Rygeost, Danish smoked cheese is a local tradition from the island of Funen or Fyn as it is called in Denmark. Rygeost is a smoked fresh cheese, so it is a soft, and fairly spreadable cheese. You can use the cheese on pizza, in mayonnaise based salads or with seafood. But more traditionally you will eat it as an open-faced sandwich on a slice of rye bread, with sliced radishes and chives on top.
- 1 quart (1 L) organic whole milk, I used Saint Benoît Organic Whole Jersey Milk
- ¼ cup (1 dl) organic butter milk
- 3 drops rennet, I used Animal Rennet from New England Cheesemaking Supply Co.
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
Equipment for smoking:
- 1 charcoal starter (chimney)
- 2-3 handfuls dry straw (if you have straws from oat or wheat, you will get the best favor)
In a large pot heat whole milk and buttermilk to 26℃/79℉. Pour the mixture into a scalded plastic container, mix in the rennet and put a lid on. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 21-24 hours.
After 21-24 hours, cut the coagulated milk (cheese curds) with a knife in small cubes, this will help releasing the whey from the curds.
Scoop the cheese curds into a strainer/colander lined with cheesecloth. Let the cheese drain for 2 hours before adding the salt. Let the cheese drain for another 5-7 hours. The fresh cheese will hold for 3-4 days in the refrigerator without adding anything else. The whey (liquid) can be used for baking bread.
Place the cheese in a strainer or on some kind of grate. Place the grate on top of a charcoal starter (chimney) filled with dry straws/hay. Light the hay from the bottom of the starter, and smoke the cheese for just about 60 seconds. The cheese is quickly flashed with the hay smoke to produce the unique flavor. Place the cheese upside-down on a plate with the smoke-lines up. Sprinkle with caraway seeds.
Serve the smoked cheese on a slice of Danish rye bread with sliced radishes and chives.