Wednesday, December 2, 2009
queso blanco - simple white cheese
I make most of our own cheese here. My favorite is simple queso blanco or white cheese. It takes just a few minutes to whip out and is very good on mexican foods which we eat a lot of. We use fresh goat milk when we have it available and at other times of the year I buy milk from the store and make the cheese from it. When milk is cheap I try and stock up on a bit to freeze and then make cheese whenever we want it. Even at 4 bucks a gallon it is cheaper to make our own cheese than it is to buy it already made.
All I use to make the cheese is a gallon of milk and 1/4 cup of white vinegar.Empty the milk into a large pan and heat slowly until just below boiling. Simmer for five minutes then add the vinegar and stir while still simmering slowly. It will look gross as it separates. Once it looks like it has completely separated strain through several layers of cheese cloth and allow to drain for a half hour or so. Remove from cloth and add a little bit of salt and then crumble. Place in an airtight container where it will keep for a few weeks. It is like a mild feta type cheese or queso blanco. It can also be dried and used much like parmesan on pastas or in other recipes
When you are done you will have the left over whey. I generally use this in my breads and other sour dough creations. simply replace the water or milk in any bread recipe and you will gain the benefits vitamins and minerals that are still in the whey.
The whey can also be used in lacto fermentation of cabbage and other veggies. To make cabbage this way take 1 med cabbage + 1 TBsp salt + 4 Tbsp whey + 1 Tbsp caraway seeds. Mix all, crush or pound to release juices from cabbage, place in a jar with liquid covering cabbage by 1", cover tightly - leave for 3 days at room temp.
The idea of using whey is that lactic acid is one of the best organic acids at inhibiting the proliferation of bacteria. Plus your body can directly use the lactic acid unlike other fermentation products like alcohol and acetic acid. Whey freezes well for up to a year and can also be made to make ricotta cheese or be dried into a powder form.Whey can also be used to water acid loving plants