Cotija cheese is a Mexican hard cheese good for grating. It is like Queso Añejo, but Añejo is softer and less crumbly, and has a milder flavour. The taste of Cotija cheese has the same kind of salty, sharp tang as does Pecorino Romano.
Cotija cheese is made from whole cow milk and/or goat’s milk. The milk is either boiled at 93 C (199 F), or heated for half an hour to 68 C (154 F). It is then cooled down to 35 C (95 F), and starter bacteria is added, along with annatto for colouring.
Rennet is then added and allowed to work at curdling the cheese for about 40 minutes. Then the curd is cut very small, and let set for the whey to drain off. The curds are then salted, moulded into rounds and pressed. It is aged anywhere from 3 months to 1 year.
The cheese wheels range in size from 11 to 30 kg (24 to 66 pounds).
The cheese comes out with a hard rind. Inside the cheese is ivory-coloured and crumbly with small holes.
Does not melt well. Good for grating and sprinkling over dishes.
Fat content of 45%
Cotija cheese originated in Mexico in the State of Michoacán in the city of Cotija (renamed to Cotija de la Paz in 1896).
Cotija is pronounced “Ko TEE ha”