Many know limburger cheese for its characteristic pungent smell. While its aroma may turn off some, the spicy, slightly sweet taste of this soft cheese is nectar to others. Although terrific by itself, the sharp flavor of limburger is complemented by other robust-flavored foods such as anchovies, sausage, raw onions or rye bread.
Limburger cheese is made by fermenting bacteria named Brevibacterium linens, the same bacteria that live under the human skin and causes foot odor. Making your own limburger cheese involves a six-week fermentation process that results in a "stinky" cheese all your own.
Cooking Limburger Cheese
At least 16 hours before making cheese, prepare penicillium candidum solution by melting salt and sugar in half a cup of water. Add penicillium candidum and pour mixture into an atomizer. Place the atomizer in the refrigerator to activate the solution.
Pour the milk into the stockpot and warm to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add calcium chloride (if milk has been pasteurized), lactic starter culture, diluted cheese colorant, diluted brevibacterium linens and prepared penicillium candidum solution. Stir the mixture vigorously to combine ingredients.
Add rennet and then whisk the mixture briskly for one minute.
Cover the pot and let the mixture sit for 45 to 60 minutes to allow curd to set. Once curds appear, cut into half-inch chunks with a knife, then stir mixture gently for 10 minutes.
Increase temperature to 92 degrees Fahrenheit over 15 minutes, then stir for another 15 minutes. The mixture will thicken considerably.
Remove the curds from heat and drain off the whey.
Place two cheese hoops on mats on top of a draining board near the sink. Pour curds into hoops and allow curds to continue to drain. Turn hoops to help drain and firm up the cheese.
Remove cheeses from the hoops, cut into cheese bricks and roll in salt.
Age the cheese for three weeks at a temperature range between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 90 percent humidity. For the first 10 days, turn cheese every other day and wash with brine. Brush the cheese with a baster brush to spread bacteria. For the next 10 days, wash with brine and brush every three to four days.
Wrap limburger cheese in parchment paper, then foil.
Age wrapped limburger for another three weeks at 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, the cheese will be solid with a crumbly center and soft outer edges with a taste similar to feta cheese. As the cheese ages over the next few months, it will become softer, almost cream cheese-like, and both the odor and taste will become more intense.
Limburger is best consumed within three months of when it started the aging process.
Most ingredients can be found at a cheese-making supply store.