Oaxaca is a white Mexican cheese in the semi-hard cheese category with a mozzarella-like string cheese texture (stretched-curd). You can easily make Oaxaca in your home kitchen using our Fresco Italiano Cheese Making Kit!It is widely used in Mexican cuisine and will typically be used in quesadillas and empanadas bringing its mild, milky flavour – and ‘melty’ and stringy texture.
Traditionally Oaxaca was made using raw milk – however our homemade oaxaca cheese recipe uses citric acid and buttermilk to achieve similar results using pasteurised milk, store-bought milk.
MAKES APPROXIMATELY 350G
- 2L full cream unhomogenised milk.
- 1/4 cup cultured buttermilk (live cultures).
- 3/4 tsp citric acid, (diluted in 30ml cool, non-chlorinated water).
- ⅛ tablet rennet or 1ml liquid rennet (diluted in 30ml cool, non-chlorinated water).
- Salt to taste.
- Measure out 30ml cool, non-chlorinated water into a measuring cup and stir in the citric acid, until dissolved.
- In a separate vessel, measure out a further 30ml cool, non-chlorinated water, and stir in the rennet.
- Pour the milk into a saucepan, and stir in the buttermilk.
- Stir in the diluted citric acid.
- Warm the milk to 32°C (whilst constantly stirring, to prevent scalding).
- Remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in the diluted rennet solution. Count to 30, then stop stirring immediately.
- Cover the saucepan, and let it sit undisturbed in a warm spot (e.g. in an oven on ‘warm’ setting, or a kitchen sink with warm water) for 60 minutes, or until a “clean break” (clear knife incision) is present.
- Once a “clean break” is present, cut the curd into 2.5cm cubes.
- Place the saucepan back on the stove, and warm the curds to 41°C. Stir the curds very gently, and slowly as they warm up, but try not to break them apart.
- The curds will eventually clump together, and separate more completely from the yellow whey.
- Using the slotted spoon, gently scoop the curds into the cheesecloth-lined colander to drain.
- Leave the curd at room temperature overnight to develop more flavour and further acidify the curd.
- The following day, heat 2L of water to 75°C, in a saucepan on the stove. Try to maintain this temperature throughout the stretching step.
- Put on your gloves (two pairs are recommended) and take half the amount of curd onto your slotted spoon. Immerse the curd in the hot water for approximately 40 - 60 seconds, or until the curd has melted and become stretchy. Curd not stretching? Check out our troubleshooting section here or get in touch.
- Stretch the curd out as far as possible, then fold it back on itself. Repeat this several times until you are able to pull the curd into one long smooth, flat length of string. You may need to dip the curd into the hot water several more times to reach the desired elasticity. Roll the length of string up into itself to produce the 'ball of string' type appearance traditional of Oaxaca.
- Season directly with salt before serving.
Stretchy curd is all about the PH (acidity). If you find your cheese isn't stretching, get your hands on a PH strip (like this) and add your citric acid slowly until the milk has a PH of 5.8