Eat it fresh!
Oaxaca is an unaged cheese, that is, it should be eaten fresh, and will spoil if kept for long. Unaged cheeses contain some moisture or milk, which gives them their soft milky texture and creamy flavor.
Oaxaca is a semi-soft Mexican cheese, made from cow's milk. It was first made in Oaxaca, in Mexico. Its smoothness and rich milky flavor make it an apt choice for most traditional Mexican dishes.
Usually ribbons of Oaxaca cheese are rolled up to form a ball. It is made by the stretching method, which is also called the pasta filata process. It slightly resembles mozzarella cheese in texture and flavor. It is called asadero cheese, when it is shaped in a circle or rectangle for slicing. Some spicy versions of Oaxaca cheese, which use berries, are also available in Oaxaca.
Although making this cheese at home is not very easy, it is not very difficult either. You can make this delicious cheese at home and experiment with a couple of Mexican dishes as well. We have a simple and easy-to-make Oaxaca cheese recipe for you along with two recipes that use this cheese; Chile con Quesoand Chicken Quesadilla.
Making Oaxaca Cheese
- Cow's milk, 1 gallon (raw)
- Rennet, ¾ cup
- Salt, as required
- Pour milk in a double boiler, and let it heat to about 140-149°F.
- Let it heat for around 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Turn off the heat and let it cool to around 95°F.
- Now add the rennet.
- Cover the boiler, and let it rest for an hour.
- Check if the curd has formed.
- If yes, cut it into small pieces, and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Now drain the whey using a cheesecloth or fine mesh colander.
- Now immerse the curd pieces in hot water, and knead them properly.
- Stretch to form long strings. You can even braid them if you want.
- You can immerse it in brine or just rub some salt on it.
- Your cheese is ready.
Two Recipes Using Oaxaca Cheese
Chile con Queso
- Oaxaca cheese, grated, 3 cups
- Cheddar cheese, grated, 3 cups
- Serrano chiles, 2, diced
- Garlic cloves, 2
- All-purpose flour, 2 tbsp.
- Unsalted butter, 2 tbsp.
- Jalapeno pepper, 1
- Whole milk, 1 cup
- Cilantro, chopped, ½ cup
- Yellow onion, chopped, ½ cup
- Sour cream, ½ cup
- Melt the butter in a pan. Add the onion, serrano chiles, garlic, and jalapeno and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the flour to the pan and add milk slowly. Continuously stir the mixture when doing so.
- Let it cook for 5 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and cilantro.
- Add both the cheeses and sour cream. Mix till everything blends.
- Serve hot with tortilla chips.
- Tortillas, 8
- Chicken breast, skinless, boneless, 1 cup
- Oaxaca cheese, shredded, 1 cup
- Fresh salsa, ½ cup
- Black beans, canned, ½ cup
- Corn, frozen, ¼ cup
- Jalapeno pepper, 2 tbsp.
- Sour cream, ¼ cup
- Butter, as required
- First combine together the chicken, salsa, black beans, corn, and jalapeno pepper.
- Divide this mixture into four equal parts, and spread on four tortillas.
- Now heat some butter in a pan, and cook the quesadilla on each side till golden.
- Serve hot with sour cream.
A very milky, creamy, and tasty cheese, Oaxaca can be used in many other dishes too. It can also be used as a substitute for Mozzarella cheese.