How to Make Queso Oaxaca
What You Need
- Stock Pot
- Slotted Spoon
- Non-Slotted Spoon or Spatula
- Gloves (Option but Recommended for Stretching in Hot Whey)
- 1/2 Gallon (2 L) Whole Milk (Not Ultra-Pasteurized)
- Yogurt (Optional)
- 3/4 Teaspoon Citric Acid, Dissolved in 1/4 cup Non-Chlorinated Water
- 1/4 Rennet Tablet, Dissolved in 1/4 cup Non-Chlorinated Water
- 1/2-1 Teaspoon Cheese Salt
- Fresh Lime Juice (Optional)
In a pot, combine milk and citric acid solution stirring until mixed. Over medium-low heat, bring milk mixture to 90° F (32° C), stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Turn off heat, using a slotted spoon, pour rennet solution through spoon into milk and then stir in an up and down motion to evenly distribute throughout the milk.
Let milk set for 10 minutes, milk should be firm to the touch when it is ready. Test the curd formation by running a knife through the milk. If you observe a clean break (meaning the you noticed a defined line while curling through the curds), it’s ready. If milk is not firm let sit for a few more minutes.
Cut your curds into 1" (2.5 cm) cubes, first vertically (starting from your body going away from you) and then horizontally (from left to right). Then cut again horizontally, holding your knife at a 45° angle.
Over medium-low heat, bring milk mixture to 105° F (40° C), about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a non-slotted spoon or spatula gently stir the curds for 5 minutes.
Line cheese basket with cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. Pour curds and whey into lined cheese basket. Return whey to pot. Let the curds drain for 10 minutes. Gently press down on the curds to remove any excess whey; the curds will have knitted together to form a solid mass.
Over medium-high heat, bring whey to 135° F
Remove the curds from the cheese basket and cut the curd block into 4 portions.
Working with one portion at a time, add curd to hot whey to soften. When pliable, stretch into a rope, fold over, and stretch again. Continue this process (dipping the curd back into the hot whey to soften as necessary) until dough is about 15” long, super elastic and the strings are developed.
Sprinkle the cheese with salt and fresh lime juice (optional) let cool for 1-2 minutes. Then roll the curd into a ball (shaping it like a ball of yarn).
Repeat steps 9 and 10 for all portions. Cheese is ready to eat immediately or can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.