And the clock strikes 12! Yes this is the last month of the Cheesepalooza challenge. Twelve months of cheese making, well I joined it a bit late so I have 10 entries. It was my first time taking on a year long challenge and I am proud to say I made it to the end. Lots of people vanished along the way. Making a cheese, even once a month, requires determination and devotion.
Every month we were given a type of cheese to make. Along the whey (pun) we learned several different techniques, each resulting in a specific type of cheese. On this last month we were left on our own to choose what to make. We were asked to invent our own cheese (or do something creative). I chose an unusual cheese which is actually made exclusively with whey. Let’s take a look at the Geitost, or Norwegian goat’s milk cheese.
Such an environmental cheese! All you really use is whey (unless you add a touch of cream). How can that be? Well whey is somewhat opaque right? An opaque liquid means there is solid matter in there no matter how small the particles. And how do you get the particles to take form? Evaporate the heck out of it to remove all the water. Geitost is made entirely of goat milk or a blend of goat’s and cow’s milk. If you used only cow’s milk then you would be making Mysost.
Once you have all the water out you are left with a fudge like mass that is basically made up of protein, fat and sugar. The longer you cook it the more caramelized the flavor will be due to the sugar content. The result can be quite sweet. I did not caramelize it so much (I was afraid to burn my pot) so my resulting flavor was a mix of sweet, sour and salty; the definition of unami. Actually the taste and texture resembled miso paste but a tad sweeter. Good but in small doses only.
- fresh whey (goat or a mix of goat and cow)
- heavy cream, 1/2 cup per 2 liters ratio (optional for creamy texture)
- Use only fresh whey for making this cheese. Place the whey in a heavy bottom saucepan quite bigger than how much liquid you have. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a med-low simmer. Stir often.
- If you are adding cream you should mix it in when the whey has reduced by about 3/4.
- Leave to simmer until the liquid is reduced to a fudge-like consistency.
- Place in a bowl as a mold and let it cool completely. Once cool enough I hand rolled it into a cylinder which I then wrapped in a sheet of aluminium.
If you do not use cream the texture of the cheese will be grainy. By using cream you will get a creamier and smoother texture. It is a matter of preference.
I had 3 liters of whey and it took me 8 hours. So make sure you are free for the entire day. You do not have to watch over it constantly but you need to be at home. I measured the height every hour and it steadily decreased by 3/4 inch on the hour:
3pm at 2.75″
So of course I had to end up on a Norwegian food blog called Antje Radcke to find a recipe that uses Geitost. It’s a pretty simple pate inspired recipe that adds a few extra flavors with apricots and pistachios. Since my Geitost has a strong unami taste I tried to slice my pate as thin as possible.
- 5 slices of Geitost, about 5 mm (3/16") thick
- 8 dried apricots
- a handful of shelled roasted salted pistachios
- Aluminium foil
- Preheat oven to 190 C (350 F).
- Slice the apricots in half vertically so one side is without peel. Chop pistachios coarsely.
- Place a slice of Geitost on the front third of a sufficiently large piece of aluminum foil, cover the entire surface with an even layer of apricot halves.
- Place a second slice of Geitost on top and sprinkle with half of the pistachios.
- Repeat step 3 and 4 and top with last slice of Geitost.
- Wrap the entire block in aluminum foil as firmly as possible and place in the oven in the middle rack. Turn oven off and leave the pate in the cooling oven for about 1/2 hour.
- Take out of the oven and place the pate between two cutting boards. Place in the fridge and put a water-filled bowl or heavy cans on top to weight the cheese down. Let the cheese cool completely for several hours.
- Cut into slices with a sharp knife. To serve take a slice of bread, spread some soft goat cheese on the bread and top with a slice of the Geitost pate.
In case you are newer to my blog let me mention the cheese I made over the last year. My most successful and delicious cheeses were the Fourme d’Ambert, Gouda and Farmhouse Cheddar. The Camembert, Feta Cheese and Goat Cheese all turned out well too and were lovely to taste. The Mozzarella was a challenge, it took me 3 tries and was just OK. My still edible failures, in my personal opinion, were the Ale Washed Trappist Cheese and the Romano because they got contaminated with the blue cheese bacteria. Cheese is fickle but fun.