QUESO FRESCO STRAINED FRESH CHEESE


This recipe involves cooking a combination of milk, buttermilk, and cream on the stove until curds form, then straining them for a period of time that will vary depending on how dense you want the resulting cheese to be. The buttermilk is the agent that curdles the cream and the milk. (Some people will use a bit of vinegar to the same end.) The result is a bright and clean-tasting cheese that works well in a lot of the recipes on this book, both savory and sweet. If you feel like experimenting, you can swap goat’s milk for cow’s milk, and the result will taste fabulous.
MAKES 2 CUPS / 480G

2 cups / 480ml whole milk
½ cup / 120ml buttermilk
½ cup / 120ml cream
¾ tsp sea salt
Line your colander with cheesecloth. You want the cheesecloth to drape over the lip of the colander, giving you enough excess to tie up the suspended cheese curds as they drain. Set the colander in the sink.
Combine the milk, buttermilk, cream, and salt in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottom stockpot. Place over medium-high heat and stir as the liquid heats up, using a spatula or whisk to keep the forming curds from settling at the bottom of the pot, where they could scorch. As the liquid reaches about 175°F / 80°C, the curds (which look like clumps) and whey will separate, and the curds will rise to the top.
Turn off the heat and pour the contents of the pot into the prepared colander. Use a rubber spatula to ease the curds down onto the cheesecloth. You can gently press out the moisture, but don’t press hard, since you don’t want to mash the curds into the cloth. Tie the four corners of the cloth and suspend the curds over a bowl (I hang the cheesecloth from my sink faucet) to let them drain for at least 30 minutes, or longer, depending on how thick you want the resulting cheese to be. It will have the texture of ricotta after 30 minutes, and if you wait 6 to 8 hours, it will have the consistency of cream cheese.
Queso fresco can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
CREMA ÁCIDA MEXICAN SOUR CREAM
Plan ahead because you need a couple of days for the cream to sour. You just have to stir cream and buttermilk in a jar and let it sit for a couple of days, and it’s ready to go. Be sure to use cultured buttermilk, or else nothing will happen. And, if you can find it, use pasteurized organic cream instead of ultra-pasteurized. It should still work with the more common ultra-pasteurized, but you might want to add an extra tablespoon of buttermilk. Another option is to use Greek yogurt in place of the buttermilk as a culturing agent, which leads to a slightly more sour flavor but can also result in a thicker cream. If you don’t have the time to make this or haven’t planned ahead, then use crème fraîche in any recipe calling for crema ácida.
MAKES 2 CUPS / 480G

2 cups / 480ml cream
¼ cup / 60ml cultured buttermilk
In a glass jar, combine the cream and buttermilk. Cover the mouth of the jar with several layers of cheesecloth or a dish towel and let it sit for 24 hours at room temperature (between 70° and 75°F / 20° and 25°C). If your home is chilly (as mine often is in San Francisco), you can set your jar on top of your refrigerator, which tends to be warmer, or in the oven with the oven light on. After 24 hours, screw on the lid of the jar, and refrigerate for 24 hours before using.
Crema ácida can be stored in the sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
QUESO FRESCO STRAINED FRESH CHEESE QUESO FRESCO STRAINED FRESH CHEESE Reviewed by sports on November 18, 2019 Rating: 5

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