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Fried Cheese

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 4:26
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Remember fried cheese sticks? They were the rage once upon a time, usually mozzarella, sometimes cheddar, made by battering frozen cheese sticks and popping them into the deep fryer. Crispy on the outside, melty on the inside; a favorite of any cheese lover! When I found a photo of fried sliced cheese in David Asher’s The Art of Natural Cheesemaking, I thought it would make a great side dish for burgers. 

The frying cheese I made is known in many cultures by different names. We usually see it called Paneer or Panir (Indian) or Queso Blanco (Mexican). The recipe is the same as for whole milk ricotta. In the U.S. it’s sometimes called Farmer’s Cheese, although that is more of a category of fresh cheeses than a specific kind. No matter the name, it’s probably the simplest cheese to make.


  • 1 gallon milk (any kind except ultra-pasteurized)
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (any kind), or lemon or lime juice or 1/2 gal. yogurt
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons salt (optional)

Heat milk to boiling (stir to prevent scorching), gently stir in the vinegar, and let rest for about ten minutes. Carefully scoop out the curds, let them drain, salt if desired, and hang or lightly press in cheesecloth.

Yield: One gallon of milk gives me about two pounds of cheese. This is heavier than most, because boiling the milk plus adding an acid captures both milk proteins: casein and albumin.

Once it’s cool it can be sliced or cubed and when cooked, it won’t melt! That’s what makes it popular for frying, plus all sorts of vegetarian dishes in place of tofu.

To fry: slice and brown in your favorite fat or oil.

Variation: In Northern Caucasia (where it’s called Circassian cheese), slices are dipped in egg and bread crumbs before frying.

To store: As a fresh cheese it won’t keep long, about a week without salting, several weeks with salt. It’s one of the few cheeses that can be frozen, however, which is appealing to me since my milk supply is seasonal.

The flavor can be changed by changing the acid used and adding herbs and spices. After a successful plain version, I tried an Italian version.


  • 1 gallon milk
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup dried Italian herbs

To fry: slice and brown in extra virgin olive oil until crispy.

A delicious accompaniment to pasta and your favorite sauce!

Hopefully I can get a couple of these tucked away in my freezer before my experiments in cheesemaking come to an end for the year. I am now milking only one doe instead of three, so I have less milk to work with. She’s giving me a gradually decreasing quart per day, but hopefully she’ll stay in milk until kidding next spring. It won’t be enough for cheese, but if it’s enough to keep our kefir going I’ll be happy.

I have one hard cheese aging in wax. Only one as an experiment in curing without a cheese cave. If it turns out well, I’ll tell you about it.

Fried Cheese © Dec. 2017 by Leigh


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