Pandesitos with Fried Kesong Puti


The other goodies that I took home from the market last Saturday included some kesong puti (carabao’s milk cheese) and a couple of bags of “pandesitos” or tiny little pan de sals that were just over an inch long. I wrote about quesong puti several years ago, post here, and I have always been curious why we haven’t been able to develop this delicacy some more… making it more consistent, readily available, tasty, etc. It always seems to remain a cottage industry… though many have tried to commercialize it. It is a fresh cheese, prone to spoilage, so that must be a major factor that hinders its development…


Mrs. MM, The Teen and I can wolf down two portions of white cheese or kesong puti, sliced and fried, and sandwiched in small pan de sals, in a flash. I think PHP100 worth of cheese (each portion in the photo above at PHP50) and 30 tiny pan de sals disappeared in less than a few minutes at breakfast yesterday… When I was a kid, my parents, and those of other friends, seemed to think that one had to fry the white cheese to kill any potential cooties, but actually, the frying enhances the saltiness of the cheese, that can seem a bit bland otherwise. That’s how we still enjoy the cheese today. Simple, classic, basic ingredients that hit the spot every single time we have them…


69 Responses

  1. This is growing up food (here in Cebu) for me too. I remember enjoying this with my grandmothers home made mango jam.

    To make quesong puti all one needs is a gallon of fresh whole milk (not UHT) and one-fourth cup vinegar.

  2. looks great. i wonder how a kesong puti would react to the heat of a panini press. foccacia, kesong puti, sweet sundried tomatoes. . .

  3. Wonderful, delicious “keseo” from Cebu, one of my favorites! Whenever I go home, always make it a point to buy some in Carbon to take back to Leyte. Replace banana leaf wrapping with plastic wrap, submerge in water and refrigerate. It keeps for several days. When there’s extra, I freeze them, without the water of course, thaw when needed and just microwave it for a few seconds to soften.
    You are right there, pan de sal is the perfect match!
    To Artisan Choco latier, is that all, no rennet needed? So simple for such a wonderful cheese. Thanks!

  4. I’m salivating here….even though I just came back from a dinner. I wonder if you can make your own kesong puti. hmmm…I’m sure a Marketman version will be exciting and benefial to everyone.

  5. I fry kesong puti in Queensland butter and using my panini maker, make an adobo sandwich with kesong puti and tomatoes. :)

  6. Quesong Puti….Heat the milk to 200F (Do not boil or it will have a cooked flavor), stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Slowly add the vinegar (a little at a time) until the curd separates from the whey. Ladle the curd into a colander lined with a muslin cloth or large unbleached paper coffee filter to drain until the cheese reached the desired consistency.

  7. Thank you Artisan for that Kesong Puti recipe….I just LOVE this BLOG to death!!!!…Maraming Salamt po, MM!!!…After Church today, I will buy FRESH ORGANIC MILK…for the vinegar, Artisan…distilled, Datu Puti?

    Hey Onie, Pinky, Keiko, ProteinShake, Angela (from somewhere near UBC?)…once I have Artisan’s Kesong Puti done, I will make Bibingka with salted eggs and kesong Puti, baby Cuchinta, baby puto ube, Puto Bumbong and Ensaymadas, Tibok Tibok… guys supply the Chai tea and locale…I would love to have you over BUT it’s taking the hubby FOREVER to finish the renos…OH,OH,…hey guys, are you interested in having a KAKANIN exchange for Christmas? ….it’s like the COOKIE EXCHANGE here that I participate in PoCo and Vancouver and Richmond….any takers? I know that CWID, Manok (?), and some others are in Vancouver, too.

  8. Fabian, kesong puti is so good in paninis. I’ve done it with pesto and tomatoes, winner. MM, I know the stall you bought from and it’s always nice and fresh. Did make a mistake of waiting a bit too long the last time and gave myself a tummyache. There must be a way to “keep” this cheese longer than two days…

  9. YUM!!! this just took me straight back to memories of the fried kesong puti my lolo and lola who lived in UPLB used to dish up for the grandchildren for merienda during our weekend visits. I LOVE your blog. It not only brings back old favorites, but also gives me new ones to discover :)

  10. that’s right artisan…that’s how my mom makes kesong puti…a liter of fresh carabao milk, vinegar and a pinch of salt…

  11. YU”MM”Y!!! Thank you Artisan for the easy kesong puti recipe. I was about to ask if you add salt but Kongwi answered the question. Thanks, guys!!

