Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Cheesemaking Adventures: Brunost (Scandinavian Brown Cheese)

So, I have alot of whey. I make queso blanco at least once a week, and am venturing into other cheesemaking adventures. I use it in bread, and to cook grains and beans, etc, and STILL have alot of whey. So I decided to try this unusual recipe for a scandinavian type of "brown cheese", made by essentially boiling your leftover whey (with a bit of milk and cream added, if you like) to make a thick, carmelized sort of whey-cheese. 

I used about a gallon of whey, and added 2 cups each whole milk and cream, as recommended by this recipe.

Here is the whey reduced to about half. It is starting to get darker.

Here it is reduced to about one fourth. Getting very dark,and thick, and starting to smell caramel-ey.

This is where I stopped it. It was quite thick and dark and I had to stir it constantly. Until this point, I mostly just let the mixture bubble away on medium heat on the stove, just stirring every now and again as I wandered through the kitchen. Not exactly a high-maintenance project.

I did notice at this point that the cheese was lookinga little grainy. I poured it into a shallow pan and took it outside (it's very cold here right now, so I figured that would cool it off quickly) and set it on a cold glass table and stirred until it was cool. The grainyness does not detract from it's taste, but I'd much prefer a smooth cheese.

Now, the taste. It is REALLY interesting and super hard to describe. I like it VERY much. It's both salty and sweet, with caramel overtones. I think it would go well with both sweet and savory dishes. I am going to do alot of experimentation with this fun cheese to see how I like to serve and eat it. I am most intrigued by the idea of serving it on waffles, that sounds really good to me!

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Blogger Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Interesting! How long did you boil it? We wind up with a lot of whey here too.

11:08 AM  
Blogger clink said...

Let me know what you think. I remember tasting this cheese during a field trip in college. The best I can describe it is a caramel taste.

Unfortunately, I was very young then and cheese wasn't cheese unless it was a Nauvoo Blue or a Swiss. And I thought I was thinking out of the box (Velveeta!) then.

2:25 PM  
Blogger BlueGate said...

Very cool, I've never heard of it, but sounds wonderful! Have you tried making ricotta with your whey yet? That was one of our favorites, spread on homemade bread...yum!

3:13 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

Oh! I think it is quite clear that you should bring some of this to the next meeting with your spinning guild. In case there is anyone who might want to try it, of course, if you see what I mean...

6:55 PM  
Blogger Janiece said...

Yum! I'll bet you could fit some in a padded envelope...

8:54 PM  
Blogger girlwithasword said...

Deborah - I think it took maybe 3 or 3 1/2 hours total. I was expecting it to take longer. I had it on medium, enough to boil but low enough not to scorch.

Jill, I do make ricotta with the whey! But I can't do it with the whey from queso blanco. and there's still whey AFTER you make ricotta. Always more whey!!

Claire, duly noted :) I will experiment with the best way to serve it!

And as a follow up, I made some more yesterday (I STILL had whey to use), but didn't have any milk or cream to add. The final result is nowhere NEAR as nice, much tangier and missing the lovely caramel note. I thing for sure adding some milk and cream is a MUST. The recipe on Fankhauser's page didn't mention adding cream or milk, but I absolutely will from now on.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

I found a similar recipe in "Home Cheese Making," (called mysost or gjetost) and she says to put the mixture in a blender once it starts to thicken, and that will take care of the graininess. She also says, "When the mixture approaches a fudgelike consistency, place the pot in a sink full of cold water and stir continuously until it is cool enough to be poured into molds (traditionally rectangular). If they whey is not stirred, the cheese may become grainy." I want to try this when I can have my windows open; otherwise, I can't imagine how humid it would get in here, since we don't have any type of climate control system that takes moisture out of the air. Thanks for sharing! I never would have tried this without reading your post.

10:41 AM  
Blogger girlwithasword said...

sooooo...Deborah, when do you blender it? I can't imagine putting it in the blender when it's towards the end, it's pretty thick.... it's a good idea, I'm just trying to figure out how it all works. It did make my house super steamy! I did stir it until cool (I took it outside and set in the snow, and stirred and stirred), but still got the grainyness. Hmmm. have to experiemnt with this! i'm sure it can be done :)

11:11 PM  
Blogger Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

The more cheese I make, the more I've come to the conclusion that Ricky Carroll's book is lacking. She just says to use the blender when it "starts" to thicken, so that's pretty early in the process, I guess? I will have to blog about this when I try it.

8:33 AM  
Blogger girlwithasword said...

Yeah, I mean...it STARTS to thicken immediately - that's the whole point, to boil it waaaaay down. You're turning 1+ gallon of liquid into maybe 16 oz. of cheesy stuff. So that's really not a helpful bit of direction from her. Ah well, good thing we have the interwebz, and other people to share info!

10:10 AM  

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