Gruyere originates from Switzerland and has been around since 1115. Created in a medieval town, Gruyere was traditionally made in wheels so that it could be rolled down the mountains in Saane to be sold to the town below. Although it’s not needed to be rolled down mountains today, it is still commonly made in a cheese wheel shape to keep the tradition alive.
Gruyere has a sweet yet slightly salty flavor which varies with aging. Younger cheeses are often noted as being creamy and nutty and becoming more earthy and complex as it ages. Typical aging time is anywhere from 5 months to an entire year. Gruyere is also noticed to have small cracks throughout and a slight grainy texture as well.
What makes Gruyere so popular is that it’s a healthy option when it comes to cheeses. A slice of cheese contains 117 calories which are made up of nearly 70% protein. It also contains vitamins A, C and Calcium, and Iron as well. It’s safe for pregnant women to consume it and is absolutely perfect for baking.
Gruyere is so popular when it comes to baking simply because it doesn’t overshadow any of the other flavors and instead compliments them nicely with its distinct non-overpowering flavor. It works perfectly for fondues, ham and cheese sandwiches, chicken cordon bleu, and macaroni and cheese. It also pairs nicely with sparkling cider and many white wines including Riesling.
Aging: 5-12 months
Skill Level: Beginner
- 3 gallons of whole cow’s milk
- 1/3 tsp of Thermophilic Culture
- 1 tsp of Rennet diluted in ¼ cup of water
- Cheese salt for the brine
- Pinch of propionic culture
- Heat the Milk & Add Culture
- Heat your milk up. When it reaches 90F you can start to add your culture in and stir
- You can do this by placing the milk in a pot or sink of very warm water. If you do this step on the stove, be sure to slowly heat the milk and stir to avoid burning.
- Cover and allow it to ripen for 45 minutes
- Make sure the temperature remains 90°F throughout the hour
- Add Rennet
- After ripening for 1 hour, you can add your diluted Rennet
- Allow it to rest for an additional 45 minutes or until you have a clean break
- Cut the Curd
- After an hour, your curd should be ready to be cut, if not, allow it to sit for longer
- Cut the curd into 3 cm cube size pieces
- Allow it to rest for 10 minutes
- Carefully stir the curds with a whisk to continue cutting down the curd some more. The curds should appear a little larger than a grain of rice.
- Heat the Curds
- Slowly heat the curds until they reach a temperature of about 115 °F
- This process should take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes and should be done very gradually as it makes the cheese more moist
- Once the temperature is reached, allow the curds to settle for 10 minutes.
- Drain the Curds
- Pour out the whey to level the curds
- Move the curds to one side of the pot and place 10 lbs. of weight directly on it. Leave it for 15 minutes and then pour out any remaining whey
- Mold & Press the Cheese
- After you’ve drained the whey from the curds, immediately move it to a mold that’s lined with cheesecloth. Make sure to be gentle to avoid any breaking.
- Press the curds at 25 lbs. for 1 hour.
- Remove, flip and rewrap the curds
- Continue to press from 35 lbs. for another 2 hours.
- Remove, flip and rewrap
- Continue to press at 50 lbs. for overnight or at least 8 hours
- Remove and unwrap the cheese
- Brining and Aging
- Soak the cheese in saturated brine for at least 12 hours, turning over your cheese every few hours to ensure even coverage
- Remove and dry
- Air dry your cheese at 50°F for 2 weeks or until it’s dry on the surface.
- Rub with salt and move it to your aging space
- Age your cheese and wash it with brine a few times a week for the first 2-3 months to help manage the growth of molds
- Storing the Cheese
- It’s best to store Gruyere on a wooden tray or chopping board and wrap it parchment paper
It can last up to 6 months in the freezer and 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator