How to Make Cotija Cheese

Save

Cotija cheese is a popular Mexican variety of cheese that feels and is used similarly to Italian Parmesan cheese. The texture is crumbly and dry, and the flavor is salty and very concentrated. Cotija cheese is used in recipes such as tacos, soups and salads, and even as an additive to potatoes or beans. You can purchase cotija cheese in Mexican grocery stores or Latin markets, or you can make your own. The process may take a try or two to get it exactly right, but hang in there and you'll be successful.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 gallon milk
  • Large cooking pot
  • Cooking thermometer
  • 1/2 ml calcium chloride
  • 1 thermophilic bacteria culture tablet
  • Electric mixer
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 rennet tablet
  • 3 to 4 tbsp. cool water
  • Cheesecloth
  • Cheese press
  • 1 1/2 cups salt
  • 1 qt. warm water
  • Warm the milk in the cooking pot to 100 F. Once the milk is warmed, add the calcium chloride and bacteria culture tablet. Keep the mixture at a constant temperature of 100 F through the end of Step 3.

  • Stir the mixture for 20 minutes at medium speed using your mixer. After 20 minutes, add 1/2 cup salt.

  • Dissolve the rennet tablet in the cool water. Slowly add this to the milk mixture, allowing the mixer to stir the milk mixture for another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the mixture from heat.

  • Allow the mixture to rest for 45 to 90 minutes. After resting, the mixture will have solidified to a soft curd. Break the mixture into smaller curds, about 1-inch cubes, using your hands, a knife, a spoon, or whatever works for you. Let the curds rest for another 10 minutes.

  • Pour the mixture through a cheesecloth to remove the whey (the watery mixture in which the curds are floating).

  • Place the drained cheese into a cheese press, and press for 30 minutes. Then, flip the cheese in the press, and press for another 12 hours. This removes any excess moisture and allows the cheese to harden.

  • Prepare a brine solution of 1 1/2 cups salt in 1 quart of warm water. Allow the solution to cool to room temperature.

  • Carefully remove the cheese from the press (it will still be soft). Soak the cheese in the brine for 30 hours, flipping the cheese every 10 hours to encourage rind development. The rind is the hard coating on the outside of cheese.

  • Remove the cheese from the brine, and place in your refrigerator for 2 weeks to allow it to ripen. Check the cheese for mold. If any mold grows on the rind simply wipe it away with a paper towel or cloth. Do not wrap the cheese while it ripens or it will not ripen properly.

  • Store the cheese in an airtight container once it has ripened.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can purchase specialty cheese making products, such as the calcium chloride, rennet, bacteria culture and cheese press, in cheese making supply shops or online. You can also find many of them in prepackaged cheese making kits.

References

  • Photo Credit cheese image by Oleg Guryanov from Fotolia.com
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

Resources

You May Also Like

  • When Does Cheese Spoil?

    Although mold is usually a warning sign that food needs to be thrown away, this isn't always the case with cheese. Some...

  • Types of Mexican Cheeses

    Cheese is a common ingredient in modern Mexican cooking. Cheeses from this region of the world come in a range of textures...

  • How to Make Mexican White Cheese Sauce

    Mexican white cheese sauce is a very popular smooth sauce that can be either hot or mild. It is usually served on...

  • How to make Mexican corn on the cob

    Mexican corn on the cob is also called elote and is a common street food in Mexico. You can serve Mexican corn...

  • How to Make Cheddar Cheese at Home

    Making traditional cheddar cheese at home is not especially difficult, but it is time-consuming. You should set aside an entire day to...

  • How to Make Mexican Queso Dip

    Homemade Mexican queso -- or cheese -- dip adds a flavorful touch to many meals. You can spoon it over various dishes...

  • Substitutes for Pesto Sauce

    Pesto makes a healthy and tasty addition to meals, serving as everything from a dip for vegetable nibbles to a condiment for...

  • Aged Mizithra Cheese Substitutes

    Mizithra is a Greek cheese made from sheep's milk. Some cooks who have used mizithra appreciate its taste and texture so much...

  • Where to Buy Cheese Wholesale

    Cheese can be bought wholesale by doing Internet research, but a local cheese shop will be more reliable in the long run....

Related Searches

Check It Out

13 Delicious Thanksgiving Sides That'll Make Turkey Insignificant

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!