How to Make Queso Panela
What You Need
1/2 Gallon (2 L) Whole Milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
1/4 Rennet Tablet, Dissolved in 1/4 cup Non-Chlorinated Water
1 Teaspoon Cheese Salt
In a pot, over medium-low heat, bring milk to 95° F (35° 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 30 minutes, milk should be quite firm to the touch when it is ready. If milk is not firm let sit for a few more minutes.
Using your fingers, gently rake your hand through the solidified milk to break up the curds, turning the pot 90° each time. The curds will get smaller and smaller as more whey is released. You want to do this process slowly and gently so the curds are soft and not rubbery.
When the whey starts to clear (it will look more yellow than white), pour the top 1/3 into your cheese basket, strain (discarding the whey) and return the collected curds to the pot.
Repeat steps 4 and 5 until nearly all the whey has been removed, about 10 minutes. Mix in salt.
Pour curds into cheese basket on top of a plate (to collect whey). Pour off whey occasionally (you don’t want your cheese basket sitting in a puddle of whey).
Let strain for 2 hours. Cover the top of the cheese basket with your hand, invert the basket and carefully flip the cheese so that the basket pattern (that it’s named for) is imprinted on both sides. Enjoy!