Vegetarian Venezuelan Cuajada Cheese

Fresh cheese… Delicious to eat with fried plaintains, arepas, cachapas, tequeños, empanadas, etc. or cut it into slices and grill them…

Note about milk: use pausterized milk; if you use ultra-pausterized or homogenized milk it won’t work.

Note about other ingredients: follow the instructions in the package for the calcium chloride, starter culture and rennet. Each brand has its own concentration and instructions. It might take a few attempts to get the amounts right.

Ingredients

  1. 1 Gallon Pausterized Milk
  2. 1/4 teaspoon calcium chloride
  3. 1 packet Mesophilic Starter Culture
  4. 1/8 teaspoon vegetable rennet
  5. 8 grams salt

Steps

  1. Heat the milk until it reaches 36° C or 97° F

  2. Mix the calcium chloride with a bit of water (1/4 or 1/8 cup of water) and add to the milk

  3. Add the starter culture to the milk

  4. Stir for 2 minutes

  5. Let it sit for 45 minutes (keep the temperature with slow heat for ~2 minutes every ~15 minutes)

  6. Mix the rennet with a bit of water (1/4 or 1/8 cup of water) and add to the milk

  7. Stir for 2 minutes

  8. Let it sit for 45 minutes (keep the temperature with slow heat for ~2 minutes every ~15 minutes)

  9. Use a knife to cut the curd into squares of 1/2 inches

  10. Slowly stir for 15 minutes. The curds will clump together. Cut them back into squares of 1/2 inches while stirring. Keep the temperature of the whey at 36° C or 97° F the whole time.

  11. Remove the pot from the stove and use a slotted spoon to transfer the curd to a colander lined with a cheesecloth (the thinner the better)

  12. Let the curd drain the excess of whey for 30m

  13. Transfer the curd to a bowl and knead together with the salt

  14. Now transfer the curd back to a cheescloth and into a mold / press

  15. Press with 4-8 pounds of weight for 1 hour

  16. Extract the cheese from the mold and refrigerate

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