Brazilian Cheese Spread is Delicious and Easy to Make
Requeijao is a famous cheese spread in Brazil similar to American cream cheese. Like cream cheese, it has a wide variety of applications, from sweet to savory. It is commonly used in pasta sauces, for example, or spread on top of crusty french bread for an afternoon snack.
Requeijo originated in Minas Girais, a state in Brazil that continues to be the highest producer of milk in the country. In 2015, it is estimated that the state produced over 9 billion liters of milk! Unsurprisingly, many other famous Brazilian milk and cheese dishes have their roots in Minas Girais, including the ubiquitous pão de queijo.
While requeijao is likened in taste to cream cheese, the name is actually Portuguese for “ricotta.” In fact, many homemade recipes for requeijo call for some amount of ricotta.
The texture of requeijao, however, is unlike either cream cheese or ricotta. It is generally much softer, sometimes even approaching a liquid-like state. In this way, it might be compared to a creme fraiche or thinner sour cream.
Whatever you compare it to, it is distinctly Brazilian and very delicious. Requeijao is sold in stores and online in a signature pot with a plastic lid. Brazilians eat so much of it that you can find loads of sites dedicated to reusing requeijao pots in craft or DIY projects around the house.
Luckily, you can avoid a back-log of plastic requeijao containers by making your own Brazilian cream cheese at home. It is extremely simple to make and will keep for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.
Requeijão Cremoso vs. Requeijão de Corte
Today we are making requeijao cremoso, the creamy spread that cannot be sliced like a hardened cheese.There is another dish in Brazil called requeijao de corte. This is a regional cheese that is mild, yellow in color, and hard enough to cut into slices.
Questions About Making Brazilian Cream Cheese at Home
Do I have to use whole milk?
No, you can substitute 2 percent milk in place of whole milk. It is not recommended that you use anything leaner than that, though, or you will have a hard time attaining the desired consistency.
What if I don’t have lemon juice?
You can substitute the lemon juice in this recipe for another mild acid, like white vinegar.
Do I have to add parmesan and mozzarella?
No, the addition of these cheeses is completely optional. If you choose to omit them, you will not need as much liquid milk when you blend the ingredients, and you may want to add some additional salt.
Can I freeze Brazilian cream cheese?
Unfortunately, this recipe does not freeze well. The mixture tends to separate or develop a granular texture.
Homemade Cream Cheese Recipe (Requeijao from Brazil)
7.5 cups (60 oz) whole milk
½ cups heavy cream
2 oz lemon juice or vinegar
½ tsp salt
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1.5 tablespoons butter
- In a large pot, bring milk to a boil. Remove from heat and add vinegar or lemon juice. Stir until curds begin to form.
- Line a colander with cheese cloth and place over a large bowl. Ladle the curds into the colander and press to strain any excess liquid. Rinse curds with cold water to remove any additional vinegar or lemon juice.
- Squeeze curds in cheese cloth to remove as much liquid as possible.
- Place curds in a blender with salt, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, butter, and half of the whipping cream. Blend until smooth, adding more heavy cream as needed to attain a smooth, spreadable texture. It should be fairly runny (it will thicken as it cools).
- Pour cheese mixture into a clean, sealable container.
- Refrigerate for four hours or overnight before using. Store in the fridge for up to 10 days.
How to Eat Requeijao
There really is no limit on what you can pair with your Brazilian cream cheese. It can be used as a substitute in any recipe that calls for ricotta, as well as a filling for sandwiches, Brazilian cheese bread, and crepes. It makes a delicious sauce for pasta, either mixed with tomato sauce or on its own in macaroni and cheese.