Traditional 'Jāņu' cheese recipe

Take note – story published 1 year ago

Jāņu cheese has always been a Latvian staple especially for Midsummer celebrations and all year round. Seasoned cheesemakers have each their own recipe, but LSM's Latvian-language service has published one for beginners – simple and delicious.

Folklorist Ilga Reizniece told LSM that historically, Midsummer feast was not that rich since harvest was not yet ripe. The bare minimum to serve was beer and cheese, as well as pies and pastries with rhubarb or cottage cheese.

A simple Jāņu cheese recipe goes as follows:

  • 3 l milk
  • 1 kg curd (cottage cheese)
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 g butter
  • salt
  • caraway seeds

Heat the milk to around 80 C, do not let it boil. Slowly scoop cottage cheese into the hot milk. Turn the heat to low, and slowly stir until the milk gets flaky and whey separates.

Dampen some gauze and line out a strainer with it. When the whey has separated, pour everything into the strainer and drain the whey moving the mass around by the corners of the gauze. When strained, put the hot cottage cheese back into the pot.

Beat eggs with salt and caraway and add to the cottage cheese. Add the butter and heat slowly, stirring, until it doesn't stick to the edges of the pot.

Rinse storage bowls with cold water so the cheese doesn't stick. Scoop the cheese into the bowls and let cool.

Classic Jāņu cheese has caraway in it so it is also often called caraway (ķimeņu) cheese, but you can also add dill, garlic, roasted hemp seeds, or poppy seeds.


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