Limburger cheese is a unique and distinctively pungent cheese, popularly associated with Germany and the Netherlands. It has been around for centuries, first developed in the 19th century as a regional specialty in the Limburg area of Belgium. Limburger cheese is a semi-soft cheese made from cow’s milk and is usually found in large round slabs that have been covered in wax. As the cheese matures, it develops a distinctively pungent aroma and creamy texture, which many people find unappealing.
There are several things which give Limburger cheese its distinctive character. Firstly, the cheese is made using traditional methods, involving natural fermentation; the bacteria which form this cheese are called brevibacterium linens. These bacteria create a unique flavor in the cheese and are responsible for the cheese’s strong aroma. Limburger cheese also contains salt for flavor and proteolytic enzymes which break down proteins. Finally, the cheese is aged for at least three months, which gives it its crumbly texture.
When purchasing Limburger cheese, consumers should be aware that the cheese lasts for a shorter amount of time than other varieties of cheese. The high moisture content in Limburger cheese means that it should be stored carefully, ideally in a refrigerator. Although some people may prefer to purchase their Limburger cheese pre-sliced, it’s best to buy a whole cheese and slice it when needed.
Limburger cheese has a widely varied flavor profile; the cheese can range from being mild and sweet, to being strong and pungent. Its flavor depends on how it is aged, as well as its fat content. It is often described as having a pronounced earthy aroma and flavors, with a touch of nuttiness and pungency.
Despite its pungency, Limburger cheese is actually much milder than many other smelly cheeses, such as blue cheeses, which have a more intense aroma and flavor. Due to its mildness, Limburger cheese is often used as a spreadable cheese. It pairs well with fruit and vegetables, as well as a variety of crusty breads and crackers.
Limburger cheese’s strong smell is one of its most well-known characteristics; it has been known to attract flies and other insects, earning the cheese the nickname “Stinky Cheese.” This aroma can also be quite overpowering, so it’s best to consume the cheese in a well-ventilated area away from other people.
Widely associated with Germany, Limburger cheese is most commonly eaten as part of a sandwich. A classic Limburger sandwich involves putting a piece of the cheese between two pieces of rye bread, along with slices of raw onion, and pickle. Some people also like to spread mustard, butter, or horseradish on their sandwich for an added layer of flavor.
Limburger cheese may not be for everyone, but it has a unique flavor and aroma beloved by many regular consumers. While it may require some getting used to, once you become accustomed to the distinct smell and taste of Limburger cheese, you’ll be sure to love it!
Cheese is a staple food worldwide, and no cheese is as unique or polarizing as Limburger. This soft, pungent cheese is a strong character even among other strong-smelling cheeses, and it has been produced the same way for centuries. Understanding the journey of this beloved German specialty cheese, from the milking of cows to the cutting of the cheese wheel, gives its fans a greater appreciation for how their prättzle and onion sandwiches came to be.
Milking Cows and Crafting Cheese
The heart of the Limburger cheese-making process is the milk. It is different from other cheeses in that full-fat raw milk from cows is used almost exclusively. This milk is sourced from local farms and is usually only several hours old when it enters the cheese plant.
At the cheese plant, the process to craft Limburger is started by pasteurizing the milk. This step is crucial in order to kill any unwanted bacteria and to ensure a consistent flavor profile. The milk is then heated to approximately 122-degrees Fahrenheit, cooled quickly using a cooling baths, and carefully pasteurized.
Once the milk has been pasteurized, it is ready to be inoculated with bacterial cultures and enzymes. The bacterial cultures help to promote the growth of microorganisms responsible for the characteristic aroma and flavor of Limburger. The enzymes are important for curd formation.
After adding these ingredients, the milk is heated once again and placed in a specially designed container. Here, it stays for about 18-24 hours at a temperature of between 93-96 degrees Fahrenheit. During this time, the milk further ferments, producing the cheese and whey. At this stage, the cheese is still quite runny and is referred to as a “blob” cheese.
The next step is to put the pasteurized and inoculated milk in molds and apply pressure to set the shape of the cheese. The molds can be circular, square, rectangular, or any other imaginable shape. Once the molds have been filled, the cheeses are placed in saltwater baths to draw out excess moisture, which contributes to preservation, mold growth, and flavor of Limburger cheese.
