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From the Kitchens of Pancho Villa has been awarded the honor of "WINNER" in the "Cookbooks: International" category of the 2014 International Book Awards!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Queso Fresco (Fresh Cheese) Ricotta Style

As you can see, I haven't been in here for a bit.  Sometimes LIFE just 'happens' and seems to get away from us.  Here is the newest post in response to a Facebook question about where in the heck to buy ricotta cheese in Mazatlan.  My answer:  don't buy it - MAKE it.  I have been making this cheese for years.  Even when I still lived in Washington state, I made it.  The flavor is fresh, creamy and I am in control of the salt and ingredient content.  Hope you take a couple of minutes to make this, yep, that is all the time you need to invest in it!

Yield:  2 cups


One of the wonderful things I love about Mexico is the cheese. I won't go into all the types today, but a really easy one to make is Queso fresco ~ fresh cheese.  Of course you could hop on down to the grocery store and buy one, but chances are it is not that fresh nor very appealing to look at.

To me, this is one of life's little delicacies. It is a creamy, soft, and very mild unaged white cheese. Similar to panela cheese. The flavor is so mild that it picks up the flavors of other ingredients in your recipe. So, it is wonderful used in a dip, spread, desserts, smoothies, you name it! I often eat it plain on a cracker. A word of warning, it does not melt.

You can make any quantity you like. This amount works well for my husband and me.  If you have larger cheese tastes, add more milk and some more vinegar.  The vinegar, by the way, does not impart it's flavor to the cheese. In fact, you can barely taste it at all. It just acts to coagulate the milk solids.

Below are some photos of each step:  

2 quarts whole milk - quit rolling your eyes, yes you NEED whole milk
4 Tbls white vinegar
1 Tbls salt, kosher or sea salt (or less if you like)

Heat the milk on very low heat to 195º F.
The low heat will keep it from scorching. Stir in the vinegar and remove from the heat. Let it sit for 10 minutes. The milk will coagulate into curds and start to separate from the whey. At this point, the whey will have a lovely green color. I know, but green is IN and besides you are going to throw it away.

Line a colander with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Place in the sink. Pour the curds and whey into the colander. Allow the curd to drain for about 30 minutes or until the curd has stopped dripping. Now you are ready to remove the cheese from the cheesecloth. Wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or use immediately.

NOTE: If you like it dry, as I do, fold the cheesecloth over the cheese and press out the remaining liquid. Try both to see if you like it moist (not wet) or dry.

heat the milk slowly
Just after the addition of the vinegar

About 5 minutes later the curds are ready

Draining the curds from the lovely green whey

As seen on:

As seen on: