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How to Make Queso Blanco Goat Cheese with Cider Vinegar: An Illustrated Guide
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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
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.
Stage Two - Curdle the Milk with Cider Vinegar
Stage Three - Drain the Curds
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
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.
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A Good Towel Source for Draining Cheeses
- Large Tea Towels
These cotton towels are about 25"x30", and are a good investment for cheese making.
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