  12. That’s a great way of preparing quesong puti i’ll definitely try this :-) My sister and i love anything that’s wrapped with banana leaf. I just dont know why the one’s available at the supermarket doesn’t taste good. I hope you can also feature TAMALES (another food wrapped in banana leaves) however, i prefer the tamales from Bulacan.

  13. Kesong Puti, also called farmer’s cheese, is the most basic of all cheeses. Using vinegar sometimes leaves a vinegary taste so I rinse the curds with water or just use lemon or calamansi juice instead.

  14. I prefer to use distilled vinegar (acidic fruits like lemon or kalamansi is ok too). You can add salt (non-iodized sea or kosher salt) to improve the taste or in my case, I add the salt to my brine which I use to rinse the cheese.

  15. I love quesong puti with pan de sal and thick hot chocolate. In Finland they have this fried cheese called ‘squeaky cheese.’ It reminds me of a less salty, firmer quesong puti.

  16. betty q., I am amazed at your energy and skills in the kitchen. The kakanin list you posted for the suman topic astounded me! And here you are trying to make the perfect puto and quesong puti. I wish you much success in all your experiments as you are so generous in sharing your successes with us. =) Makes me want to be your neighbour, haha! Goodluck!

  17. wow, this is part of my manila memories. we’d spend long vacations in manila, and my grandmother always had these mini pan de sals called “baliuag pan de sal” topped with kesong puti, and washed down with sarsi. none of these components was available in davao then, so this combination was something we looked forward to every vacation.

    my sister and cousins and i could finish up bags and bags of this bread. sometimes, we’d dip the plain baliuags in maggi seasoning :-)

  18. When we were kids, we used to buy kesong puti from UP Los Baños. I remember the cheese to be somewhat salty and a bit tangy, which was delicious when fried in butter. Most quesong puti sold these days are bland and don’t seem to melt when fried. They’re firmer in texture than I remember. Do they add flour or some starch in it?

  19. Thank you, Artisan Chocolatier, for the kesong puti recipe. I didn’t know it was that easy and I will definitely try making it. We had kesong puti for breakfast this morning, I have a wonderful suki from Bulacan at the Lung Center Sunday market. We eat it on rye bread with a slice of tomato and a small drop of pesto. Yum!

  20. I was at the Lung Center market yesterday and bought a bag of whole wheat pandesitos, gave it to my mom along with her favorite ginataan. We had thinly sliced chinese ham, queso de bola and the toasted pandesitos for lunch. Felt a bit like Christmas morning, all that was missing was hot chocolate made with carabao milk.

  21. Artisan chocolatier and kongwi, do we have to put the milk-vinegar-salt mixture in a warm or dark place? Or do we just let it stand at room temp? How long do we wait for the cheese to form?

  22. I googled Kesons Puti or Fresh Cheese, the one Artisan Chocolatier posted is just like Paneer the Indian Version of our keseo. I will really try this recipe. Does it have to be carabao or goat’s milk or will whole milk do?

  23. With the China milk scare, I’m kinda wary of buying kesong puti from the streets nowadays. What if the milk they’re using is melamine tainted? Or am I just being silly?

  24. Ana, Enjoy life like there is no yesterday :)….It will take a lot of milk for your kidney to be affected by a melamine tainted milk. The rule is to eat everything in moderation ;)

  25. Ana, I think the melamine was predominantly added to powdered milk. I suspect most locally artisanally manufactured kesong puti is made from carabao’s milk…

  26. Kesong Puti is traditionally made with Fresh Whole Carabao Milk. But one can also use Fresh Whole Cows milk.

  27. MarketFan, Room temperature is fine. After the desired consistency is reached (30 minutes to an hour), remove from muslin cloth, rinse with brine solution, transfer to clean container and refrigerate.

    The keso should be good in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, but from experience, does not make it pass 2 days ;-)

    The keso can be eaten immediately or aged overnight to improve the taste.

  28. When I was growing up in Cebu, there was this lady who used to deliver kesong puti at Club Filipino. My Lolo used to buy 15 of them wrapped in Banana leaves. We used to eat it as is or wrapped in lumpia wrapper and deep fried!!! YUM!!!! I miss Cebu!!!

