Queso fresco is an easy way to make fresh cheese that is often confused with queso blanco. The difference is that queso blanco melts well, and queso fresco doesn't.
Use queso fresco on Mexican dishes, of course, but also on pizza, in omelets, and anywhere else a mild crumbled cheese is needed.
- 1 gallon whole milk
- 1 teaspoon liquid rennet
- 1 teaspoon medium grain salt (such as kosher salt)
Gather the ingredients.
In a large pot over low heat, slowly heat the whole milk until it reaches 100 F / 38 C.
Remove from heat and stir in the liquid rennet.
Leave the mixture in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours until the milk congeals into a custardy mass. Ideally, you should maintain the 100 F / 38 C temperature during this time. You can accomplish this by placing the pot in an oven with either the pilot or viewing light on (but the oven off), or a sink of warm water.
Break the mass of curd up until it is about the size of peas. You could use a knife for this step, but it's best is to use clean fingers.
Pour the curd into a colander lined with cheesecloth and let the whey (the liquid that separated from the solids while you were breaking up the curd) drain away for 20 to 30 minutes.
Transfer the drained curds to a mixing bowl and use your clean fingers or a spoon to work in 1 teaspoon of salt.
Put the salted curds into a cheesecloth- or butter muslin-lined cheese mold (or a colander) set in a large bowl or placed in the sink.
Tie the cloth tightly around the queso fresco. Let the cheese drain for an hour or more: it should be fairly firm.
Unwrap the queso fresco and refrigerate it for one hour before using.
- Rennet is available from home cheesemaking suppliers.
- If your rennet is in a tablet form, crush one tablet and mix it into 2 tablespoons of water. Stir the water-rennet mixture into the warm milk.
- Store queso fresco in covered food storage containers in the refrigerator. It is best used within a week but will keep for up to three weeks.