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Cheesepalooza #7 Havarti

The great thing about cheese is there is something for everyone. There is strong cheese or mild cheese. Soft cheese or hard cheese.  Goat, cow or sheep milk cheese. Fresh cheese or mature cheese.  Processed cheese or Artisan cheese.  Mouldy cheese. Whatever the cheese you’ll have one or two types that are your favourite and one that you hate.  This is the crazy world of cheese. Every time I ask someone what their favourite cheese is, I get a different answer. There is no right or wrong.

This month the Cheesepalooza challenge was to make a washed rind cheese.  The options were Gouda, Fontina or Edam.  Having made Gouda, Fontina and Edam successfully in past I decided to make something new. The other suggestion was Havarti, not washed rind cheese but a washed curd cheese.

Havarti is a fairly straightforward cheese to make.  You add the starter culture, cut the curd and wash it with some warm water. It is then pressed.

I’ve had some difficulties applying enough, even weight to my cheese so I wasn’t very pleased when I cut into the final product to find some holes.  Holes suggest the cheese hasn’t been pressed with enough weight.  It also runs the risk of providing air pockets for unwanted mould to grow.  As much as I want to make blue cheese, the blue mould has to be intentional.

I’m not sure quite how to describe Havarti.  It is not that dissimilar to the texture of a mild cheddar. The recipe book said you can eat it young or age to taste.  This Havarti has confirmed that I like a mature cheese.  One week in and the cheese lacked flavour.  This is a cheese for those people that buy cheese slices and mild cheddar.  Despite the addition of the dill, it still lacked flavour.

I tasted the cheese because the recipe said you could eat it young but I have my doubts, so I have packaged it up to continue aging for a few more months. I am hoping to get a little more depth of flavour from the Havarti in the future.

  • Appearance: Processed, with a thin rind
  • Nose (aroma): Mellow
  • Overall Taste: Bland
  • Sweet to Salty: Mildly savoury
  • Mild (mellow) to Robust to Pungent (stinky): Mild
  • Mouth Feel: (gritty, sandy, chewy, greasy, gummy, etc.): Plastic

*Edit thanks to information from Curds and Wine


Comment from Ian
Time March 3, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Well done, it looks like a nice cheese. Don’t worry about the mechanical holes in the paste, traditionally this type of cheese has them. As long as you have a solid rind you shouldn’t have to worry about mold on the in inside. I like my Havarti aged a minimum of two months before I try it. It also make a great base for a washed rind cheese, providing you leave out the dill.


Comment from G @ Curds and Wine
Time March 4, 2013 at 5:01 am

Isn’t this type of cheese technically called a “washed curd” cheese, not “washed rind”? I believe “washed rind” means cheeses that are literally washed after pressing with a solution of beer, wine, brine, or even B. linens.

Beyond that, your cheese is beautiful! I think the flavor will develop more with some time.

Comment from Claire @ Claire K Creations
Time March 4, 2013 at 6:58 am

I’m still in awe of the fact that you can even make cheese! It looks wonderful to me even if it is a little mild or holey. Just adds character I think.

Comment from nic
Time March 8, 2013 at 4:05 am

Thanks for the comments.

G thanks for the correction. It can be a complicated business this cheese making lark!

Comment from Colin
Time March 14, 2013 at 1:53 am

Regarding the lack of enough pressure,visit your local DIY store and go to the woodworking area where you should find clamps that hold wood down for sawing or for gluing two pieces together.It looks like a long flat piece of metal with two movable jaws,one of which has a trigger like arrangement on that you squeeze and drives one of the jaws along the the metal strip(this is a very long winded description of a very simple tool)Now,if Graham can cut you a wooden disc with a slightly smaller diameter to your cheese press so that it sits on the top of your press,you can then fit the clamp over the press,and apply as much or as little pressure as you need.

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