White Cheese - Philippines Style !
By Izah Morales INQUIRER.net WHAT is hot pandesal without the yummy melted cheese for breakfast? Cheese has been the partner of pandesal that satisfies one’s hungry stomach. According to cheese.com, there are at least 670 different cheeses around the world (at least based on its database) and it can be differentiated by the type of milk and type of animal used. One of them is the white cheese from the Murrah buffalo’s milk.According to Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) science research specialist Mina Abello, the white cheese from the buffalo’s milk is richer in nutritional value than the yellowish white cheese from cow’s milk. There is more fat, protein, and calcium in buffalo’s milk than in cow’s milk. When I first tasted white cheese wrapped in banana leaves, I promised myself not to taste it again for it was sour. But when I visited the PCC in Munoz, Nueva Ecija and tasted their white cheese, I was surprised by its milky taste with a bit of saltiness. Abello demonstrated how white cheese is made. In order to make 200 grams of white cheese, half liter of Murrah buffalo’s milk, rennet and salt are needed. The process begins with pasteurization wherein the milk is heated to destroy yeast, bacteria, and molds. Then, the temperature of milk is lowered to an optimum level of coagulation. Coagulation is done through enzyme or acid coagulation, which takes about 30 to 60 minutes. When vinegar is used, acid coagulation takes place causing the sour taste of the white cheese in banana leaves that I ate. On the other hand, rennet causes enzyme coagulation resulting in the milky taste. After the coagulation process, milk caseins solidify forming a “leche flan-like” texture. The coagulum or the solid form is then cut gently into an inch. Salt will then be added to add taste. Draining, which takes two to three hours, will then follow in order to take out the weigh or the liquid portion of the coagulum. After draining, cheese will then be cut into desired sizes. Patience is needed in making white cheese for the whole process takes about four to five hours.