Aging and Brining
After the shaping process is completed, Limburger is ready to enter a ripening stage known as aging. During the aging stage, the cheese develops its characteristic smell and texture. Some Limburger is aged for three months, while the traditional Limburger is aged for eight months.
The aging process occurs in a series of rooms at the cheese plant. The cheese is stored in special maturing rooms with carefully monitored humidity and temperature settings. The temperature settings will range from 57 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity is kept at 90-95%.
One of the most important steps during Limburger’s aging process is regularly rind-brining. During this step, a brine mix of salt and water is applied to the outer surface of the cheese, which both protects and seasons the cheese. Brine is typically applied every other day for a period of five days or until the desired concentration of salt is achieved. Once the cheese has been brined, it is ready to be sold.
Packaging and Distribution
Limburger is most commonly found in smaller 6-ounce packages. These packages are usually covered in wax paper, so as to give the cheese more protection during shipping and storage. The cheese is sealed in the packages in order to maintain clean, sanitary conditions and reduce the risk of contamination.
Once the Limburger cheese has been packaged, it is ready to be distributed and sold. Limburger is often shipped in temperature-controlled containers in order to preserve the delicate flavor profile, scent, and texture of the cheese. Limburger is marketed to many countries, and although Germany may be the largest producer, it is also popular in the United States, where it can be found at select grocers and specialty delis.
Now that Limburger cheese has been made, distributed, and purchased, it is ready for consumption. Limburger is best enjoyed at room temperature for optimal flavor and to bring out the full-bodied earthiness of the cheese.
Limburger cheese pairs great with rye bread, so one of its most popular consumptions is in the form of a sandwich. To make the classic Limburger sandwich, spread a generous amount of Limburger cheese on two slices of dark rye bread and top it with an onion slice. The acidity of the onions helps to bring out the flavor of the cheese, while rye bread provides a complementary nuttiness that complements the essential Limburger flavor. Serve with a cold beverage, such as beer or apple cider, and you’re ready to experience the deliciousness that is Limburger cheese.
Limburger cheese is a unique and pungent variety that has been around for centuries.Understanding the process of how this beloved German specialty cheese is made allows us to appreciate its unique taste, texture, and aroma even more. From milk sourced from local farms to careful monitoring of the temperatures used in cheese-making, it is clear that a great deal of effort and care go into ensuring the production of quality Limburger cheese. Enjoying Limburger with a cold beverage and a slice of onion on fresh rye bread is a delight that cheese lovers around the world can appreciate.
|Vitamin A||0.34 mg|
|Vitamin D||0.5 ug|
|Vitamin D3||0.5 ug|
|Vitamin E||0.23 mg|
|Vitamin K||0.0023 mg|
|Vitamin B1||0.08 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.5 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.16 mg|
|Vitamin B4||0.0154 grams|
|Vitamin B5||0.00118 grams|
|Vitamin B6||0.09 mg|
|Vitamin B9||0.058 mg|
|Vitamin B12||0.00104 mg|
Daily Value 1.3 g
Daily Value 0.018 g
Daily Value 0.4 g
Daily Value 1.25 g
Daily Value 4.7 g
Daily Value 2.3 g
Daily Value 0.011 g
Daily Value 0.9 mg
Daily Value 0.0023 g
Daily Value 0.055 mg
|Aspartic Acid||1.477 grams|
|Glutamic Acid||4.51 grams|
|Total Sugars||0.5 grams||
|Caproic acid (6:0)||0.49 grams||
|Caprylic acid (8:0)||0.28 grams||
|Capric acid (10:0)||0.48 grams||
|Lauric acid (12:0)||0.87 grams||
|Myristic acid (14:0)||2.79 grams||
|Palmitic acid (16:0)||7.4 grams||
|Stearic acid (18:0)||3.05 grams||
|Butyric acid (4:0)||0.8 grams||
|Total Saturated fatty acids:||16.16 g|
|Oleic acid (18:1)||7.18 grams||
|Palmitoleic acid (16:1)||1.01 grams||
|Total Monounsaturated fatty acids:||8.19 g|
|Linolenic acid (18:3)||0.16 grams||
|Linoleic acid (18:2)||0.34 grams||
|Total Polyunsaturated fatty acids:||0.5 g|
|Total Sterols:||0.09 g|