Recipe Thursday - Making Monterey Jack Cheese (2024)

Recipe Thursday - Making Monterey Jack Cheese (1)

Not being able to purchase cheese making supplies in my local area I ended up ordering some off the internet. Last week finally the kit I ordered arrived. I was so excited! Finally I was going to be able to make real cheese! The kit I ordered is called from and was supposed to come with everything needed to make hard cheese and the recipes as well. Since I am abeginnercheese maker I thought maybe a kit was the way to go so I could experiment for a bit with different recipes and then order more supplies once I decided which cheeses we like the most. The cost of this kit was $29.99 plus shipping. As it turns out... It was way overpriced for what Ireceivedand I won't be ordering from this company again.

Recipe Thursday - Making Monterey Jack Cheese (2)

Not only that but of the 10 different hard cheese recipes Ireceivedin the lovely little booklet sent with it, only one... ONE! can be made with the supplies sent. I was pretty disappointed. Sigh..... Lesson learned.At least I have the recipes and can order my supplies elsewhere. The two main ingredients missing are Thermophilic culture and citric acid. There are other items which would have been nice but cheese can still be made without them, such as the colorant used in cheddar. I don't plan on coloring my cheese anyway so no worries there.

I figured I might as well get started as my fridge was loaded with milk waiting to be used and since I can only make the Monterey Jack with the supplies at hand that's what I did. Here's how it went. Beforewarned! If you decide to make this cheese you need to have a lot of free time. It's not difficult but there is a lot of waiting time so you need to be around for about four hours.

Monterey Jack Cheese

Ingredients Needed:

2 gallons whole milk

1/4 teaspoon Mesophilic culture

1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet or 1/2 rennet tabletdilutedin 1/4 cup cool, unchlorinated water

1 tablespoon cheese salt

Recipe Thursday - Making Monterey Jack Cheese (3)

2 gallons is almost too much for my pot but I managed to fit it in... just!

Heat the milk to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have fresh milk fromtoday'smilking this is pretty easy as by the time you strain it, the temperature is almost perfect. Add the Mesophilic culture and slowly mix it in without creating bubbles. Not sure why but I was very careful. Cover and allow to ripen for 30 minutes while keeping at 88 degrees. All these temperatures were pretty easy for me to maintain but I'm not sure how easy it would be without a wood stove to place the pot on. I found if I put the pot on the far end of the stove the temperature stayed perfect.

Recipe Thursday - Making Monterey Jack Cheese (4)

The little thermometer that came with the kit came in handy but I had to find a holder to make it stay in place as it didn't come with one.

Add the rennet and again slowly stir without creating bubbles for 1 minute. Now cover and let it set for 30 to 45 minutes at 90 degrees. Using a long sharp knife cut the curd into 1/4 inch cubes. Now let set covered for 40 minutes.

Recipe Thursday - Making Monterey Jack Cheese (5)

The curds are cut but hard to see as they started to sink right away.

Slowly heat the curds by 2 degrees every 5 minutes while stirring slowly to keep curds from matting until the temperature reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This took me about 38 minutes and I really didn't stir the whole time... Maybe every 2 or 3 minutes I would give it a nice slow stir, probably should have done it the whole time but I'm not good at standing still for long.

Drain off the whey to the level of the curds and set for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes whilemaintainingthe temperature at 100 degrees. Wow! I just spent 3 hours making cheese!

Recipe Thursday - Making Monterey Jack Cheese (6)

Now we are almost there!

Ladle into a muslin lined colander place over the sink or a large pot to drain. I'm not draining the whey down the sink!Sprinklewith cheese salt and mix gently then allow to drain for a while. I think I left it about 5 minutes.

Recipe Thursday - Making Monterey Jack Cheese (7)

Put curds into a muslin lined mold and press with a three pound weight for 15 minutes.

Recipe Thursday - Making Monterey Jack Cheese (8)

I filled an empty jug with water until it was 3 lbs and used it as the weight. The mold in the kit was too small so I found a lovely bowl with slats in the bottom to use as a press and the slatted lid to give some room between the bowl and the plate so the whey would have room to press out.

Remove from the mold, peel away the muslin and turn cheese over. Redress with muslin and put back into the mold. Press at 10 pounds for 12 hours.

Recipe Thursday - Making Monterey Jack Cheese (9)

I filled the jug up with water and it was almost heavy enough. Then I popped it all in therefrigeratorover night. Not sure if you are supposed to but I just didn't feel right leaving it out over night. Need to do more research on this....

Now you are supposed to let the cheeseair dryfor 1 to 3 days at room temperature turning twice a day until dry and then wax it. I don't have any wax. This cheese is supposed to be aged for 1 to 4 months or 60 days if you use fresh milk. I figure there is nothing we can do but eat it fresh until I get more supplies.

Of course I had to taste it. Yum! It's very mild at this point though and I can't wait until I have the supplies to be able to age it.

Recipe Thursday - Making Monterey Jack Cheese (10)

2 full pounds of cheese made!

