strange cheese

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Lethal Pizza

False cheese?! Ever heard of it? Probably not, and there is a reason for it. It is is likely to kill you! Why; well - it is the result of profit maximising, the process in which CEO's slowly but surely is doing this planet in, and all life as we know it!

False cheese is artificial cheese, made with among other things "palm oil". Very suitable for melting cheeses and thus excellent for pizza. Palm oil will make your cholesterol shoot skyhigh! It is just as bad as ordinary trans-fatty acid that some governments warned us about 10 years ago! AND thanks to stupid CEO's, it is the cheapest form of palm oil used, the one high on palmitate acid. Don't clog your arteries with shit cheese, made solely to make you die - and some stockholder live the sweet life. Make your own pizza with REAL cheese!

Don't eat pizza out - unless you know it is REAL cheese on the top. Pizza Hut might aswell be your Pizza Coffin!

Oh, by the way Cheeseburgers... You might aswell put that cheese in a syringe and inject it straight into the veins, and save your digestive system the hassle.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Brunost - Norwegian Brown Cheese

This article taken from this BBC page

'Have some of this, it's good.' The Norwegian hands you an open-faced sandwich with a slice of something reddish-brown, 'It's Brunost - brown cheese.'

It doesn't look like cheese, you think, but you take a bite anyway.

'No way is this cheese!', you exclaim.

And you would be perfectly correct. Strictly speaking it isn't, but next to cross country skiingtrolls there are few things more Norwegian than an open-faced sandwich of Brunost.

Curds and Whey

General cheesemaking, all over the world, consists of separating the curds from the whey, and making some sort of cheese from the curds. The whey is then flushed down the drain or used as cattle feed. More recently, whey proteins have become popular as an ingredient in health food and dietary supplements for body-builders. However, in some parts of the world it has been considered good food for centuries. In Italy, for example, it is used to make ricotta, while in Norway it is used to make Brunost.

The upshot of this is that while 'real' cheeses are made only from the curds, ricotta, Brunost and similar, although often called cheeses, are technically whey-based dairy products.


For more than 300 years Norwegian farmers have made cheeses from cow's milk and goat's milk and turned the leftover whey into different kinds of foodstuffs. Many strange concoctions existed and some of these are still available, regionally, today.

The simplest process was to just boil out most of the water from the cow's whey, and shape the remainder into a sweet, low-fat, pale reddish brown 'cheese'. This is the most basic type of brown cheese and is simply called Mysost, or 'whey cheese'. By mixing in cream, or using goat's milk, or a combination of goat's and cow's milk, and/or by leaving more water in the mix, all of today's brown cheeses came into existence1.

Making Brunost

Brunost remains a very popular dairy product. Annual production is approximately 12 million kilograms, or almost 4kg per Norwegian. Of this amount, 50% is Gudbrandsdalsost, 30% is Fløtemysost, and 8 - 10% is Ekte Geitost. The remainder is made up of other varieties and small scale production sold straight from the farm.

The first step in the making of Brunost is removing the curds. The whey must not contain any remains of curds, rennet or lactic bacteria so today it is often pasteurised and centrifuged. Then milk and cream is added to the whey and it is boiled until it becomes a thick brown mass (in industrial production the initial dehydration is done by methods other than boiling). The brown colour appears at the end of the process when the mass reaches about 100°C. Several factors influence the colour, but a darker colour indicates a more pronounced taste, and a larger risk of it getting burned. The next step is to cool the mass quickly to about 80°C while stirring vigourously so the sugar forms small crystals with an even distribution.

Even though no preservatives are added, Brunost can be kept in the fridge for about four months, and up to a year at -8°C2. At lower temperatures the water freezes and ruins the 'cheese'.


Brunost is the generic name for lots of different products, but ask the average Norwegian and they will tell you either that their particular preference is the real Brunost, or that Brunost is a misnomer and that it's really Raudost (literally 'red cheese').

