallon bucket. Use cotton towels, not the so-called "cheesecloth" from the supermarket...it's not the real deal.
I make lots of cheese at a time - many people won't need a 5-gallon bucket. Use cotton towels, not the so-called "cheesecloth" from the supermarket...it's not the real deal.

Recipe

The proportions of milk to cider vinegar run thus:

  • 2 gallons whole milk
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar

You can change these amounts to suit your needs...just make sure you keep the same proportions. For instance, 1 gallon of milk would require 1/4 cup cider vinegar; 4 gallons of milk would require 1 cup cider vinegar. If you can do math, you can make this cheese.

Stage One - Bring the Milk to 180 Degrees F.

I am working with eight gallons of milk. Don't let this amount scare you...you can use however much you want. Heat the milk to 180* F., stirring often to keep it from scorching.
I am working with eight gallons of milk. Don't let this amount scare you...you can use however much you want. Heat the milk to 180* F., stirring often to keep it from scorching.
The milk will look crinkly on top when it is properly scalded.
The milk will look crinkly on top when it is properly scalded.

Stage Two - Curdle the Milk with Cider Vinegar

Stir the milk just prior to pouring in the cider vinegar. Dribble the vinegar in slowly at first, making sure it is mixing with the milk, and not settling in one place.
Stir the milk just prior to pouring in the cider vinegar. Dribble the vinegar in slowly at first, making sure it is mixing with the milk, and not settling in one place.
Increase your pouring slowly until all the vinegar has been added.
Increase your pouring slowly until all the vinegar has been added.
Stir immediately. A fine curd will begin to form almost instantly.
Stir immediately. A fine curd will begin to form almost instantly.
As the milk solids separate from the whey, you will be able to dip out small lumps of curd. These lumps are absolutely fresh cheese. Taste, if you are so inclined. Now is the time to add dried fruits, peppers, or other additions, if you want.
As the milk solids separate from the whey, you will be able to dip out small lumps of curd. These lumps are absolutely fresh cheese. Taste, if you are so inclined. Now is the time to add dried fruits, peppers, or other additions, if you want.

Stage Three - Drain the Curds

Pour the curds and whey into a colander lined with a fine cotton towel. I place my colander over a 5-gal. bucket, as most of the bulk is whey. (This batch has fresh green cherry peppers added.)
Pour the curds and whey into a colander lined with a fine cotton towel. I place my colander over a 5-gal. bucket, as most of the bulk is whey. (This batch has fresh green cherry peppers added.)
If you have more than one towel full of curds, as each releases most of its whey, tie it up and place it in a waiting bowl so you can get the next one draining.
If you have more than one towel full of curds, as each releases most of its whey, tie it up and place it in a waiting bowl so you can get the next one draining.
Tie up the partially drained towels into "bags", using shoe laces. Hang over the bath tub or another convenient place to finish dripping for several hours. When the cheese has stopped dripping, it is ready to eat.
Tie up the partially drained towels into "bags", using shoe laces. Hang over the bathtub or another convenient place to finish dripping for several hours. When the cheese has stopped dripping, it is ready to eat.
Knotting details on the bag. The corners of the bag are gathered together, and the shoelace is knotted around the "neck" at least three times.
Knotting details on the bag. The corners of the bag are gathered together, and the shoelace is knotted around the "neck" at least three times.
You may have to modify your tying style according to the lengths of your strings. It is best if you can loop it around three times and pull the tail partly through the last loop.
You may have to modify your tying style according to the lengths of your strings. It is best if you can loop it around three times and pull the tail partly through the last loop.

Note on How to Tie Up and Hang the Tea-Towel "Bags"

Wrap one end of the shoelace around the bag, with the corners of the towel all drawn up together so there is no chance of its falling open. Leave a tail of shoelace 6" to 8" long. Wrap this tail around, and tie a simple knot...wrap around again, knot again...wrap and knot once more. Remember, wet things weigh a lot...the cheese is heavy for its size. On the towel bar, take about three wraps without knots, then take what's left of the shoelace and pass it in front of the hanging portion. Leaving a bit of a loop, pass it to the back, through the loop, and draw it up tight. This is easy to undo, but won't slip.