  29. Why do you guys keep calling it “carabao” nobody else does?
    It sounds retarded.
    Everybody calls it Buffalo or Water Buffalo to be exact. Really?
    Do you know of any other country calling it “carabao”? Yeah “Carabao” English sounds bad also, so I’d settle for Water Buffalo English hehehehe, anyways yummmmm, Water Buffalo Cheese is hella good!

  30. I just made Artisan’s Kesong Puti…Now I know why he said to use 1 GALLON of milk. I made it using 3/4 litre homogenized milk and also using Avalon fresh milk (comes in a glass bottle)…Whoa, what a difference in taste! Though it yielded only enough cheese (from both milk) for maybe 5 pan de sals, I will make it using 2 gallons of Avalon organic fresh milk….soooo sarap!!!

    For those of you ladies here in B.C. and would like to make Artisan’s Kesong Puti, use the Avalon milk …in dairy section of NATURAL FOODS in grocery stores. It comes in those heavy duty glass bottles…costs a bit more than homogenized milk but worth it!!!…make sure you use the STANDARD milk…cream floating on top!!!

    Lava Bien: I think in Guam, they call it carabao as well. In Malaysia, they call it Kerbau (according to Mr. Wiki). I agree with you that Water Buffalo Cheese is sooooooo good esp. the bocconcini.

    Did you ladies, here in B.C., there is a local dairy farmer in Courtney, B.C. who has a herd of Danish Water Buffalo and they make Water BUffalo Bocconcini? I forgot the name of the Farm but you can just google it! I already asked a few of the natural food stores if they can bring in the Fresh Carabao’s milk. So far no luck, I think the farmer only has a few carabaos so he saves the milk for his cheeses…

  31. Lava Bien, I am not sure where your objection or aversion to the name or term “carabao” comes from… And odd you would refer to it as being “retarded” and so sure that EVERYONE else refers to it as a “water buffalo”. Our carabao is in fact a type of water buffalo, in the same way that our other animals such as deer (usa) or mousedeer are related to the broader grouping of deer from around the world. But carabaos are recognized, according to some basic googling, as a SUBSPECIES of water buffalo, native to the Philippines and Southeast Asia, and as such having a separate name doesn’t seem terribly offensive. Besides, the root word for kalabaw or Carabao, probably stems from the Malay term “kerbau” for the same/similar beast of burden. And as for usage, all you need to do is look up “Philippine Carabao Center” that focuses on all things carabao… I mean, it ISN’T named the “Philippine Water Buffalo Center” and on a dumber and lighter note, they don’t yet say “Water Buffalo Grass” in lieu of “Carabao Grass” as opposed to the more snooty “Bermuda.” While the rest of the world may refer to a similar animal as a Water Buffalo, I am certain there are other local names that would apply as well. A similar argument can be used on the endangered “Tamaraw” which is a Mindoro dwarf buffalo which is native to that island and NOT a subspecies of the carabao, according to that link. Kalabaw and Carabao has been in popular use for several hundred years, and is in textbooks, literature, the press, etc. I don’t see what the big deal is at all. And I certainly wouldn’t describe it as being retarded. Would you then say it is retarded to call a “key lime” as such since it probably originated in this part of the world (Philippines, Indochina, Malaya) and is better known here as a dayap or a jeruk _____ of some sort? Which term should prevail, the english one in common use in a country that speaks english, or the original term in a native language, from the part of the world that the food item is first believed to have originated??? If curious, follow this link to a site that lists several english names for the asian water buffalo: arni, Carabao, Indian buffalo, among others. And finally, in our OXFORD AMERICAN DICTIONARY of english words, the following entry is self explanatory – “ca-ra-ba-o (kahr-a-bah-oh) n. (pl. -baos) (in the Philippines) a water buffalo”. So if the Oxford American Dictionary lists it as a word, I don’t see how it can be retarded in the least… :) You can even use it in a game of scrabble with no hesitation whatsoever.

  32. MM, nothing like dumping a truckload of knowledge and information to quash ignorance. You were verging on a rant (lol) but well said, as usual. Besides, someone needs a lesson in PC. Last I checked, “retarded” was a more offensive word than “carabao”.

  33. I had some haloumi last weekend and it just reminded me of kesong puti. They served it fried in butter (I think) and had a wedge of lemon on the side. Is haloumi also made the same way?

  34. Hmmmm….I’m kinda craving for fried kesong puti…..been in cebu for 7 months but I don’t know where I can Buy kesong puti or keseo…I got to experience having kesong puti whenever I’m in bulacan for a short vacation…anybody in Cebu that can tell me where I can buy Keseo?