This entry will treat all the different types alike and not play favourites3. Brunost taste comes mainly from caramelised lactose and hence the product is sweet, with a hint of caramel, and tastes nothing like cheese at all. The use of goat's milk in some types adds another incomparable taste that takes a little getting used to. The texture of Brunost is cheeselike, but because of its high sugar content it is much stickier than real cheeses.

Types of brown cheese include:


With a water content above 30%4, making it spreadable, Prim is almost a Brunost cousin. The taste is pure Brunost, however, and in some dialects Prim is the word for all Brunosts.

Ekte Geitost

Ekte Geitost is made with whey, milk and cream from goats. It has the most pronounced taste of all the Brunosts. The name translates into real (or genuine) goat cheese. There is a small export of Ekte Geitost.


Gudbrandsdalsost is named after the valley in Norway where it was first produced for export outside the area. It uses whey, milk and cream from cows, and adds goat's milk. There is some production for export, and it is sold as Gudbrandsdalen in other Scandinavian countries, Norgold in Germany, and Ski Queen in UK, North America and Australia.

Ski Queen is one of the few varieties of brown cheese that includes preservatives in its manufacture.


Cream Whey Cheese made from whey, milk and cream from cows. It has a milder taste than both Ekte Geitost and Gudbrandsdalsost.

Using Brunost

The main use of Brunost is on sandwiches, like the open-faced sandwich mentioned at the beginning. It is also used in sauces and as an accessory to lutefisk; but, these are minor compared to the use on slices of bread, rolls and Norwegian waffles.

To get nice slices it is essential to have a cheese plane5 as it is almost impossible to use a knife on Brunost in a controlled manner, due to its sticky texture.

1 Except the weird and sacrilegious versions involving chocolate and other foreign substances.
2 Source: Norwegian Encyclopaedia: Kunnskapsforlagets Store Norske Leksikon.
3 The real Brunost is the Gudbrandsdalsost!
4 The firm Brunosts have a water content of 25% or less.
5 Also called 'cheese slicer', invented and patented in 1925 by Thor Bjørklund.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Rommegraut (Sour Cream Porridge) serves 6

I know - this is not a cheese, but so far on this blog it is sometimes difficult do distinguish what really is... Take Norwegian brown cheese and Prim - they are both made from heath-reducing whey (we'll come back to this later) But now - ROMMEGRAUT.

Sour cream porridge with dried meats was festive food in the olden days and is still considered that today.

  • 4 dl (1 2/3 cups) 35 percent fat sour cream
  • about 3 dl (1 1/4 cups) flour
  • about 1 1/4 liters (5 cups) full fat milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
Sour cream porridge must be made from high fat (35%) natural sour cream, with no stabilizers or gelatin added. For the best results, use homemade sour cream. Heat 2 1/2 dl (1 cup) whipping cream to 35 C (95 F), almost body temperature, then whisk in 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Let stand at room temperature at least 8 hours, until thickened.

Simmer sour cream, covered, about 15 minutes.

Sift over 1/3 of the flour. Simmer until the butterfat begins to leach out. Skim off the fat.

Sift over the remaining flour and bring to a boil. Bring the milk to a boil and thin the porridge to desired consistency. Whisk until smooth. Simmer about 10 minutes, and season with salt. Serve with the fat, sugar and cinnamon.

From the Sons of Norway Recipe Box

Traditionelle Sauerrahmbrei Rezept im Deutsch

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Gamalost (Cheese of the vikings)

Gammalost (Oldcheese) from AAmotsdal

  • 50 liter very sour milk to make 4-5 kg cheese
  • Warm milk to 50-60 degrees C. (140 F.)
  • Cheese will coagulate apart from the whey
  • Take out the cheese, lay in fine cheese cloth and press out excess whey.

Cheese should hang a day or two so all whey runs out. There should just be a cheese mass after. It is important to get the right ripening. Set the cheese in a room at about 20 degrees C. (68 F.) so fermenting will start. Let it stand about two days. Cheese should now be yellowish and have some smell. Place the cheese in a 10 degree C. (50 F.) environment. Place food paper over the cheese so it does not dry out. Turn the cheese every day until the cheese is ready in 1-3 weeks.

