Things to do with Brown Cheese
Ask any Norwegian and they will tell you that brown cheese – also known as Brunost or Geitost – is the most popular cheese in the whole of Norway.
Brown, you may ask, why is it brown? Well, it is brown because the milk has been allowed to boil, thus caramelizing the milk sugars and turning the cheese a darker, caramel colour. Yes, it is a goats cheese with caramel flavour. We know, it sounds strange, but truly, it’s pretty awesome (unless you are part of the anti-brown cheese people – it is a bit like Marmite, you either love it or hate it).
We stock a few different kinds. The main one is called Gudbrandsdalen and is made with half goat’s milk and half cow’s milk. You can also get the blue one called Ekte Geitost (Real Goat’s Cheese) which is made with 100% goats milk and has a stronger taste.
Brunost brown cheese is eaten sliced on bread. Often, it is also served sliced on top of freshly baked waffles. Can also be added sliced to cardamom buns or lefse wraps.
We wanted to try and find other uses for it, so we have had a play around with it and we decided – after mucho testing – that Brunost Mac’n’Cheese is the bees knees and we’ll be making this from now on – find the recipe below.
You can also use left over bits of brown cheese in your gravy – just add a few lumps and leave to melt, it is super nice as it has a very umami flavour.
Brown cheese can also be cooked up with condensed milk to make a lovely umami dulce de leche that works very well with apple cakes and pies. Lastly, in Norway, cafes are now selling Brown Cheese Ice cream, too. Plenty of things to try out!
Serves 2 people
300g Macaroni pasta, uncooked
25g plain flour
Approx 400-500ml whole milk
100g grated cheddar
50g grated brown cheese (Gudbrandsdalen)
1 tsp dijon mustard
3-4 tbsp vinegar (taste it)
Handful of breadcrumbs
Optional – 50g chopped crispy fried pancetta (our Jonas preferred it with bacon).
Cook the pasta until al dente, drain.
Melt the butter in a saucepan – and keep it going until it turns light brown, then add the flour and stir. Start adding the milk, bit by bit, whilst whisking. You may not need all the milk – you want a thick sauce, but not runny. Keep bringing to the boil to assess.
When the sauce is done, turn off the heat and stir in the cheddar and 30g of the brown cheese and combine until melted. Add the mustard, salt and pepper and taste – it will be quite sweet, so you need to add some vinegar, try 2 tbsp first and then if more is needed, add.
Add the pasta to the sauce and stir, then add to an oven proof bowl. Scatter the rest of the brown cheese on top and then add a thin layer of breadcrumb. Place in a hot oven for around 10-15 minutes until the top is crispy and bubbling and the brown cheese has melted.
Serve with a side salad. Pure comfort!