Author Topic: Herbs for Infusion  (Read 521 times)

Offline Alpkäserei

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Indiana/Kanton Bern
  • Posts: 583
  • Cheeses: 60
  • Default personal text
    • https://www.facebook.com/Kaesereigrimwald
Herbs for Infusion
« on: October 19, 2012, 12:07:32 PM »
We are working on developing herbal infusions for some of our Alpine style cheeses. We want to add some slight herbal and spicy tones to our cheeses, in part to account for our lack of the real Alps, but also to add a unique quality and depth to our cheese.

We have done some tinkering around, but would like to get some input from you all as well.

We are considering developping a mixture using some of the following:
ginger
cinnamon
thyme
sage
basil
paprika
coriander seed
rosemary
chives
spearmint or local wild mint
peppercorns
parsley

Whatever mixture we come up with, we will make a tea out of the spices and add to the milk with the culture, or perhaps we will add whole spices wrapped in a  cloth after the curd is cut for the 30 minute brewing and 40 minute cooking stages.

We would appreciate any suggestions for other spices, also which of these listed would most appeal?

in addition, our softer, younger Mutscli cheese will be made with a variety of herb washes and spice infusions. Our Oberlander Käse is just washed with our regular wash.

 
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline Alpkäserei

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Indiana/Kanton Bern
  • Posts: 583
  • Cheeses: 60
  • Default personal text
    • https://www.facebook.com/Kaesereigrimwald
Re: Herbs for Infusion
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2012, 12:42:37 PM »
Made an experimental herb wash out of a variety of spices. Won't say exactly what's in it, as I don't know yet how good it will taste.
Washing one cheese with it, and the other with a fairly intense wine wash (the one with the herb wash also gets the same wine wash along with the herbs)

The wash is a tea made from a variety of herbs and spices. Here's a photo



I would also like to make a wash using some wild local herbs, such as a few different mints (one with a spicy basil flavor), wild parsley, and wild carrot (be careful with these last two, as there is a very similar looking local plant that will kill you in very small doses)

 
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser

Offline Spellogue

  • Michael
  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Ohio
  • Posts: 303
  • Cheeses: 14
  • Default personal text
Re: Herbs for Infusion
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2012, 06:17:27 PM »
Your approach of adding an herbal tea or using a bouquet garni is quite interesting.  I've only ever coated softer cheeses with fresh or dried herbs and spices.

It may sound trite, but parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme is a very nice combination.  It gives a woodsy feel to a dish.  I often use that combination when cooking game and it might lend itself well to your cheeses too.

Cardamom is one of my favorite spices, more Scandinavian than Alpine I suppose, but it works well with black pepper.  Mace and juniper berries might be spices to consider.

Water hemlock is the poisonous look-alike you mention.  Its flowers are umbeliferous like parsley and Queen Anne's Lace (that's what we call wild carrot).  Queen Anne's Lace smells sweet when simmered, we use it to dye wool a yellow-green shade.  I haven't tried the tea, but have eaten the root.  You want to collect the t when it is young, before the plant flowers, even then I find it quite strong. 
I can resist anything but temptation.      ~ Oscar Wilde

Offline Alpkäserei

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Indiana/Kanton Bern
  • Posts: 583
  • Cheeses: 60
  • Default personal text
    • https://www.facebook.com/Kaesereigrimwald
Re: Herbs for Infusion
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2012, 07:40:26 PM »
Yes, I am familiar with coating with the actual herb, however I wanted to experiment with this to see how well it works -I did not want the herb coating, but a colorful natural rind. I am aiming for a deep red, and to aid in this my mixture is enriched with paprika.

It is regular Hemlock, not water hemlock, that bears so dangerous a resemblance to carrots or parsley (we call it queen anne's lace when referring to it as a weed, but it's wild carrot when talking about it as a food) Water hemlcok has a different leaf structure, and the plant closely resembles a wild elderberry that we have around here (you can tell the difference easily after they go to fruit, water hemlock makes a seed, elderberry a small dark purple berry)

thanks for the suggestions, will look into some time.
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser

Offline Tiarella

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Chester, MA, US
  • Posts: 1,618
  • Cheeses: 70
  • Default personal text
    • Farm Blog
Re: Herbs for Infusion
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2012, 08:04:10 PM »
I wonder how many of the spices will inhibit culture growth/development.....many of them were used to prevent meats from spoiling.  I like the idea and hope you keep updating this thread.  I just opened a nettle wrapped Valencay style cheese and it's quite lovely.  I'd love to experiment with herbal infusion too but will likely wait for next year so I'll be watching your makes!


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline Alpkäserei

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Indiana/Kanton Bern
  • Posts: 583
  • Cheeses: 60
  • Default personal text
    • https://www.facebook.com/Kaesereigrimwald
Re: Herbs for Infusion
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2012, 08:39:48 PM »
CASALP is an organization that oversees the AOC standards for Berner Alpkäse. Part of their standard is that the cheese be a washed rind -no molds, waxes, or any such. Just a simple washed rind is all. However, beyond that the cheesemaker is free to do as he pleases. Some folks wash with a heavy salt brine, some with white wine, some with a smear of b. linens, but there are also those who wash with herbs.

The specifics of the wash is something each Alp decides for itself, so you may see Berner Alpkäse with different rinds depending on who made it.

That was my inspiration, as well as the heavy herb rinds I came across so often in Switzerland -many many cheeses are coated with a layer of herbs on the outside, so that some are somewhat scary looking. It is common for the washing brine to have certain things mixed in with it. I don't know all the secrets everybody uses -and a lot of them are kept a secret too. But it has given me the inspiration to experiment.

Note that on the cheese I am trying this out on, the rind is already fully developed. If I had not decided to try an herbal wash, I would be letting it dry off now. This I know will affect how much flavor the herbs actually lend to the cheese.

After a few days washing, I know that the b. linens are still active, so the spices don't kill them off.

As for damaging the culture if I mix an infusion into the milk for later cheeses, I should note that it is common practice in Switzerland to mix the curds with spices.

One thing to consider doing is to use an herbal tea when making Raclette, instead of replacing the whey with water use a spiced tea to give the cheese more flavor.
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser

Offline Tiarella

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Chester, MA, US
  • Posts: 1,618
  • Cheeses: 70
  • Default personal text
    • Farm Blog
Re: Herbs for Infusion
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2012, 06:54:11 AM »
Thank you for all the ideas and informative history!