MP3-version of the Gamalost Song

Friends of Oldcheese - A great place with great links.

Jarlsberg ad nauseum

The only Norwegian cheese referred to by both Monty Python and Sopranos (the show) is Jarlsberg made by Tine (the cheese-mafia). Here is a pamphlet (pdf) on making the most out of Jarlberg, and I will never mention this cheese again - it is rather dull anyhow...

Is it Kosher?

Taken from here.

In an age where a substance intended for use as butter is in reality made of whale oil and one intended to substitute for egg whites is made from chemically treated animal blood, it is refreshing to know that there is still one entire family of foods being manufactured today by a method which has remained virtually unchanged for centuries. This genre of edibles is renowned for its nutritional and gastronomic virtues, and all connoisseurs of good food have their favorites among its varied types: cheeses.

These all-natural delectables are not, however, without their halachic problems, as we shall see. The kosher consumer should not be led to assume that natural, old-fashioned foods are necessarily kosher. After all, even whale oil is quite natural and old-fashioned.

All of the many varieties of commercially prepared cheeses available to today’s consumer are produced by the same basic process, an ancient and efficient one. A type of bacteria, known in the cheese trade as a "starter," is added to a quantity of milk, souring the milk. In chemist’s terms, the lactose in the milk turns to lactic acid. Next, a curdling agent is added, and this coagulates part of the milk coming out a watery liquid known as whey. Whereas this mixture may be sufficiently processed for the likes of Miss Muffet, cheese afficionados prefer the results which come when the whey is drawn off and the curds are treated in a variety of fashions, resulting in a variety of cheeses.

The second step in the above process, the addition of the curdling agent, is where the kashrus question arises.

The most common curdling agent, known as rennet, generally comes from animal sources, specifically the lining of the stomachs of calves. Such an exotic ingredient is necessary because the enzymes therein are the only chemicals known to efficiently and effectively curdle milk. It seems that long ago, people realized this fact when they saw recently suckled milk curdling in the stomach of a just slaughtered calf and they experimented with scrapings of the stomach lining.

Anthropology aside, the fact that there are kashrus implications in the use of rennet is obvious.

If the source of rennet is a kosher species of animal, ritually slaughtered under rabbinical supervision, it may be used to turn milk into cheese. For rather involved halachic reasons, there is no problem of meat and milk mixing in such usage. Likewise, if rennet is extracted, as it occasionally is, from vegetable sources, there is no question as to the kashrus of the cheese when it is produced under rabbinical supervision.

However, most commercial cheeses (except those produced under rabbinical supervision) are made with rennet derived from animals slaughtered by conventional non-kosher means.

Even though there is a kashrus principle which generally allows minuscule quantitites of non-kosher ingredients to be, at least after the fact, legally overwhelmed by great quantities of kosher ingredients and rendered nonexistent, this principle cannot, unfortunately, be applied in the case of rennet. This is because rennet has an unmistakable coagulant effect on milk; where one substance visibly solidifies another, the solidifying agent is always considered a substantial factor, whatever its amount.

An additional factor in prohibiting standard commercial cheeses, even when produced by using microbial agents for curdling as a substitute for rennet, is the existence of an ancient decree banning the use of cheeses produced by non-Jews.

It would seem, up to this point, that the wonderful world of cheese would have to be added to the other delights which observant Jews forego to meet G-d’s standards for them.

But, where there’s a will, of course, there’s a "whey."

As a response to the kashrus problems of cheese-making, several kosher cheese companies make use of rennet derived from exclusively kosher sources. Cheeses produced in this way are of the same quality and boast the same variety as their non-kosher counterparts. There is a good reason for this: the kosher cheese market at present cannot support the considerable outlay of capital required to purchase both the cheese-producing machinery and the expertise of giant non-kosher cheese companies. Therefore, special kosher runs are done at the standard cheese companies. A kashrus supervisor kashers any equipment requiring it, and sees to it that the next run of cheeses is produced using only kosher rennet. The rest is done by routine techniques, under rabbinical supervision, which gives the cheese the status of "Jewish-produced."