Recipe Thursday - Making Monterey Jack Cheese (2024)


What are the ingredients in Monterey Jack cheese? ›

Monterey Jack Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Potato Starch and Powdered Cellulose (To Prevent Caking), Natamycin (A Natural Mold Inhibitor). Our shredded Mexican-style cheeses bring an authentic taste to your enchiladas and nachos.

How do they make Monterey Jack cheese? ›

Pasteurized cow's milk is gently heated in the cheesemaking vat, then cultures are added to the milk. Goat's milk may also be used. After the milk is cultured, rennet is added to coagulate it. The curds are cut into small pieces, then gently stirred and heated in the vat to remove whey.

What is the result of mixing Monterey Jack and Colby cheese? ›

Colby-Jack, or Co-jack/Cojack, is an American marble cheese made from Colby and Monterey Jack. It is classified as semi-hard in texture and is mild due to its two-week aging process. It is generally sold in a full-moon or a half-moon shape when it is young.

What is the closest cheese to Monterey Jack? ›

What cheese is most like Monterey Jack? Havarti cheese is the most similar substitute, offering a buttery flavor and creamy texture like Monterey Jack. Other close matches are aged gouda, muenster, and mild cheddar.

Is Monterey Jack a healthy cheese? ›

Yes, you can eat Monterey Jack Cheese, also known as Jack, a white, semi-hard cheese made in California from cow's milk. It is a good source of calcium, fat, and protein. It's also high in vitamins A and B12, zinc, phosphorus, and riboflavin. It is ideal for snacking, slicing, melting, and toasting on food.

What is the white stuff on Monterey Jack cheese? ›

It's likely that the white substance on the outside of your cheese is calcium lactate. Calcium lactate is common in aged cheese.

What is special about Monterey Jack cheese? ›

It has a mild, buttery flavor and a pale-yellow color with a compact and supple texture. With a high fat and moisture content, Monterey Jack has excellent melting properties and is commonly used in Mexican cuisine.

What animal milk is Monterey Jack cheese made from? ›

Monterey (Monterey Jack) cheese is cheese made by the monterey process or by any other procedure which produces a finished cheese having the same organoleptic, physical, and chemical properties as the cheese produced by the monterey process. The cheese is made from pasteurized cow's milk.

Does Monterey Jack cheese melt well? ›

Monterey Jack is the cheese goddess of melting. With a high fat and moisture content, this semi-hard American cheese will melt on cue for baked pasta, grilled cheese sandwiches, and any quesadilla it lays its eyes on.

What is difference between Colby Jack and Monterey Jack cheese? ›

Therefore, the flavors of Colby and Monterey Jack typically are milder and sweeter than a mild Cheddar. Colby typically is colored a medium-yellow using annatto, while Monterey Jack is not colored. Colby Jack, a blend of Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses, can be made in various ways, McCoy notes.

What's the difference between Colby cheese and Monterey Jack? ›

In terms of flavor, texture and melting ability, the best substitute for Colby cheese is Monterey Jack. Both are young cheeses with mild flavors, high moisture content and springy textures. The only thing differentiating the two are the colors, since Colby is yellow and Monterey Jack is white.

What Mexican cheese is similar to Monterey Jack? ›

Known as quesillo in Oaxaca and referred to as queso Oaxaqueño or queso Oaxaca in the rest of Mexico, this white, semi-hard cheese from Oaxaca is similar in flavor to unaged Monterey Jack. It is notable for its texture; it's sold as rolled up balls of flat ropes that pull apart like string cheese.

Is Gouda a good substitute for Monterey Jack cheese? ›

Monterrey jack is white, so if you go with Cheddar, maybe you can find a white variety. Fontina would be superb, but Swiss, Emmental, and Gouda would be good alternatives too.

What is the difference between mozzarella and Monterey Jack cheese? ›

Monterey Jack is aged longer and has much less moisture than Mozzarella. Mozzarella has about three times the fat content. So both will react very differently depending on how you use it, especially when cooking or baking.

Is Monterey Jack healthier than Cheddar? ›

The nutritionals for Monterey Jack vs. cheddar are pretty similar. However, cheddar (which originated in England, according to the American Cheese Society) has more fat and sodium than Monterey Jack. So if you're watching your salt and fat intake, you may want to choose Monterey Jack.

Does Monterey Jack have animal rennet? ›

Our Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack cheeses are crafted with microbial, vegetarian enzymes, making them vegetarian cheeses.

What is the difference between Monterey Jack and mozzarella cheese? ›

As for flavor, Monterrey Jack has a buttery taste, as opposed to the milky flavor of mozzarella. It also has nutty undertones to it, and you can also find variations on it, which come with their own additional tasting notes added to the mix.

What's the difference between Monterey Jack and Cheddar Jack? ›

Monterey Jack will give you the most basic, slightly tangy flavor profile. Pepper Jack will obviously give you some heat. Cheddar Jack will give you some sharpness, and Colby Jack will give you added nuttiness and a rich orange hue.


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