Using herbs in the paste?

Started by MacGruff, November 16, 2022, 12:57:27 PM

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On a visit to a new supermarket, I saw a cheese that had a vivid green paste and was labeled "Pesto Flavored". There was no indication of what kind of cheese it was. No idea if it was a Gouda, Cheddar, or what. The ingredients list only stated that it was made from "milk", so that indicates to me it was probably cow's milk.

We have a hydroponic kitchen system that yields us herbs year-round and are always looking for new uses for them. Basil is very abundant for us and we've frozen and dehydrated a LOT of it! So, this use really appeals to me. Looking at Caldwell's book, she does not specifically mention Basil, or Pesto, in her short description of using herbs, but does suggest adding herbs into an infusion and calls it a "tea". Unfortunately, no quantities or proportions are provided.

Anyone here ever try doing something like this? If so, what are the proportions? And, do you use Pesto, or just the Basil?

I am curious about the Pesto as I already made ours with Olive Oil, Pine Nuts, and Parmesan, so am not sure what that would do to the milk, if I just added it after ripening, but before I added the Renet.


You can find Gavin Webber using dehydrated pepper flakes to make chilly brie in the following link. I think it is a good starting point to integrate other flavors into cheese.


Thanks, I'll use that as a starting point. i.e. I will add 1 Tablespoon of Pesto into my milk as I get it up to temp and see what happens.


I'm in the midst of an experiment here. I made two wheels of the same basic cheese (A Tomme recipe). In the one instance, I took two tablespoons of my home made pesto and melted it into the 1 Gallon of milk. In the second instance, I made a "tea" out of just basil leaves and used the strained liquid and added it to the milk.

Both cheeses are now in my cheese "cave" aging. In about a month I will do the initial tasting. The attached pictures show how different they look at the drying stage (post brining). I was concerned about what the oil and other ingredients in the pest would do to the cheese make and that wheel does have some cracks in it. The "tea" make is much smoother.

One note: the "tea" was actually almost yellow - brown in color, so I added a little bit of green food color to help in telling them apart.

Interesting... the site will not let me upload images???


Hello again MacGurf,

I can't wait for the results of your experiment. I hope both will be fantastic.

About the picture issue, yes I already have the same problem. Also the old photos are gone mostly. Maybe there is an issue in forum's server.


Pics have always been a bit flaky here.  I post everything on Imgur and link.  It's just easier.


Ok. I signed up for Imgur. Here are the links:

1.   This is a picture of the curds after stirring them. The pesto is separating and you can see the sheen of the oil

2.  This is a picture of the pesto cheese when it's all dried and ready to go in the "cave"

3.   This picture shows the "tea" version just before I brought it to the "cave"



Thanks for the cheese.

In about a month I will pull these out, cut them, and we'll do a taste test.



I am happy to report that my herb experiment was a success.

This is a picture of the two wheels, cut in half:

The one on the left is the pesto cheese and you can see the flecks of basil leaves in the paste. The one on the right is the one I made with the basil "tea."

Taste-wise, they were actually very - VERY - different as well. The pesto cheese tasted like pesto and there was a distinct basil flavor to the green one. I will definitely not repeat putting in the food coloring the next time I make this cheese though.

We had a holiday party at our house last night and these were two of my cheeses that I featured. The response was fantastic. Everyone loved them.

Not bad for a total experiment!


How did you get such nice rinds in just a month?  I want to know your secret!

AC4U!  Thanks for sharing the results.


I have been playing with your Imgur links, and I found out something pretty cool.... If you open your photo in Imgur, then right click on it, you can select "Copy Image Link".... If you then go to the post where you want the photo to appear, click on the Image Icon in the Menu (looks like a tiny Mona Lisa), then paste your Image Link between the HTML tags, when you post it will show the image instead of just the link.... Like this!....

No need for anyone to click to see your photo....   8)

Oh, and AC4U....  ;)

Cheesemaking has rekindled our love of spending time together, Diane and me!


Thanks rsterne, I'll have to try and remember that technique next time!

Paulabob - I did what mikechar recommended in another post I saw today. I flipped the cheese daily for the first two weeks. When the colorful molds started showing up, I brushed them off (I used a toothbrush or paper towel depending on how hard I needed to get - lots of elbow grease). Then, after two weeks, I kept flipping it every two days and brushing off the mold.


I did another round of Tommes. Let them age for six weeks in my cave, and here are the results:

Both cheeses were made from milk from a local dairy I found a couple of months ago which pasteurizes their milk, but does not homogenize. The curd structure when making cheese is AMAZING!!!

The one on the left is a standard Tomme with no additives. Interestingly, it stayed moist in the cave and was almost like a Port Salut consistency when left on the counter for an house.

The one of the right had a cup of strong coffee added to the milk, and then I rubbed coffee grinds on the rind throughout the six weeks. It tasted very strongly of coffee and was much firmer.

Both were delicious and very different from each other.

(Thanks, Bob, for the tip about Imgur links. As you can see, it worked!!)


You're welcome, and a AC4U.... they look great!....

Cheesemaking has rekindled our love of spending time together, Diane and me!