Sunday, 5 August 2007

Brunost : Norwegian sweet brown cheese

Yes, I do mean sweet when I say so!

Before visiting Norway in July I had never-ever heard of something like that and when I first encountered it at a hotel breakfast, my reaction was 'oh, cool, smoked cheese!'. Well...it wasn't. And I saw the guy beside me place a slice of it onto a chocolate spread sandwich!

The next encounter took me further. At a boat trip we bought waffles and guess what came along - the same brown cheese. I asked our guide about it and she said that they, Norwegians, would rather refer to it as 'caramel'. Aha! Still, days later we almost witnessed the making of the cheese at a museum and I learned more about the background of it - this time believing every word.

Brunost (Norwegian for 'brown cheese') is made by boiling whey, milk and cream together. The process is quite long and and finally almost all of the water will evaporate and lactose (milk sugar) will caramelise, giving the cheese its sweet taste. The mixture will then be cooled.

But buying brown cheese at a Norwegian supermarket for the first time can be difficult (or rather - it was) because there's so much to choose from. Products differ according to their (fat) contents and texture. The most popular is Gudbrandsdalost - some goat's milk is added to its contents. Geitost is wholly or partly made from goat's milk. Fl√łtemysost only uses cow's milk. There is also a spreadable version of the cheese that is achieved by using a shorter boiling time - this is Prim.

The most ordinary way to eat Brunost is with a slice of bread. Actually, Brunost and cheese slicer go together like rama lama lama ke ding a de dinga a dong, because it's the easiest way for handling the cheese - it's quite sticky, you know. True, it can be sliced with a knife when it's been taken from the fridge but after some time at room temperature it much rather resembles plasticine. Wonderfully and strongly tasting melting-in-mouth plasticine, sweet but at the same time a bit savoury, tasting both of caramel and of cheese, reminding a bit of certain toffee candies.

Deeply addictive!
If there's anyone who's got an actual recipe - I'd be delighted if you'd share!

9 comments:

Dennis said...

Sweet brown cheese, never tried this before :)

I found a recipe for brunost. But it's in dutch, so maybe it can be translated with babelfish.
http://www.keukenmontages.com/receptenbak/noors/brunost%20noorse%20bruine%20kaas.html

Patricia Scarpin said...

This is unusual!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

When I lived in Norway I used to eat this for both breakfast and lunch! It is so delicious and satisfying! As you mentioned wonderful on waffles, especially with a little strawberry jam. This is one cheese I can no longer live without! I prefer the gjetost, the sheep milk version, but many perfer the cow's milk version which is a bit sweeter and without any hint of the pungent goat cheese.

There are some available in the states - most often I see a brand called skiqueen - which is in a red package. It is the cow version. But thankfully on rare occassions I come across the gjetost.

Thanks for posting about this, it has sure brought back some fond memories of my life in Norway!

Evelin said...

Dennis, thank you very much! Although I was told it's actualy possible to buy it in Estonia, I'm looking forward to making the cheese myself.

Patricia, I know how you feel!:)

Jenn, I have almost eaten it for breakfast and lunch ever since we came back from the trip and I opened the first package! But thesse days are gone now:D So nice that I could bring back memories.

Hydrocodone said...

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Ingvild said...

Hey! :)

I'm glad you like our cheese. I didn't think foreigners liked it! It's pretty unusual. I don't think it tastes like caramel, though. Maybe similar, but it's hard to define the taste.

You can't find a better way to spend your Sunday afternoon than eating waffles with Brunost =)

Excellent blog, btw ;)

Love Ingvild.

Anonymous said...

Jeg elsker ekte Geitost!
I found a page that has a recipe for Goat cheese! Yummy http://sabledairygoats.com/1stQtr2003/cheese.htm

But you will have to spend some time finding the parts to make it and a LOT of TIME.
I am going to try it.

I am from Bekkestua, Baerum, Norway, but now I live in Acworth, GA USA.
The SKIOST or Queen cheese hmmm how to best put this >>yuck<< Well if there is nothing else maybe.. IT is hmmm.

I will post later when I have tried the recipe for real Geit ost. IT could take a while to find goats milk that has NOT been ultra pasurised.

Esther.

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I believe one and all must look at it.