Queijo Fresco (Azores Style Fresh Cheese)

The Azores love their fresh cheese.  This cheese is often served as an appetizer with Pimenta da Terra (Red Chili Pepper Sauce).  The cheese itself is soft, creamy, and with a touch of salt.

Queijo Fresco (Azores Style Fresh Cheese)

Serves

10-15 Appetizer Servings

Time to Make

  • 12+ hours preparation (includes overnight refrigeration)
  • 10 minutes cooking

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet

Instructions

  1. Pour the milk into a large pot and add salt.  Heat the milk over low heat, stirring gently, until it is warmer than room temperature (you can test with your finger if it is clean).
  2. Remove from heat and add the rennet.  Cover and let stand 90 minutes.
  3. At this time the milk should have coagulated (thickened).  With a sharp knife cut a cross-hatch pattern to release the whey.  Do not stir or try to split the curds.  Let rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Place cheese cloth inside a cheese mold.  You should use enough to cover the bottom, sides, and drape over the sides a few inches.  Place the mold in a large, rimmed plate and place in the sink.  Use a slotted spoon to carefully transfer the curds into the mold, leaving as much when in the pot as you can.  Make sure the cheese cloth edges don’t fall into the mold.
  5. Bring the edges of the cheese cloth together and the whey will start escaping through the holes in the cheese mold.  Holding the mold to the plate, tip the plate to pour off some whey.  Leave the plate in the sink another 2 hours.  Occasionally pour off the whey in the same manner.
  6. Wipe the bottom of the plate and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  7. Remove from the refrigerator.  Open the cheese cloth and place a clean plate on top of the mold.  Flip and you should “feel” the cheese slide onto the clean plate.  Carefully remove the old plate, mold, and cheese cloth.
  8. The cheese is now ready to be eaten, but can be refrigerated to further set.  Whey may still separate from the cheese, so you can pour that off a couple of times a day.
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