Queso Blanco (Frying Cheese)

Introduction

Queso Blanco is a white, semi-soft cheese with a bland, slightly acid flavour and good slice ability. The cheese can be produced from whole milk or recombined milk by direct acidification at elevated temperatures. Milk is heated to 85C and held for 5 min followed by the addition of a citric acid solution. The curd is formed as a result of co-precipitation of casein and the whey proteins. Rennet curd is made from milk which has not been heated in excess of pasteurization temperatures (72C/16 s) and contains only the casein fraction of milk protein. Whey proteins constitute approximately 20% of the total milk protein, and their co-precipitation with casein leads to substantially higher yields in Queso Blanco compared to Cheddar and other rennet coagulated cheese.

Milk for Queso Blanco manufacture is standardized to a protein to fat ratio of 1.2. This will increase the total solids (TS) of milk from about 12% to 14-15% TS and produce yields of 16-18% (16-18 kg cheese per 100 kg milk).

After draining, the curd is salted hot and agitated manually or with forking agitators, hooped, and pressed. Chilling the curd overnight allows easier handling before packaging. Vacuum packaging is necessary to prevent mould growth. The cheese is held in refrigerated storage for about 2-3 days to allow the curd to become firm and sliceable.

Since Queso Blanco contains no added bacterial culture, it is important to avoid contamination of the curd. Contamination will result in sour, unclean flavours upon storage.

An alternate packaging system which minimizes contamination is to extrude the hot salted curd into sausage casings.

Queso Blanco normally contains 52-53% moisture, 22-24% protein, 16-18% fat, 2-3% lactose, 2.5% salt, and has a pH of 5.3-5.5.

Materials 

  • Raw milk or recombined milk
  • Citric acid monohydrate C4H8O5.H2O
  • Calcium chloride dihydrate CaC2.2H20
  • Skim milk powder
  • Salt

Procedure

  1. Standardize milk to a P/F of 1.2 using skim milk powder.
  2. Weight out the required citric acid monohydrate. Dilute the required amount of citric acid monohydrate to form a 1.5% solution. The required amount of citric acid as a percentage of milk weight is calculated as:
    % citric acid monohydrate = 0.09124 + 0.07075 (% milk protein)
  3. Heat standardized milk to 85C and hold for 5 min.
  4. Slowly pump coagulant solution into the vat and agitate slowly. Turn on steam to maintain high temperature. Hold for 10-15 min to allow curd to settle.
  5. Open gate and drain whey.
  6. Trench and stir curd to allow maximum drainage.
  7. Salt curd directly in the vat and mix thoroughly for uniform distribution. 
    Weight of salt = 2.0% of expected yield
    Expected % yield = 4.83 (% milk protein) -3.64 
  8. Hoop while still hot.
  9. Press for 3-4 hours at 75 kPa (11 lbs/in2)
  10. Chill hoops overnight.
  11. Vacuum package.