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September 4, 2007

Kesong Puti (Filipino White Cheese)

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Kesong Puti

While I was churning butter my daughter asked me suspiciously and with one raised eyebrow, "You're not going to make cheese next, are you?". I said, "No, of course not, it won't be as easy as butter". But then one of my blog visitors lamented that it's not that easy to find mascarpone cheese in Manila. In my reply I linked a website that teaches how to make mascarpone with heavy cream and tartaric acid. That gave me the bright idea of looking for the recipe for making kesong puti online. The ones I remember being peddled by ambulant hawkers were milky white, soft, slightly salty, and wrapped in banana leaves. I haven't had them since we left the Philippines in 1988 and I was craving for it so badly all of a sudden. I found this which is rather vague and of little help with the amount of ingredients. I borrowed a cheese making book from the library and tried the paneer and farmer's cheese which require no special ingredients, you only need milk (not ultra pasteurized), lemon juice or vinegar, a heat-proof spatula, and a large pot. I combined both recipes using whole milk then soaked the sliced cheese in the salt, water & vinegar bath from the Filipino recipe and voila - kesong puti that is so soft and tasty and almost like the real thing. If I had used carabao (water buffalo) milk, the cheese would have been authentic Filipino kesong puti. Buffalo milk is actually available in Vermont, I think, but the milk is being sold exclusively to mozzarella cheese manufacturers here in the US. BTW, in Italy mozzarella is made from water buffalo milk.

Kesong Puti (Fresh White Cheese)
1 gallon whole milk or a combination of whole and reconstituted instant non-fat dry milk
¼ C white or apple cider vinegar
2 C hot water (optional)

Salt bath
4 cups water
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup salt (add more for saltier cheese)
  1. In a large pot, heat milk to a rolling (gentle) boil, stirring often to avoid burning the bottom.
  2. Drizzle the vinegar, cook for 15 seconds while stirring.
  3. Turn off heat and continue stirring until curds form (whey should be clear and not milky). For softer cheese, stir in hot water now.
  4. Once you obtain clear separation of curds and whey, let set for 10 minutes.
  5. When the curds have settled below the whey, ladle the curds onto the muslin lined colander. Tie corners into a knot and hold the bag under running lukewarm water to wash off the vinegar. Gently twist the top of the muslin to squeeze out more whey.
  6. Shape the cheese in the muslin into a 2½-inch thick log, return to the colander and place a bowl of water or a 5-lb weight on top for 20 minutes.
  7. Unwrap cheese, cut into ½-inch slices and let soak in the salt bath for 15 minutes.
  8. Store in refrigerator with a little of the salt bath. Will keep for 2 weeks.
Kesong Puti


Sidney said...

Shame on me... I never tried "Kesong puti" yet.

oggi said...

sidney, from what I have read lately, kesong puti are now available in any supermarkets in Metro Manila. It's never too late to try these tasty Filipino cheese.:D

christine said...

Oggi, you never cease to amaze me. Only you would think of making her own kesong puti, ang galing mo talaga! :)

Such a timely post this is too. I just came back from a weekend in Laguna and bought myself a load of kesong puti, yogurt, chocolate milk and honey. How do you eat your kesong puti?

oggi said...

Christine, kesong puti from UP Los Baños, Laguna? They are the best, waaah, I want those!!

We nibbled on it as a snack or in very hot pandesal.

Jennifer said...

I'm wondering how this cheese is typically eaten? With bread? Crackers? I'm bringing this to a Filipino dinner party and not sure how to make it more 'complete'. Please help!


Anonymous said...

bkit di namuo yung keso ko?nagkadurohdurog...but its tastes good

oggi said...

A, I have no idea. However, cut the amount of vinegar in half, it might help making it softer. Weight down the cheese 10 minutes longer. Hope that helps. Let me know if it works.:)

Mark said...

thank you much- I was visiting my family in the Phlippines a month ago and when we were driving around Tagaytay I kept seeing signs for it. I have read about it and was always interested to try it. We never bought any there- we kept seeing kesong puti signs everywhere and we kept thinking, "oh there is another one on the road, we'll stop there"- well we kept going and we ended up back in Manila, without cheese! so my last day there, my sister and I ate at Ebun and I had kesong puti salad- yummmy! I tried the recipe, but I think I need more practice. Its good, but I was more excited to make something Filipino that most Filipinos haven't even tried let alone heard of. Maraming Salamaat!

Anonymous said...

Is there anything else I can do with the leftover whey instead of just throwing it away or feeding it to animals? I mean, are there other foods that I can cook or make with it?

oggi said...