Packaging Your Queso Blanco Cheese

How to package your cheese depends on how much you have. On average, goats milk will yield about 1/5th part cheese per gallon of milk. This means that if you start out with 1 gallon of whole milk, you should wind up with about 3 cups of finished cheese.

Because I used eight gallons of whole milk, I finished with about 6 quarts of cheese. I therefore sliced the balls into manageable pieces (each one being as much as I would expect to use in a week or two), and placed them in separate Ziplok-type sacks, to be frozen.

You may wrap the pieces in plastic wrap, and/or place them in bags. It's up to you. Label carefully with the contents (including any additions such as peppers), the date, and any special notes about the quality.

The cheese should last well for a week or two in your refrigerator, and for several months in your freezer.

Adding Peppers and Other Additions During the Cooking Process

In this batch of cheese, I added chopped cherry peppers in during the cooking. It turned out beautiful, and tastes lovely, too.
In this batch of cheese, I added chopped cherry peppers in during the cooking. It turned out beautiful, and tastes lovely, too.
Let the water flush out any large cheese particles
Let the water flush out any large cheese particles
Scrub the towel together to loosen other cheese particles, and rinse most of the whey out. Wring out well
Scrub the towel together to loosen other cheese particles, and rinse most of the whey out. Wring out well

A Note On Clean-Up

Immediately upon emptying the cheese curds, fill the pot(s) with a bit of water. As soon as you have hung your bags of curds, come back to the kitchen and wash the pots and utensils. If you wait until they have dried at all, you will find it many times harder. Pay particular attention to rivets and other milk-trapping areas, and use a wire-type scouring pad, if necessary. Dry the pots with a clean towel, if you wish, and set them where they can dry thoroughly before being put away, as any water left in them will exacerbate any smells left from the milk. If necessary, fill the pot(s) with bleach water and allow them to soak.

Clean out any curds left in the towel(s), using a knife to gently scrape them clean if necessary. Bundle the towel(s) together, so as not to scatter whey or cheese particles, and take them to a clean sink. Rinse the towel(s) under cool running water, rubbing them together systematically between your hands, and either toss them directly in the washer, or hang them to dry until you have a suitable load of laundry ready.

A Fun Dip Recipe

© 2009 Joy At Home

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Comments 8 comments

LiftedUp profile image

LiftedUp 6 years ago from Plains of Colorado

I am not one who can speak knowingly of cheeses, but I always wonder, how did people come up with so many types?

This was a nice hub, Joy At Home, and should be an encouragement for others to try their hands at this process.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

LiftedUp, I, too, have wondered about how there came to be so many variations of cheese...literally, thousands.

I know you do not eat much cheese, but thank you for the compliment. I finally got to send some links to my cheese recipes to the girl who worked in Mongolia, where getting basic food stuffs is a struggle. She said they have goats, but no supplies except what can be trucked in once every six months. I am praying she will find some of these useful.


IdaKenelm profile image

IdaKenelm 6 years ago

This cheese recipe looks fantastic. When you speak of whole milk, can the cream have been skimmed off? Would regular store bought milk work for this, or would I need the un-homogenized kind?


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

Ida,

I have never tried this recipe using store-bought milk. However, I don't see why it wouldn't work. Let me know how it turns out.


Joy At Home 4 years ago

If the milk has been skimmed off for butter, will this recipe still work?


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 4 years ago from United States Author

It should be no problem to use actually skimmed milk. I usually do. I have never used store-bought or otherwise highly processed milk to make this recipe, though, so I don't know what the results would be there. Depending on the grade and style of milk, it might work fine. When I said use "whole" milk, I meant that "skimmed" or otherwise low-fat store-bought milk would probably not yield totally satisfactory results, due to having too much fat removed to make truly flavorful cheese. But naturally skimmed milk, as you seem to have, should be fine.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

I learned to make cheese this way after discovering that I am allergic to cow's milk. It's been a while since I've made it, but the method works very well and your nicely done tutorial has me thinking about how really good the fresh made cheese is… :)


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 2 years ago from United States Author

RTalloni,

Thank you for the beautiful compliment on the article! If I have inspired you and brightened your day, then my goal is met.

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