Observant cheese lovers are therefore not deprived of their high-quality delicacy. The rental of time and machinery and the cost of reliable supervision makes kosher cheese a bit more expensive than non-kosher, but the deal is certainly a bargain!

NOTE: The general prohibition against all cheeses made by gentiles without supervision includes RENNETLESS CHEESE.

Therefore cheese requires supervision in all forms, including hard cheeses (such as American, Cheddar, Muenster, Swiss, etc.) and soft cheese (such as cottage, cream, farmer, and pot cheese).

Is the cheese halaal?

Is the cheese halaal if it is made from enzymes taken from haraam meat (not slaughtered according to shariah) as the enzymes still live beyond the animal's life time i.e the enzyme does not die when the animal is killed.

Answer :

Praise be to Allaah.

Before answering this question, it is important to know what rennet is.

Al-Fayroozabaadi said in al-Qaamoos al-Muheet (p. 313), under the definition of na fa ha: al-infahah and al-minfahah and al-binfahah all refer to something yellow that is extracted from the stomachs of suckling goat kids.

Infahah (rennet) was also defined in al-Mawsoo'ah al-Fiqhiyyah as follows: "It is a yellowish-white substance ([in a skin vessel] - this phrase appears not to fit here) that is extracted from the stomachs of suckling kids or lambs. When a little of this substance is added to milk, it curdles and becomes cheese. In some Arabic-speaking regions, people call this rennet mujabbinah (cheese-maker), and the stomach (from which the rennet is taken) is called kursh if the animal grazes on grass.

The Islamic ruling concerning rennet is that if it is taken from an animal that has been slaughtered according to sharee'ah, then it is pure (taahir) and can be eaten. This is according to the Hanafis, Maalikis, Shaafa'is and Hanbalis.

As regards eating rennet taken from an animal that dies naturally, or that was not slaughtered in accordance with sharee'ah, according to the apparent meaning of the opinions reported from the majority of scholars among the Maalikis, Shaafa'is and Hanbalis have said, it is impure (naajis) and should not be eaten. They base this ruling on the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): "Forbidden to you for food) are: al-maytatah (dead animals - cattle-beast not slaughtered)…" [al-Maa;idah 5:3] - the rennet becomes impure by virtue of the animal's death, and it is not possible to remove that impurity from it. [next phrase is unclear]

Imaam al-Nawawi said in al-Majmoo' (9/68): "The ummah is agreed that it is permissible to eat cheese so long as it is not mixed with anything impure, such as adding rennet from a source that is not halaal because it was not slaughtered according to sharee'ah. This ijmaa' (scholarly consensus) is the evidence for its permissibility."

The second view, which is that of Abu Haneefah and is one of two opinions narrated from Imaam Ahmad, is that rennet from dead animals or animals that were not slaughtered according to sharee'ah is still taahir (pure). This is the opinion which Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah thought most correct in al-Fataawaa (21/102), where he said: "It is more likely that their (the Zoroastrians') cheese is halaal, and that the rennet and milk of dead animals is taahir (pure)." Elsewhere in al-Fataawaa (35/154) he said: "With regard to the cheese made with their (some of the kaafir Baatini groups') rennet, there are two well-known scholarly opinions, as is the case with the rennet from animals slaughtered by the Zoroastrians and Christians, and rennet from dead animals, of whom it is said that they do not slaughter their animals properly. The schools of Abu Haneefah and Ahmad, according to the other of his two opinions, say that this cheese is halaal, because the rennet taken from dead animals is taahir (pure), according to this view, and because the (enzymes in) rennet do not die when the animal dies (so, the concept "impure containers don't cause the contents of the container to become impure by contact" ) applies. The schools of Maalik, al-Shaafa'i and Ahmad, according to the other of his two opinions, state that this cheese is naajis (impure), because the rennet is impure according to this view, as they see the milk and rennet of dead animals as impure. In cases where meat is classified as impure because it is not slaughtered properly, the meat is regarded as being the same as dead meat. Both opinions are based on reports narrated from the Sahaabah. The first group states that the Sahaabah used to eat the cheese of the Zoroastrians, while the second group state that the Sahaabah used to eat what they thought was the cheese of the Christians. With regard to this issue, the follower (ordinary Muslim) must follow an 'aalim who advises him to follow either of these two opinions.

Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid (

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Rennet; the exotic cheesemaking ingredient

So, I guess you feel proud of yourself - You can make Eggcheese AND Dravle, and do some advanced kitchen-conversions. But the information I will convey to you now, might well make you turn your back to cheese for all time...
Definition of Rennet (from Websters): the contents of the stomach of an unweaned animal and especially a calf b : the lining membrane of a stomach or one of its compartments (as the fourth of a ruminant) used for curdling milk; also : a preparation of the stomach of animals used for this purpose.

Whoa, aren't you glad our cheese loving metric friends in Iran have come up with a solution; Fungal Rennet, also called Rennilase, so that hardcore vegetarians may enjoy some Brie too. The American product Chy-Max by Pfizer was introduced in 1990 and is now used in 60% of U.S. produced cheeses. Chy-Max was the first product of recombinant DNA technology in the U.S. food supply!

On the whole, only 35% of the worlds cheeses is made with natural rennet, so there are indeed a need for artificial coagulants especially for cheap and lower quality cheeses.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Eggcheese from Flekkefjord

Eggeost/Eggcheese, well, the ingredients are fairly harmless, but I'll have to quote Mr. Stephen Fry on this; " I wouldn't suck on it"
Difficulty level; Easy. Time estimated; 15 min

  • 1 liter of whole milk
  • 400 milliliter of soured milk, kefir or yoghurt
  • 2 tbs of sugar
  • 2 eggs
Topping made simply by mixing a tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Double if necessary.

Bring the milk to a boil. Whip up yoghurt, eggs and 2 tbs of sugar, and mix this batter into the simmering milk while stirring. Let the substance simmer slowly until it curdles on the top, and the whey underneath is transparent. Let the whole thing cool down.

Put the curd in a strainer, and let it rest until fairly dry. (It is now Eggeost). Put the eggeost in a nice bowl and top it with cinnamon and sugar.

Serve the Eggeost on waffles or lefser (se dravle recipe)

(The separated whey might well be frozen for later use in breadmaking.)

So you like cheese, but can't figure out the metric system?

Welcome to the wonderful world of metric. Click on the graphic to the right, it is your passport to the metric world, and what a glorious and easily calculated world it is indeed. The conversion table is printer friendly. Why not make a laminated version for yourself? Be the envy of thousands, or 3.856,5 to be precise. Be the center of conversation at dinner parties! Indulge in this new and exciting world of metric bliss. No more space shuttle errors, no more wars - no threat from any other equally metric planetary systems! Be among the enlightened!

And while you're at it, why don't you join the U.S Metric Association? may we get back to some cheesy comestibles - yes, I believe you're fully compatible to enter now - Welcome!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Dravle from Rogaland

Dravle, it is easier to explain how it's made, rather than what (or indeed why) it is...

Average time 15 min. Difficulty level: easy.

2 liter whole milk
200 milliliter cream
2 cinnamon sticks, aprox 6 cm long
600 milliliter soured milk (or kefir) (or yoghurt)
100 milliliter of sugar
5 eggs

Bring milk, cream and cinnamon to boiling temperature. Whip up the soured-milk with eggs and sugar and administer it carefully into the milk. Bring to boil once again, with as little stirring as possible.

Remove 1/3 of the whey as it gradually "breaks". Stir carefully.

Let the Dravle simmer for an hour.

Best eaten cold with a spoon, alongside waffles, lefser or fenalaar (a slow-cured lamb's leg).

Thursday, July 20, 2006

strange cheese?

Strange cheese will contain recipes on how to make the most out of dairy products - based on traditional methods. The first selection of "Cheeses" will be domestic [Norwegian].

So look forward to delicatessen such as "Dravle", "Gomme", "Prim" and the likes.

Measurements will be metric..

The picture above is the infamous KOKA-OST from Tinn, Norway