Sweet • Sour • Savory

Food blog on scandinavian style food done right.


Head Cheese - Sylte

Brunch, Christmas, Holiday, Lunch, Meats, PorkTove Balle-PedersenComment
Head Cheese - Sylte

Head Cheese - Sylte

6th Day of Christmas.

Sylte or head cheese as it is called in English is a cold cut danes often eat around christmas time. It might be an old tradition and maybe young people will not carry this tradition on, but if the sylte or head cheese is well made, it is very good. My dad was the one who made the sylte in my house. I loved the homemade version, but the commercial version was to hard, fatty and salty for my taste. Originally the sylte is made from meat from the head of the pig. But it is easier to use more available cuts, such as hocks, loin roast or pork belly.
I made this sylte so I can have this traditional cold cut for my Christmas lunch. 

Makes 2 medium or 3-4 small


  • 750 g pigskin from the pork belly
  • 1 hock, with skin and bone
  • ½ gallon (2 liter) water
  • 200 ml vinegar
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 3 pounds (1½ kg) pork loin
  • 5 teaspoons (35-40 g) salt
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 4-5 sheets husblas or 8-10 g non-flavored gelatin powder


Put water, vinegar, Peppercorns, cubed pigskin and hock in a large pot, bring it to a boil and let it simmer for about 2 hours.  Discard the pigskin. Add the cubed pork loin to the soup, and keep simmering for another 1-1½ hours, until all the meat has fallen of the bone tender.

Remove hock and pork loin, and let it cool for a while, so you can handle it. Strain the soup into a clean pot. 

Soak the husblas in cold water or bloom the gelatin according to package instructions. 

In a large bowl, season the pork loin and the meat from the hock with salt. Pull some of the meat a bit apart. Fill 2-4 loaf pans ¾ up with the meat. 

Melt the husblas/gelatin in the soup and pour it over the meat. Cover the loaf pans and let them rest for about 24 hours in the refrigerator before slicing. 

Eat the head cheese on Danish rye bread topped with mustard and pickled beets.