June 21, 2010 10:00 PM
Oaxaca cheese is a mild tasting, gently salty, stringy white cheese with a deliciously chewy, full and filling bite. It is made in the same way as Mozzarella cheese. In fact, they taste very similar! Once the curds are formed, they are heated in water, stirred, and heated in water again. Throughout the process, as they are heated and stirred, they are made into very long threads that are pulled once and then again, until the desired consistency is achieved. Then the long threads are wrapped into balls (continue for more information and photos).
In Mexico, and recently in some places abroad as well, you can find freshly made Oaxaca cheese, as it is usually found in small town and open air markets. You can also find commercially processed Oaxaca cheese in grocery stores, but the flavor and consistency changes considerably from the fresh ones.
The difference of fresh and non fresh, can be compared to the contrast between an excellent quality artisanal fresh Mozzarella cheese and a general brand, plant processed, grocery store Mozzarella.
Oaxaca cheese tends to be eaten, aside from on its own in chunks, in quesadillas and "queso fundido" or melted cheese. But it is very accommodating and can be used in many other ways: soups, casseroles, salads, to name some.