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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Mexican / Tex-Mex / Southwest United States / Hispanic Cheeses - Description and Possible Substitutes
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    Hispanic Cheeses - Description and Possible Substitutes

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    Mama's Kitchen (Hope)
    Sun Mar 14, 2010 2:03 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    A guide to some of the more common cheeses of Mexico and other Latin countries and what can be substituted if the Mexican variety is not available.

    Here are a few Popular Hispanic Cheeses you may have seen in recipes or at the market. They are growing in popularity as they are easier to obtain compared to 10 years ago. Give them a try!







    You may be confused by the many types of Hispanic cheeses. In Latin countries recipes typically use local cheeses available to them but may not be available in other countries. Since we are not as familiar with the different types we may skip what is a great recipe!

    So we put together a guide as to some of the more common cheeses, their taste and texture and even what can be substituted if the Latin variety is not available.

    Soft and semi-soft cheeses

    Adobera: A melting cheese with a strong taste and crumbly texture, typically used in enchiladas. Can be substituted with any other melting cheese, like asadero or if used for garnishing things like tostadas, queso fresco would be better. submitted by Mami Janin


    Anejo Literal translation is 'old' but a better term would be aged. This cheese is an aged version of queso fresco. Makes a great grating cheese that adds a stronger flavor than queso fresco. A good susubstitute would be Romano cheese.

    Asadero (queso quesadilla) is a rich, melting cheese with a creamy texture. It has a strong, tangy flavor with excellent melting qualities that make it ideal for tostadas, nachos or baked dishes.Commonly used in quesadillas because it melts easily and has a mild flavor. Another common use for this cheese would be Queso Flameado (like a Mexican fondue.) Substitute: Fontina or Monterrey Jack.

    Chihuahua aka Mennonite Cheese Another great melting cheese used in Mexican fondue as well as queso frito or fried cheese. Very common in the United States but a good substitute would be a medium muenster, mild cheddar, or medium monterrey jack.

    CremaA creamy consistency that is not quite a cheese and more like sour cream or cr�me fraiche. Also see Queso Doble Crema below

    ]Crema Agria Another popular variety of Hispanic cream is Crema Agria (known in the Caribbean as CremaCentroAmericana). This is a thick, rich cream with a tangy flavor. Its slightly tangy flavor makes it an ideal garnish for savory dishes such as burritos, enchiladas and fajitas. Substitute: sour cream

    Jocoque, not really a cheese, but not quite cream or yogurt. It's a fermented dairy product, almost like cultured buttermilk, but made entirely from milk. Very nutritious. Served as a dip with tostadas or in salads. submitted by Mami Janine

    Panela is a fresh cheese in Mexico. It has a fresh taste and crumbly texture that keeps it's shape when cooked. It's a good choice for salads.because it retains an imprint from the basket it�s made it. A derivative of Greek 'basket cheese' may also be known as �queso de canasta�. Wonderful on tacos or nachos. May be substituted with ricotta.

    Queso blanco A great melting cheese that is soft in texture with a mild, fresh taste. It holds it's shape when heated and retains a soft, creamy texture. It's a good for fried cheese. Some makers will use lime juice to coagulate the cheese giving it a crisp citrus flavor, but most large producers use rennet. Similar to Monterrey jack or mozzarella.

    Queso doble crema is a very creamy, sweet cheese, many times used in flan (such as flan Napolitano or cream cheese flan). Creamy but a somewhat crumbly. submitted by Mami Janine

    Queso fresco Another soft and mild cheese that is moist and slightly salty. Can be crumbled over just about any Mexican dish to add a little more flavor. Holds its shape well so it does not make a great melting cheese. Had a fine grained texture and is used mostly for grilling and baking. Crumble it over your next salad. Similar to and can be substituted with mild feta.


    Queso Oaxaca (quesillo) This is one of the most popular cheeses for making quesadillas and especially the Oaxacan tlayuda. Soft and stringy like mozarella. Can be kneaded and formed into balls similar to bocadella. Good sub's would be mozzarella or string cheese.

    Requeson Another ricotta-like cheese common in enchiladas or cheese dips and spreads.






    Firm and semi firm cheeses

    Anejo Enchilado or Enchilado is a firm, full flavored, non-melting cheese that has been rolled in paprika or mild chili powder. Translated means �flavored with chili�. Typically served as a snack with a michelada (cocktail made with beer) or tequila. Great for snacking! It will soften but hold it's shape when used in cooking, .
    A strong feta is a good sub.

