Hoppy Bastard Cheese
We develop cheeses. And every year we use the Copenhagen Beer Celebration, organized by Mikkeller, to experiment with beer and cheese. Previously we have pickled cheeses in beer. This year we’ve tried using hops in the actual proces of cheesemaking.
Using hops in gastronomy seems a bit problematic due to the massive bitterness, but the huge variety of intriguing aromas calls for exploration. An infusion of hops in hot water, like brewing a pot tea, offers good opportunities.
Last year one of our experiments for the Copenhagen Beer Celebration, that we were extremely happy with, was a blue cheese vacuum-pickled in Mikkellers Imperial Stout – a super strong beer. We achieved notes of licorice & a mild sweetness adding to the salt of the cheese.
To balance aroma and bitterness, temperature of water and contact time are key parameters. For cheesemaking it works really well to add hop infused water to the milk prior to a standard cheese process. We used american hops of the simcoe variety, known to bring elements of tropical fruit, pine, grass and citrus, and were happy with the result of af temperature/time combination of 80 degrees celsius and 3 minutes. The cheese is homegrown sort of gouda made from milk with natural, unaltered cream content. Crisp and fresh as young cheese, 10 weeks, at Copenhagen Beer Celebration 2015. We saved half the batch and look forward to see what happens when the cheese comes into character beyond 8 months of age.