Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Easy Cheesy: Paul Makes Cheese for the First Time

Queso Blanco

Brewing beer and drying beef jerky wasn't enough for Paul.

His newest hobby: making cheese.

In fact, at the top of Paul's Christmas wish list was a cheese recipe book -- he didn't care which one. On Christmas Day, he left his sister's house with a book called (what else?) "And That's How You Make Cheese!"

Needless to say, I was leery. Call me a self-absorbed pessimist, but I was sure there would be some  disadvantage to me, the bystander. Making beer takes up too much space. Making beef jerky stinks up the entire apartment. (Paul assures me the aroma is delightful; I disagree.) Making cheese, I was sure, would be inconvenient. The only question was how.

After round one, however, I'm beginning to think this isn't such a bad hobby at all.

Paul started with the first, and perhaps easiest, recipe in the book. Queso Blanco is a Monterey Jack-like cheese with only two ingredients: milk and cider vinegar. The entire process takes about four hours and involves two steps:
  1. Heating
  2. Draining.
Draining the Queso Blanco in a cheesecloth above the sink.

The cheese magically melded together in the cheesecloth and resembled a kneaded lump of bread dough when it was done. He used the mild cheese on top of lasagna that very same night (with a little homemade ricotta for good measure). Later in the week the flavor intensified and it was even more delicious.

So what's next? I'm not sure which cheese will be the next to top our crackers, but Paul has already mentioned trying his hand at yogurt ...


  1. Wow, I am totally inspired!! As a child, my family would fry the cheese and eat it with fried green plantains (yeah, really unhealthy but yummy). I might just give this recipe a try; thanks for sharing.

  2. I have been thinking about making yogurt too!'s food writer Francis Lam recently wrote an article explaining how to do it. It doesn't sound too difficult, and sounds like it could end up saving me a lot of money...keep us updated if Paul tries it!



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