How Do You Make Queso Fresco?

How Do You Make Queso Fresco?

To make queso fresco, heat milk to between 165 and 195 degrees while stirring, then take it off the heat, and stir in either vinegar or fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time until curds form and separate from the whey. Wait at least five minutes, then drain the whey through a cheesecloth or dishtowel, and season with salt. To make block cheese, gather the curds in the middle of the cloth, and press them together.

Lemon juice gives the cheese a citric tang, while vinegar results in a more neutral flavor. To avoid scorching the milk when warming it, use a heavy-bottomed pot if available. Traditional queso fresco is made with raw milk, but you can use any milk except ultra-pasteurized.

You can collect the whey and use it to marinate meat, as it contains tenderizing enzymes, or to bake bread.

Queso fresco, or "fresh cheese," is the Latin American name, but very similar cheeses are made in India and in many African and European countries.

Queso fresco is a good alternative to feta or goat cheese. It can be used either in salads and other light dishes or to accompany heavier dishes such as enchiladas. Additionally, use it in desserts; for example, with watermelon and mint. It doesn't melt, so it can readily be grilled.

This cheese can't be stored for very long, so avoid making excessively large batches.