Gjetost Cheese :: Use Up That Whey!

I always see mainstream-friendly recipes on other people’s blogs; recipes like, “How to Make Mint Syrup” or “Paleo Friendly Biscuits”, maybe even a couple “Whole Wheat Version of…” this or that. That’s all well and good folks, but around here, we fully appreciate the weird ones.

Say hello to Gjetost, a Norwegian whey cheese. Other languages call it a variety if different names –mesost (Swedish), meesjuusto (Finnish), mysuostur (Icelandic), myseost (Danish) or Braunkäse (German)– but all in all, they are all based off of this caramelized brown Scandinavian whey cheese. The heat of cooking turning the milk sugars into caramel, which gives the cheese its characteristic brown color and sweet taste. Weird indeed, but also absolutely delicious!

Surprisingly, Gjetost is very simple to make. All it takes is a saucepan, some whey, a little cream, and a lot of time. How much time it takes and how much cheese you get in the end is all dependent on how much whey you use to begin with. One key, however, is to start with good whey. You just want to make sure not to use whey from processing cheese with vinegar.

The whey I used was goat whey from making cheese (using a culture, not vinegar) about two months ago. I was a little iffy in how long whey lasted, but Google set my mind at ease. Thanks Google. I sure am glad that I used my whey because this cheese has proved that whey is not a useless byproduct and you also don’t need “fresh whey” to make incredible cheese.

Gjetost tastes like a sweet, sharp cheddar. If simmered slowly, it turns out to be a nice creamy texture. This cheese has a little bite, much like sharp cheddar, and yet has sugary undertones. Pretty yummy treat for a morning’s work.

How To Make Gjetost makes 1 cup of cheese

Step 1: Separate the cream floating on top from the whey and pour 2 full quarts of whey in a large saucepan. Heat on medium-low.
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Step 2: Bring the whey to a light simmer and stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
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Step 3: Once the whey has boiled down to 1/4 of the original amount, start stirring it every 2-3 minutes. The liquid should begin to look more of a yellow-caramel color. Watch the cheese closely because it will thicken quickly at this point.
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Step 4: Now that most, if not all, of the whey has evaporated, what’s left should look more like cheese. Add in any cream you may have to make the cheese creamier (2-4 tablespoons is a great amount). Lower the stove heat to keep from burning the cheese and stir constantly until the cheese is a light brown or caramel color.
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Ta da! Gjetost!

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Now eat your delectable treat with some homemade bread or take it to a party and brag about how cool and worldly you are to have made such a delicacy of a cheese yourself. Move aside brie, there’s a new cheese in town!

9 thoughts on “Gjetost Cheese :: Use Up That Whey!

  1. Sara, I use all my whey- most goes to the goats who love it and we plan to get a pig, and they eat all milk byproducts as well to get fattened up. The rest I use to ferment various fruits and veggies to get the most nutrition from. Never throw away whey….

  2. I heard from a friend the other day that whey also makes a great garden acidifier which is awespome for me as my bought in soil is really highly alkaline. I will be sharing this post with him for sure! And also with a friend with Norwegian roots. 🙂

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