Make Healthy Fresh Cheeses
with Top Quality California Milk

Homemade butter made using Real Caifornia Milk

Homemade butter made using Real Caifornia Milk

FOR the longest time, we Filipinos knew only a few types of cheese—basically Cheddar, quick-melt and cheese spread, aside from our native kesong-puti. Then came mozzarella cheese with a nice stretch for pizzas and Parmesan cheese for pasta dishes. Now, thanks to the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), we have become knowledgeable about quite a number of different California cheeses, which have at the same time become readily available in the local market in recent years.

Not contented with just educating Filipinos about cheeses, the CMAB, an instrumentality of the California Department of Food and Agriculture funded by California’s 1,300 dairy families, recently staged a cheese forum to teach Filipino cooks how to produce certain types of California cheeses as well. Heading the cheese forum was Mark Todd, dubbed “The Cheese Dude” and a cheese expert and consultant for respected dairy organizations in America.

Todd first discussed the uniqueness of different types of California cheeses—starting from soft and soft ripened cheeses, going to semi-hard then hard cheeses and, finally, Hispanic cheeses. Afterwards, he taught guests how to recreate certain cheeses at home using Real California Milk which, milk producers proudly claim, come from happy cows.

Mark Todd, The Cheese Dude

Mark Todd, The Cheese Dude

“Dairy products made with Real California Milk are packed with flavor because they are produced by well-fed cows from family farms in California. They are filled with nutrients like protein, calcium, Vitamin D and potassium that are needed by both children and adults, according to MyPlate, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food guide,” explains Reji Retugal-Onal, CMAB country representative, while The Cheese Dude taught everyone how to recreate Quick Homemade Butter, Homemade Queso Blanco and Whole Milk Ricotta during the cheese forum.

“The availability of California cheeses in most supermarkets gives you the convenience of adding more texture and flavor to your dish when you need it. However, in case you’re looking for a specific taste for your dish, you can experiment creating your own cheese using Real California Milk at home,” says Todd.

Real California Milk, produced by happy cows, is used to make California Cheese. The cows are happy because the climate of California combined with the specialized care given by farmers to their cows allow their milk to attain its premium quality. Part of the milk produced in the state is packaged and marketed as California Milk products, while part of the milk production is used to make California Cheese. Having been producing cheese for more than 200 years, California is now the largest farming state and leading milk producer in the United States and California Cheese has become the largest and fastest growing category of all the state’s milk and milk product categories. In the Philippines, California dairy products are available in leading supermarkets nationwide, including Rustan’s, S&R, Robinsons Supermarket and SM.

Making homemade butter with top quality California Milk as major ingredient

Making homemade butter with top quality California Milk as major ingredient


Equipment needed:
Mixer/Food Processor (or jar to shake)

Heavy cream, preferably fresh and organic

1. Leave the cream out for a bit so that it warms to around 50˚F.
2. Pour cream into the mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Put a cover oer the mixer, so that you do not splatter cream all over the kitchen. Alternately, you can pour the cream into a jar you can shake. This will take longer, but your arms will get a good workout, and you can make it a family project.
3. Set on medium-high and whisk for 5 to 7 minutes. You can over-whip the cream.
4. Strain the butter into a bowl, making sure all the liquid runs out. Then set aside the liquid. That liquid is homemade uber fresh buttermilk!
5. Rinse the butter with water to remove any excess liquid.
6. Knead the butter with a spatula to bring together the curds. This does not take long, just a minute or two. If you wish to salt your butter, now is a good time to do so.

Homemade Queso Blanco

Homemade Queso Blanco


Non-reactive 6-quart stock pot
Instant-read or dairy thermometer
Flexible wire, long handle stainless steel whisk
Food-grade flexible blade rubber spatula
Mesh strainer or colander
Cheese cloth
Metal bowl or plastic bucket

1 gallon whole mik
1/3 + 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tsps. kosher salt

1. In a large pot, slowly heat whole milk to 190˚F, about 20 to 25 minutes. Go low and slow, stirring often.
2. Incorporate 1/3 cup vinegar evenly. Turn off gas and let sit for 10 minutes. At this point, curds are separating from the whey, which is becoming greenish and mosty clear. If the whey remains very cloudy, add another 1/8 cup vinegar and allow to set for another 10 minutes.
3. With a strainer ladle, gently remove curds to a dampened cheese cloth-lined strainer placed over a bowl, adding salt as curd is added.
4. Place loose curd ball in cheese cloth, press into cheese mold, and drain for 1 hour.
5. Flip cheese in mold. Press with sterile 1 lb. weight (e.g. bottle full of water) for 1 hour.
6. Serve or continue pressing for up to 4 hours. Refrigerate, tightly covered, for up to 3 to 4 days.



Ricotta is a simple, fresh cheese that takes little time to make. It is best when used within a few days while its flavor is bright and the texture is still moist and creamy. Traditionally, ricotta is made by reheating whey (ricotta means cooked in Italian) after making other cheeses though it takes a fair amount of whey to yield a usable amount of ricotta. This home-crafted formula using whole milk and citric acid is very basic. If you like an even richer and creamier ricotta, try making it exclusively with heavy cream. If you don’t have citric acid, use lemon juice for coagulation.

For the milk, use raw or pasteurized whole cow’s milk. An alternative milk that can be used is pasteurized goat’s milk or raw goat’s milk, if you have a reliable source, that is.

From start to finish, the process of making the cheese will take 1 hour; while draining the cheese will take 20 to 30 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Yield of this recipe is 1 lb.

Non-reactive heavy core bottom 6-quart stock pot
Instant-read or dairy thermometer
Flexible wire, long handle stainless steel whisk
Food- grade flexible blade rubber spatula
Mesh strainer or colander
Butter muslin
Metal bowl or plastic bucket as sink
Wooden spoon for hanging cheese

1 gallon pasteurized whole cow’s milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream (no fillers or stabilizers)
1 tsp. citric acid powder
1 tsp. kosher salt

1. Combine the room-temperature milk, cream, citric acid, and salt, then combine thoroughly with a whisk; using the up and down method.
2. Place in non-reactive pot and, over medium-low heat, slowly heat milk to 185 to 195˚F, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir frequently with a flexible rubber spatula to prevent scorching. As milk reaches around 150˚F, curds will start to form.
3. As temperature gets closer to 185 to 195˚F, curds and whey will show a dramatic separation. The whey will be yellowish-green and just slightly cloudy. If the whey is too cloudy, add a pinch more of citric acid and stir down into the whey to cause more curds to form. Turn off heat.
4. Gently run a rubber spatula around the edge of the curds to rotate the mass, and then let the curds set without disturbing them for 10 minutes.
5. Line a colander or strainer with water-dampened butter muslin. Carefully ladle the curds into the colander, being careful not to break up the curds. Use a long handle mesh skimmer to capture the last of the curds. If any curds are stuck to the bottom of the pan, leave them there. You don’t want scorched curds flavoring your cheese.
6. Drain for 5 minutes, then gently toss the curds with 1 tsp. kosher salt. Be mindful not to break up the curds in the process.
7. Tie two opposite corners of the butter muslin into a knot and repeat with the other two corners. Slip a dowel or wooden spoon through the knot and then suspend the bag over the whey-catching receptacle.
8. Drain curds for 5 to 10 minutes or until the desired consistency has been reached. If a moist ricotta is desired, stop draining just as the whey stops dripping. If a drier ricotta is desired, or if the cheese is being used to make Ricotta Salata, let curds drain for a longer period.
9. Transfer the cheese to a lidded container. Cover and store in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

*Note: If a moist, plump curd is desired, first heat the milks to 180˚, and then add the citric acid. Add the salt when draining the curds.


(To learn more about California Milk products, please get in touch with Ms. Reji Retugal-Onal at 534-8534 or 534-8223, email her at or log on to


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