Talking about requeijão is like talking about gold in this household. I have always loved requeijão, but Andrew is on another level. I don't even know if there is a word to describe how he feels about it.
Requeijão is a very Brazilian cheese and it has many textures, shapes and colours. The one we attempt here is the creamiest one, the "glass" version (requeijão de copo) or the "fake" version, as the inventor of the mass produced one says.
Let me explain: requeijão has been made since Brazil was colonized by the Portuguese and it was a way to use milk before it went sour. The "original" style is still made in the small farms of Minas Gerais, wrapped in banana leaves and you can find variants of this all around the country; those have no comparison to what we are doing here.
But in 1911 an Italian immigrant made his requeijão extremely popular and he called it Catupiry. It was this specific cheese that inspired Moacyr Dias to create the requeijão we are going to make.
You see, Catupiry is a synonym to a very specific type of requeijão, a creamy, yet dense cheese, very unique in its texture and, as far as I know, impossible to replicate, but a visit to Catupiry's factory was the inspiration that Moacyr needed to create the creamy, "liquidy" version of requeijão.
Moacyr Dias created the "requeijão de copo" in 1950. Back then he was at the head of a big dairy company, Poços de Caldas, and he wanted to use the extra milk his business kept producing. It took him 605 tries to get to the one sold in Brazil today. And because his process to make it is quite different from the original one, he says his requeijão is the "fake one".
Fake or not, it's delicious, which is why it's found in almost every breakfast table in Brazil.
So let's get to it. You will need:
2L milk - homogenized + 2/3 cup if using mozzarella.
4 tbsp lime juice - see note.
3 tbsp (50g) unsalted butter.
1/2 tsp salt.
1/2 cup (125g) shredded mozzarella - optional, see note.
Make sure you have a strainer, a bowl or pitcher that fits your strainer, cheese cloth or coffee filters.
Lime juice: you can substitute this for lemon juice or vinegar. Whatever you use will leave an after taste in your final product and we use lime juice just because we prefer its taste.
Mozzarella: not necessary. If you don't use it, it will be just as good. The reason we use it is for added taste and texture.
Start by boiling your milk. Stir constantly so the bottom doesn't burn and cut off the heat as soon as you see it starting to boil.
Reserve 3/4 cup of this milk.
Add lime juice and stir.
Let it sit for about 5 minutes, so the milk starts to separate. You'll have curds that will start to come to the surface of a clear yellowish liquid, that's Whey (see note at the end).
Put a bowl or pitcher in the sink and put your strainer lined with cheese cloth or coffee filters on top.
Slowly pour the separated milk on to the pitcher with the strainer. You want to catch all the curds.
Once you have poured it all, press it a bit and then leave it sitting for a few minutes so all the whey is drained out of your curds.
Place the curds into your blender. Add butter, salt and the reserved hot milk.
Blend until smooth.
You can stop here and if that's the case, skip the next step.
Add mozzarella and 2/3 cup of milk to the blender and continue blending until smooth. Check that it isn't too thick, if it is, add a bit more milk.
Transfer to an air tight container and label it with the date. This will last 5 days in the fridge.
This recipe makes quite a bit of requeijão, but you can use it for a lot of things. Substitute your mayonnaise for requeijão in a pasta or potato salad. Add it to your chili, to your strognoff, to a potato gratin or twice baked potato (yes, it goes really well with potatoes), spread it on your toast, mix it with herbs to make a pate or put it on Cheese Dots Waffles. Or just make half the recipe.
Don't throw away the whey! Whey is super nutritious and can be used in a number of recipes. You can use whey instead of water for your rice, bread, or smoothie. It is a great source of high quality protein, it promotes muscle growth (yes, this is the same as the powdered whey body builders use) and it is highly satiating, so it helps reduce hunger. So get creative!
I know this was a long post, sorry about that, but if you want to just follow along with Andrew, make sure to check our Youtube channel here.
If you tried this recipe, let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.