Author Topic: Using Hops in Cheesemaking  (Read 185 times)

Offline StuartDunstan

  • Young Cheese
  • **
  • Location: Brisbane, Australia
  • Posts: 15
  • Cheeses: 4
  • Default personal text
Using Hops in Cheesemaking
« on: August 17, 2014, 10:27:46 PM »
Has anyone had a go at incorporating dried hops into their cheesemaking? I know of two commercial cheeses that do it:

Hereford Hop (Charles Martell, UK) - http://www.cheese.com/hereford-hop/

...and...

Hopyard Cheddar (Rogue Creamery, USA) - http://www.roguecreamery.com/store/product/3100/Hopyard-Cheddar/

I'm keen to try something similar to the Hereford Hop, with the cheese essentially rolled in dried hops. But I'm a little concerned about the hop flavour/aroma overpowering the cheese, or else making the cheese too bitter. The packet of dried hops I bought from my local brewing supplies company seems quite strong in both aroma and taste.

Any thoughts?


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


Online pastpawn

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Clearwater, FL
  • Posts: 43
  • Cheeses: 5
  • It aint easy being cheesy
Re: Using Hops in Cheesemaking
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2014, 09:48:04 PM »
Very interesting idea.  You'd want to extract the hop flavor without the bitterness.  I'd use a french press to do this,  being careful not to heat the hops too long (the longer they are hot, the more isomerization of the hop oils, which increases the bitterness).  I'd say 1 oz max, heat in french press for 2 or 3 minutes with 200F water, press, and (if using hop pellets) probably filter through a coffee filter to make sure none of the particles make it into the cheese.  With leaf hops, this probably wouldn't be necessary.

I'd pick an American hop with a citrus aroma, but low in alpha acids (the measure of bitterness).  The ubiquitous Cascade would be ideal I think. 

The hop can't be in the cheese.  It's a bitter weed.  I've tried using them in salsa.  No bueno. 

I'd use them in a smoked cheese. 
- Andrew

Offline John@PC

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Hartsville, SC
  • Posts: 447
  • Cheeses: 36
  • Default personal text
    • Perfect Cheese
Re: Using Hops in Cheesemaking
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2014, 05:08:08 PM »
oops, sorry I meant to give you a warm "habinero" welcome pastpawn on that other thread.  Ok, you make cheese, smoke cheese, brew beer; has to be more talents there too we could "extract" (and apologizes in advance if you posted on the new member thread and I missed it).

Offline ArnaudForestier

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Madison, Wisconsin
  • Posts: 1,375
  • Cheeses: 41
  • Default personal text
Re: Using Hops in Cheesemaking
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2014, 05:32:40 PM »
Very interesting idea.  You'd want to extract the hop flavor without the bitterness.  I'd use a french press to do this,  being careful not to heat the hops too long (the longer they are hot, the more isomerization of the hop oils, which increases the bitterness).  I'd say 1 oz max, heat in french press for 2 or 3 minutes with 200F water, press, and (if using hop pellets) probably filter through a coffee filter to make sure none of the particles make it into the cheese.  With leaf hops, this probably wouldn't be necessary.

I'd pick an American hop with a citrus aroma, but low in alpha acids (the measure of bitterness).  The ubiquitous Cascade would be ideal I think. 

The hop can't be in the cheese.  It's a bitter weed.  I've tried using them in salsa.  No bueno. 

I'd use them in a smoked cheese.

+1 for great advice.  I'd say 5 minutes for aroma, 10-15 max for flavor, and out.  Longer, and you risk isomerization and bitterness contribution, like pawn said.

Another thing you might try is something I used to do as a kind of dry-hopping routine, modified for forced CO2 bottling and kegging, as opposed to cask conditioning.  Done with beer, it's simply a slurry created in beer that macerates for a couple days.  I forget my ratios but also what pawn indicates, hops with great aromatic volatiles and low alpha and beta acids - he mentions cascade, I also like centennial for American ale styles, but prefer the goldings - East Kent, Styrian, along with WGV (stands fro Whitbread Golding Variety), First Gold (developed from WGV), for bitters, pales, India pales; and then Northdown, some others I've since forgotten (it's been close to 15 years since I was in brewing) for strong dark porters and stouts (fuggles was a workhorse in my strong dark ales, but more as an earthy & grassy/"fresh fields" backbone...not a huge fan of the hop as a standalone hop).  Given the short maceration time, you load heavier than you normally would for a dry hopping routine, and you must use pellets.

