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Fresh Cheese Made Safely



by: Washington State University
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
-Ryan Bell -Val Hillers
-Lloyd Luedecke -Mike Costello
-Mike Schmitt
Yakima County Cooperative Extension
-Theo Thomas -Anna Zaragoza
-Frances Herrera
* Special thanks to Julia Herrera for allowing the use and modification of her queso fresco recipe.


9/13/2001


Queso fresco has been made for generations. Traditionally, queso fresco is made using fresh dairy milk that has not been heat-treated or pasteurized. Using unpasteurized milk to make queso fresco can lead to serious illness.

Topics of this flyer include:

  • Heat treatment of fresh, unpasteurized dairy milk.

  • Sanitation of cheese making equipment.

  • Hands-on preparation of queso fresco from a recipe using heat-treated or pasteurized milk
    Remember, even the freshest milk from the cleanest dairy may contain harmful bacteria if it is not pasteurized or heat-treated. To protect others and ourselves from harmful bacteria, we must use pasteurized milk or milk we heat-treat ourselves.


HEAT TREATMENT OF FRESH UNPASTEURIZED MILK


To kill bacteria in milk . . .
Heat milk to 145°F for 30 minutes
  • Place a cooking thermometer into the milk to measure its temperature.

  • Do not heat milk over 145°F. It may change the texture and flavor of the cheese.  Under 145°F will not kill all harmful bacteria.



SANITATION



To help prevent infection . . .
  1. Boil all cheese making equipment between uses.
             or
    Soak all cheese making equipment in a bleach-water solution.

  2. For best quality cheese, use new cheesecloth each time you make cheese. (Reuse cheesecloth only if it has been washed, then boiled or soaked 2 minutes in bleach-water.)

Bleach-water
  • Make a bleach-water solution by adding one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of water.

  • Make a new bleach water solution each time you make cheese.

  • This recipe for bleach water can be doubled if necessary.

SAFE QUESO FRESCO RECIPE



  • Place one tablet Junket Rennett into one-half cup cold tap water until dissolved.

  • Mix one quart cultured buttermilk with two quarts heat-treated or pasteurized milk.
    1. Add 7 teaspoons white vinegar to the milk mixture.

    2. Mix well.

    3. Heat milk to 90° F. Remove pan from the heat.

    4. Add dissolved rennet and mix for about 2 minutes.

  • Let stand for 30-40 minutes until curd is firm.

  • Cut curd into 1-inch cubes and let stand for about 5 minutes.

  • Heat curds and whey to 115° F (without stirring), remove pan from the heat, then let stand for 5 minutes.

  • Pour mix through a colander lined with cheesecloth and allow to drain for 5 minutes.

  • Form curd into a ball and twist the cheesecloth gently to squeeze out the whey.

  • Break up curds into a bowl and add l and 3/4 teaspoons of salt.

  • Mix in salt and let stand for 5 minutes, then squeeze again as before.

  • Form the cheese. Remove from form. Refrigerate. **


  *      This recipe can be doubled or tripled to make more cheese.
  **      Cheese made from this recipe can be safely stored in a refrigerator for no more than 1 week.

SALE OF QUESO FRESCO


If you are interested in becoming licensed to sell queso fresco, please contact your local health department or state department of agriculture.

 

 
 

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646376 Department of FSHN,Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6376 USA