Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cheese: Leyden

Leyden cheese is traditionally from the Leiden area of the Netherlands. 
It was originally developed as a way to use semi-skimmed milk, a byproduct of the butter making process. The farmers in the Leiden area added cumin seeds and anatto to give it a reddish color. Cumin is an aromatic spice sometimes used in curry powder blends and used in Mexican and North African cooking and imparts a strong, smoky flavor. 
The Leyden cheese is also salted with dry salt or immersed in a brine bath and cured in a cool, moist cellar. Judy and I both like the texture of Leyden cheese, but the taste was not our favorite. 
The cumin taste is very strong in it and it apparently intensifies as it matures. However, I have noticed that as I have eaten more of it, I am becoming more accustomed to it and like it more and more. It is fun to try because it is so different. It is also less fatty than most cheese because it is made with less fatty milk.

1001 Foods You Must Taste Before You Die (Frances Case, p. 331) lists Leidsekaas cheese as the Dutch version of Leyden. It notes that aging, often for many years, transforms the cheese. I'm going to put some aged Leyden or Leidsekaas on my list of cheeses that I need to try. 

1 comment:

  1. My mom loves cheese like this the bad part of it it's that I'm lactose intolerant.