  35. Lava Bien, we call it “carabao” because we are from the Philippines and that’s how we call our water buffalo here. i agree with MM and see no problem with calling it as such. geez, i don’t understand if why you take time to be bothered by the name, you call your “water buffalo” as is and let our “carabao” be.

  36. My husband adores cheese, any variety. Filipino Kesong Puti like Cypriot Halloumi, is also best slightly fried. Thanks to Artisan Chocolatier for sharing his recipe and to fellow food lovers for adding dribs and drabs of information on how to perfect the controversial Carabao cheese recipe.

  37. thanks, MM, for saying what I would have wanted to say to Lava Bien, because i didn’t know how to say it myself. I’d never call anything or anybody retarded, but i’d insist on calling a carabao a carabao.

  38. Kesong puti is great. I learned to make mine by accident, admittedly. I try to make some, if not yoghourt, everytime the old manong delivers fresh carabao’s milk. But the best kesong puti I have ever tasted–and I have tried LOOOOOOOOOTTs–is the “queseo” from Samar.

    Any suggestions on how to best use the resulting whey?

  39. DADD-F, you can use the whey to make ricotta or mysost (a brown caramelized type of cheese).

  40. My sentiments exactly Millet, cindz and MM!!!

    Pistachio, that sounds great…but will you please tell me how to make those??? Same procedure???? The brown caramelized cheese is intriguing. Thanks!!

  41. What to do with whey?…how about a very refreshing and healthy drink….Try using it as water to kalamansi, lime, lemon or even adding powdered drinks like tang, 8o’clock..Enjoy.

  42. You are sooo right is indeed healthy! My son and brother-in-law drinks it before working out adding it to juice powders… Starbuck’s here also has this smoothie…Orange Mango Banana smoothie made with crushed ice and WHEY powder. …it is very, very good!!!

  43. Artisan, this is the recipe for making ricotta cheese. This is just the carabao milk version. Every one can make ricotta at home following your recipe.

  44. DADD-F, i used to buy the “queseo” at the Calbayog airport-they’re usually sold as small discs in plastic bags, floating in the whey. but they’ve become too salty, all i can taste is the salt. last time i bought them (about three years ago), it felt like i was eating the whites of salted eggs, and nobody could eat any more. i guess the queseo makers want to keep them it “fresh” longer, so they salt it as if their lives depended on it (well, yes..maybe).

  45. Thanks MM,
    My bad, didn’t mean to say it’s retarded, it just sounds like it is (definitely you’re not retarded MM – I’m a fan dude).
    From Kalabaw to Carabao sounds like a trying hard made up English of the Tagalog word.
    Sure in the Philippines you guys call it “Carabao”, but we’re global Filipinos remember? So I just want to educate our Filipino people to have the knowledge of switching the words “water buffalo” and “carabao” when they talk to English speaking world (without looking at the Oxford American Dictionary – other dictionaries define Filipina in a not so favorable way so I don’t fully trust them dictionary)

    I’ve always called it Kalabaw and when I talk to a westerner I say Water Buffalo. Filipino kids who were born or grew up outside the Philippines especially in the UK, Spain, Italy etc., would agree with me.

    C’mon MM, would you really keep on saying “Carabao” when you talk to your high end friends (including non-Filipinos)while you’re visiting Manhattan or say London? I doubt that.


  46. Lava Bien, it doesn’t come up often while on holidays in New York or London, but if I did have to refer to it, I do use the term “carabao” and always have. And for a generation of Americans who happened to grow up here in the 1950’s and 1960’s and who have returned to the U.S. to live, and who we remain in contact with, they too use the term carabao… some who were lucky enough to take home an Amorsolo or two might explain the pastoral scene to friends as having a “carabao” and if further explanation is required, say a “beast of burden” or “water buffalo.” As I said above, you are of course free to call it whatever you want, but I don’t get your certainty that it shouldn’t be referred to as a carabao. I mean, do you go around to your high brow friends in Ulaan Bator or Budapest and say I like to sprinkle my “glass noodle with pork and vegetable dish” with “calamondin” rather than saying, “I sprinkle kalamansi on my pancit”??? You may have an odd association with Carabao as being an inappropriate word, or descriptive of something negative, I simply DON’T. And I have NEVER heard or used the term “Carabao English”…

