QUESO BLANCO

Storage: Refrigerator
Yield: 2 cups (approximately) 
    
Light and fluffy, queso blanco is an ideal alternative for store bought ricotta – mix with spices and salt before serving warm, or press into a ricotta basket and refrigerate to firm into a ricotta-textured cheese. Queso blanco is made the same way as lemon cheese, except uses vinegar – and is milder in flavour. 
    
Ingredients: 
2 litres fresh full cream milk (not UHT) 
2 tablespoons vinegar 
1 teaspoon cheese salt (optional)
     
Warm milk.
Heat milk in a saucepan (over direct heat) until the milk starts to foam (do not boil). Remove milk from heat.
     
Add cheese ingredients. 
Stir in white vinegar. You should clearly see the curds splitting from the clear/milky whey immediately – if not, add a little extra vinegar. The more acidic the vinegar, the less quantity required – try using your favourite vinegar in a batch!
    
Rest mixture to develop curd.
Rest mixture for 15 minutes.
    
Collect curd, strain through cloth and discard liquid (whey).
Collect curd using a slotted spoon, being careful as the curd will be very soft! Place curd into a cloth-lined colander. Salt the mixture, adding spices for extra flavour if desired. Tie cloth together and suspend for 10-15 minutes to remove excess whey.
    
Serve fresh queso blanco – or refrigerate (cools into a ricotta textured cheese), or press using a weighted object (i.e. a milk carton) to make paneer cheese. Queso blanco can be served plain, salted, sweet or savoury – it is often used in Mexican recipes, and goes well with tomato recipes such as lasagne (either layered or added into the white sauce) or served with your favourite spaghetti recipe. Queso blanco can often be used as a ricotta alternative when cooking.

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