    Cotija Made with aged goats milke this sharp cheese is similar to Pecorino Romano. Considered �The Parmesan of Mexico� and can be used like or substituted with Pecorino Romano or Parmesan.

    ManchegoA cheese with a mild yet slightly nutty flavor originated from a region of Spain known as 'La Mancha'. Wonderful served with fruit or used on sandwiches like pambazos or cemitas. A good sub is Monterrey Jack

    Queso Chiapas Aged and crumbly, this cheese is typically served over beans or salads. Depending on the producer, this cheese can have a slightly �sour� taste. Substitute: strong feta and a little lime.

    Queso Criollo A yellow Mexican cheese very similar to Muenster. A good greating and melting cheese for salads or beans as well as many other Mexican dishes. Muenster is a good sub here.



    Please share any others we may have left out as well as your recipes using these interesting cheeses!


    Last edited by Mama's Kitchen (Hope) on Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:18 pm, edited 6 times in total
    realbirdlady
    Sun Mar 14, 2010 2:51 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Quote:
    Chihuahua Another great melting cheese used in Mexican fondue as well as queso frito or fried cheese. Very common in the United States but a good substitute would be a medium muenster, mild cheddar, or medium monterrey jack.
    Around here this one is pretty much always called "mennonite cheese".
    Mami J
    Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:33 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I find requeson to be a good substitute for mascarpone cheese in dessert recipes.

    Queso doble crema is a very creamy, sweet cheese, many times used in flan (such as flan Napolitano or cream cheese flan). Creamy but a somewhat crumbly.

    Adobera: A melting cheese with a strong taste and crumbly texture, typically used in enchiladas. Can be substituted with any other melting cheese, like asadero or if used for garnishing things like tostadas, queso fresco would be better.

    Thought this could be a good addition:

    Jocoque, not really a cheese, but not quite cream or yogurt. It's a fermented dairy product, almost like cultured buttermilk, but made entirely from milk. Very nutritious. Served as a dip with tostadas or in salads.
    cookiedog
    Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:06 am
    Food.com Groupie
    Wow! Thank you for this. Very imformative!
    Mama's Kitchen (Hope)
    Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:32 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Awesome! So glad you all are finding this thread helpful!



    BIG FAVOR! If you all do not mind, would you please list anything you want added to the list of cheeses in bold?? I can find them faster that way!


    I have added all the suggestions to this point!



    Thank you so much for the additions! You all ROCK!
    Vseward (Chef~V)
    Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:27 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Great info here Hope! Well you've already posted my favorite Manchego! I will research my recipes. And see what I can contribute to this great thread icon_wink.gif
    Vseward (Chef~V)
    Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:58 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    CREMA AGRIA

    The other popular variety of Hispanic cream is Crema Agria (known in the Caribbean as CremaCentroAmericana). This is a thick, rich cream with a tangy flavor. Its slightly tangy flavor makes it an ideal garnish for savory dishes such as burritos, enchiladas and fajitas.

    Substitute: sour cream
    Dib's
    Wed Mar 17, 2010 7:48 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Hispanic Cheeses

    Hope a few of these help-LOVE cheese, it's icon_cool.gif
    Mama's Kitchen (Hope)
    Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:41 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Vseward (Chef~V) wrote:
    CREMA AGRIA

    The other popular variety of Hispanic cream is Crema Agria (known in the Caribbean as CremaCentroAmericana). This is a thick, rich cream with a tangy flavor. Its slightly tangy flavor makes it an ideal garnish for savory dishes such as burritos, enchiladas and fajitas.

    Substitute: sour cream




    Got it!

    Thanks V and Dib's!
    Dina Ken
    Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:54 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I grew up in the Las Cruces - El Paso area in the sixties. The beef tacos were made with a white tangy cheese that was very good. I would appreciate any help in identifying this cheese.
    Mami J
    Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:14 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Dina Ken wrote:
    I grew up in the Las Cruces - El Paso area in the sixties. The beef tacos were made with a white tangy cheese that was very good. I would appreciate any help in identifying this cheese.


    Can you describe it's texture?
    Dina Ken
    Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:35 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    The best I remember the texture was smooth.
    Mami J
    Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:13 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    If it was smooth but didn't melt, it was most likely queso fresco
    Dina Ken
    Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:25 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Thank you, I was thinking of that or Asadero. I'll give both a try.
    Mami J
    Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:14 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Dina Ken wrote:
    Thank you, I was thinking of that or Asadero. I'll give both a try.


    You're welcome. I hope you find what you are looking for icon_biggrin.gif
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