    For folks who left messages after the comment above, sorry, I deleted them to keep from igniting a pretty dopey issue… :) Now, I must find those lovely carabao horn and mother of pearl utensils so that I can use them to serve up some leche flan made with carabao’s milk, while I wonder about the size of the carabao from which the whole carabao horn hanging on the wall must have come from… Oh, but hurry, because Amazing Race Asia has started and they have hit Manila, rushed out to Laguna, and a roadblock includes all contestants plowing a rice field, guiding a CARABAO…

  47. Lava Bien, you sure grew up outside of the Philippines, my kids do to, but i sure teach my kids not to use coloquial words as “that sounds retarded” cause that has some connotations that means something really bad will happen to you if you say that infront of me. Even the term “my bad” I hear those words from my kids and I keep telling them, that is “real bad” English and to refrain them from saying it. So before even correcting any real word that’s been used by my ancestors, you better look at yourself first and see where the words you speak came from.

  48. Lava Bien
    Carabao is also the Philippines’ National Animal, so saying carabao as “sounding retarded” is really saying pinoy’s choice of a national animal is retarded? You better think twice…

  49. Kesong Puti is traditionally made with Carabao Milk. While Ricotta is traditionally made by reheating the whey after making cheese from ewe’s milk.

    But one can make both Kesong Puti and Ricotta using whole cows milk. Or you can also use the whole milk whey (after you make the kesong puti) to make whole-milk recotta.

    Here’s how to make the ricotta from no more than 3 hours old whey.

    Heat the whey in a pot until foam appears (appears just before it boils)
    Turn off heat and let whey set for 5 minutes
    Carefully skim off foam and transfer the whey in a butter muslin (or paper coffee filter) lined colander
    Let drain for 15-20 minutes, then refrigerate.

  50. Lava Bien, I believe MM created this site to share his passion for foods and for the rest to enjoy and do the same also. So let’s enjoy every minute of it and forget about grammar, proper english or whatever you may want to call it. If you have doubt, question or suggestion try to write it in a nice way and we will definetely easily understand your point. Cheers !

  51. In the native tounge from my mother’s motherland where the Father of the Filipino Language hails, I enjoyed the most delicious “gatas ng kalabaw” and “kesong puti”.

    Thanks tatay Ted, I do listen to my elders still. Yeah, here the “r” word just means funny in a non-offensive stupid way and they do use “my bad” in the corporate world (have you watched Sports Channel lately), I worked for Siemens IT for a few years.

    MM, much respect and love to you bro. You do your homework very well, at least you’re not one of those “Google Scholars” who wouldn’t know a lot without their computer on their side.

    Language do change, as I’ve noticed from the movies ( I love old movies and 50’s and 60’s music, thanks to my dad)much like our food. Filipinos used to be ashamed of eating bagoong around westerners but nowadays we could. Why should we be ashamed? It’s hella good!

  52. Artisan, I tried your kesong puti this morning on a 2L pasturized milk and it’s really amazing when the kesong puti start to form. I was like a child who just found a new toy :). I did fry it on olive oil with a dash of salt and I was able to down 4 pcs of pandesal this morning. I’m keeping it for a day and see if I can achieve the sourness and saltiness that I desire. This is definetely a regular weekend breakfast for us. I failed on the ricota maybe because I use it as a brine for the kesong puti. I’ll try the ricotta next time…Thank you….

  53. Vennisjean,

    go to Redemptorist church weds and sundays there’s a lady who sells keseo beside across the church (STC side. tell her to give you the “tab-ang” one, the other kind is too salty

  54. Buffalo (not carabao) milk also produces mozzarella! So kesong puti should deffinitely be good with panini, foccacia and maybe even pizza. To give it an extra Filipino “nooveau cuisine” twist, try combining it with shredded tinapa and some sauteed red onions. Guaranteed to be tasty!

  55. friends, where can i buy kesong puti in the South area? I live in Paranaque. Thanks in advance!

  56. poligals,
    you can buy kesong puti in festival mall it’s made from fresh cow’s milk (Holly’s) it came in a 200grams pack and quite affordable.In pasig area you can call distributer’s no. 6714188

  57. for those who wants to order kesong puti.We are located in Pandi,Bulacan. Mozaretos Kesong puti. contact person: Aling Elvie. contact number is 09065554642. place your order now….freshly made from Bulacan using fresh Carabao’s milk and wrapped in banana leaves..
    A good kesong puti have a fresh taste and It should be white in color with no particular odor.



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