Friday, June 01, 2007

Making Mysost

Mysost is a Norwegian cheese made from caramelized cow's milk whey, often the whey left over after making traditional curd cheese. When made with goat's whey, the cheese is called gjetost. They are unusual--not what you'd necessarily expect when someone tells you they are serving you cheese. Both cheeses are smooth, sweet, sour, salty, slightly brown--and deliciously different.

The recipe calls for only two ingredients. We purchased a couple of quarts of whey from our dairy farmer, combined it with a little cream, and put it on to heat. (If you prefer, you can make it with only whey, although your cheese will be slightly grainier.) You can certainly use your own whey--that made after draining yogurt to make yogurt cheese will even work. I don't think it is particularly easy to find commercial whey, however.

We brought the whey up to a full boil then turned down the heat a bit. After several hours (4 for us, but sometimes as much as 12 hours) at a gentle boil, the whey had reduced to a fudge-like consistency. After beating it severely, we cooled it in its pan over a bowl of iced water and poured it into a little buttered glass bowl.

Mellowing in the refrigerator for 24 hours helps the flavor of mysost. But I couldn't wait:

Excellent instructions can be found in Ricki Carroll's Home Cheese Making.

What fun!


Rachel said...

Oh my god. I have been meaning to leave you a comment for eons now, but this finally pushed me to do so. Do you know how much I love the goat milk version of this (gjetost)? Do you understand the hundreds of dollars we spend every year buying it from the specialty cheese shop (it's hard to get the Ekte--or pure--gjetost)? And I can make it? At home? With local goat milk!?!? You are wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful culinary adventures.

hege said...

I am so impressed! Being a Norwegian, I love those cheeses :) I never would have thought to make my own, but it seems like fun.

Crazy Mumma said...

Awesome! I've been making my own yoghurt cheese for a while now and now I have another yummy use for the leftover whey - thanks! I love your blog too by the way :-)

Seven C's said...

Mysost is so delicious! It is my favorite! We just got done making a batch with the left over whey from making Cheddar cheese. So fantastic!

Tea said...

You've got me wanting to make some now! All I need is some whey... Thanks!

Submit your advice said...

I get a gallon of raw milk every week, skimming the cream off for coffee and drinking or cooking half the milk for sauces. I still usually end up with 1/4 - 1/3 gallon of extra milk every week. This I let sit in the back of the fridge for two or three weeks, during which time the curds separate naturally from the whey after the milk has soured.

When I have enough collected, usually three weeks, I place it in a big enamel-lined cast iron pot and slowly bring it to a simmer, or just under. Using a plastic flat skimmer with a zillion holes in it I gently lift out the curds and place in cheese cloth to drain and become a sort of farmers cheese (great for cooking in a white sauce to smother pasta and vegetables) or mix with chopped olives and have with pita bread.

Anyway, the whey that is left I slowly simmer down into mysost.

I find it's a complex flavour that grows on me. At first it's weird, just one flavour. But over time, once you taste it from within, it's infinitely complex. Perhaps even more so is the complexity of the smell in the last hour before it's ready to turn the heat off.

It's nice that it's something you would never get in a store, something that is cheaper than cheap (after all, it's something many would just throw out), something that is pretty nutritious, but I think what I love most is the complexity, you can't quite put your finger on just what it is, but it's something you know, something very personal. It's a rare kind of sweetness.


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