Mark, you're welcome. And sorry for the late reply:)

Anonymous, I sometimes make mysost with the whey although it takes forever to cook. But I love the salty, acidic, and sweetish flavor of this unusual cheese.

Or you can turn it into powder form to add to yogurt, fruits, and protein mixes. This can be as difficult and time-consuming as the mysost.
How to make whey powder:
Strain and pour the whey into a pot and slowly bring it to a gentle boil over low heat. Stir the whey continuously as it reduces until it becomes brown and clumpy. Pour the clumpy mixture onto a piece of wax or parchment on a cookie sheet and spread it into a thin layer.
Allow the mixture to cool. It will harden at this point and become brittle. Break it off in pieces and store them in a container covered with cheesecloth until the pieces turn pale (this could take a week or more). Once it turns pale, it's ready to make powder. Break off small pieces of it and crush it with a mortar and pestle or finely grind it in a coffee or spice grinder. The protein powder will have little to no flavor, so mix it with fruit juices or flavorful extracts to create tasty flavors.

And the simplest is to substitute it for water when baking bread.

Anonymous said...

eshh.. im a second year highschool student and this is my project for fermentation. first of all i dont know what is kesong puti i never seen one or taste one ( how shame of me )so i researche about this and found this. i tried it here but i just dont know what is wrong. it is always too dry and hard for it to be mold. so i add more milk and the result is it is too wet first but when i started molding it becames dry AGAIN.. i try and try but the same result. Why? so i just decided to just be it and sprinkle milk and water for it too stick and tightly wrap into a foil! :) i dont kno if it is right but for the sake of passing...

Anonymous said...

im the second year again.. ive got a question.. how many pieces or grams can you make in a liter of milk.. REALLY

oggi said...


It should be crumbly at first, similar to cottage cheese. After draining the whey and weighted down it should form into a DRY but softish cheese that you should be able to slice neatly. A liter of milk will yield very little cheese. I can't tell exactly how many pieces or the final weight though...maybe less than half a pound. Hope you get a passing mark.

Anonymous said...

I bet she didnt pass.

oggi said...


Anonymous said...

Can you use milk that is close to being spoiled or "panis" to make kesong puti? It just the same process as fermentation, right?

oggi said...

I had made cheese with milk that's a few days past its expiry date and the cheese turned up okay. So, that's a yes as long as the milk is not totally panis yet.:)

Anonymous said...

hi, oggi. i have a question: when you say whole milk, do you mean liquid or powdered? i know you said that for the reconstituted non-fat milk, it's dry. thanks for your kind response. rachel

oggi said...


Hi Rachel,
Yes, liquid, but you can also use whole dry milk like Klim or Nido if that's what you have for a better tasting and creamier keso.

Anonymous said...

thanks, oggi. i made it last night. it turned out pretty good, but i had to simmer for a long time & add a little more vinegar for the curds to form. BTW, do you usually discard the whey, or do you use it for other purposes? i heard whey protein is actually good for you, but not sure what to make of the liquid to get its benefits. i might research online for that. anyhow, thanks for this recipe, & would look into your other recipes soon. God bless!

oggi said...


Thanks and you're welcome.:)

I use some of the whey for breads, waffles, and pancakes.

gerardmeg said...

Hi! You're very good! I also have a question, if I use dry milk, do I add water to that to make 1 gallon? How much of the dry milk do I put in? Thanks! --Ging

Oggi said...

Thanks. Yes, just add water to dry milk and stir well; follow the measurement on the dry milk container.

ZenZero said...

is white or apple cider vinegar available in any local supermarkets? if not where can i buy one? need help,, i want to try making kesong puti!, thanks,

Oggi said...

Yes, any grocery store sells both. I recommend using apple cider vinegar.

Elyn said...

Hello there. :)
Can I ask if this recipe is the same recipe they used in UPLB? :)

Oggi said...

No. I have no idea how UPLB makes kesong puti but probably uses a very similar if not the same method.

Anonymous said...

Mga sangkap:
3 litro gatas
1/2 tasang suka
1/2 tasang asin (tinunaw sa tubig)
Paraan ng pagluto:
Iluto ang gatas sa 85 C hangang medyo bumubula sa gilid ng
Ilagay ang suka
Alisin ang kalahati ng dilaw na likido (whey)
Ilagay ang tinunaw na asin
Patagalin ng 5 minuto at
Ilagay sa hulmahan. Tapos!

Anonymous said...

Try it and it is delicious!

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