Macerate the hops in a good bitter, say.  It's important to really mix the slurry well, though try not to agitate the beer (introducing O2) so much as thoroughly mixing for several minutes.  Macerate for 2-3 days, then crash cool and pull the cool beer off the top.  You can filter, but more likely than not you should have a decent, clear solution to use as an aroma (mostly, with some minor flavor) agent - perhaps in a brine? 

Not sure how well it would transfer to cheese, but I'd say it's worth a try.  Depending on the cheese style, it would be fun to play with these American or British hops.  Actually, the "noble" lager hops might be great as well - very clean, very aromatic, very light on the palate.  My preference is for Saaz and Hallertauer Mittelfrueh, but many like Spalt and Tettnanger as well.  Actually, I love Tett as well!

Hope this is helpful.  Your best bet is to do what you can to not degrade and/or evanesce the volatile oils, the fragrance and flavor oils.  To do that, you need a short boil, or as I've described it, an intense slurry.  Good luck, cool idea!
- Paul

Online pastpawn

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Clearwater, FL
  • Posts: 43
  • Cheeses: 5
  • It aint easy being cheesy
Re: Using Hops in Cheesemaking
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2014, 05:48:50 PM »
oops, sorry I meant to give you a warm "habinero" welcome pastpawn on that other thread.  Ok, you make cheese, smoke cheese, brew beer; has to be more talents there too we could "extract" (and apologizes in advance if you posted on the new member thread and I missed it).

I've got a lot of interests.  Re: food, I cook a lot.  Smoking / grilling all the time.  Sausage-making, stuff like that.  Pasta making.

If it is fermented, I've made it.  Beer / Kimchi / Tepache / kraut / salumi / cheese / pickles / sourdough (from berlinerweisse trub!) / yoghurt. 

Cheese is my new passion.  I'm just getting my head wrapped around it.  I need to start taking much better notes.  At the moment, I only have one culture, but I've loaded a cart with a bunch of stuff, so expect blue and soft stuff to start popping up in my posts.  I'll get with the program quickly. 

I also have a home lab to propagate microbes, yeast and bacteria.  Lab scope, plates, slants, sterilization equipment, stir plates for growing large quantities from the slants, hemacytometer for counting cells, stains for viability determination.  I'm itching to use that to grow penicillium roqueforti! 

I like photography, too, so I intend on taking lots of pics and becoming a real nuisance around here.  Apologies in advance :)
- Andrew


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


Offline John@PC

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Hartsville, SC
  • Posts: 447
  • Cheeses: 36
  • Default personal text
    • Perfect Cheese
Re: Using Hops in Cheesemaking
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2014, 07:09:02 PM »
Holy Cheese Batman!!  I'd include your bio in a quote but it would crash my computer :).  Seriously I (we) can't wait to learn more from your experiences and the knowledge you can share.  With that background you will definitely shorten your cheese making learning curve while helping us to expand ours. 

Online pastpawn

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Clearwater, FL
  • Posts: 43
  • Cheeses: 5
  • It aint easy being cheesy
Re: Using Hops in Cheesemaking
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2014, 08:10:46 PM »
Holy Cheese Batman!!  I'd include your bio in a quote but it would crash my computer :).  Seriously I (we) can't wait to learn more from your experiences and the knowledge you can share.  With that background you will definitely shorten your cheese making learning curve while helping us to expand ours.

Thanks John.  I'm so noob I should be wearing a special cap.  But I hope to bring some new ideas here,  and lots of pics.   I hope my enthusiasm doesn't become annoying.  Cheers!  And thanks for the warm welcome.
- Andrew

Offline ArnaudForestier

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Madison, Wisconsin
  • Posts: 1,375
  • Cheeses: 41
  • Default personal text
Re: Using Hops in Cheesemaking
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2014, 08:35:59 PM »
Indeed, will be fun, past.  Former rancher (of yeasts and bacterias) myself, had close to your home setup as well.  Some experience in devising and setting up a lab/QC program for cask-ale breweries.  Would be fun to talk out - PM, if you feel like it, we can exchange e-mail.  Welcome aboard!
- Paul