Cheesemaking is easy and fun and this homemade crowdie (Scottish cheese) is well worth making for its rich creaminess and wonderful flavour, especially the traditional crunchy topping.
I love cheese, mature cheese, goat’s cheese, blue cheese and soft cheeses. One of the most famous cheeses from Scotland is a soft cheese called Crowdie. Check out this list of Top Ten Scottish Cheeses for more information.
I’ve always wanted to do a bit more in the way of cheese making after the success of my homemade Halloumi.
Ingredients for making crowdie cheese
You will need whole milk (no semi-skimmed milk here please) Rennet tablets, citric acid, sea salt and herbs and spices for flavouring (optional).
You can buy rennet tablets online from Amazon and health food shops too.
Crowdie is traditionally rolled in a mixture of crushed black peppercorns and pinhead oatmeal.
How to make crowdie
I used rennet tablets and only required 1/4 of a tablet to make my crowdie. You want to dissolve this in some cooled boiled water in one bowl. In another bowl dissolve 1/2 tsp of citric acid with a little boiled and cooled water.
Heat the milk till it reaches 90F/32C, use a thermometer to check the temperature here.
Add the citric acid solution to the milk and mix with a wooden spoon in an up and down style motion rather than the usual stirring.
Now cover the pan and just let it sit for about 30 minutes.
Now add half the rennet mixture and mix this again in the up and down style for about 10 seconds.
Put the pan back on the heat and let it get up to 105F.40C and keep it at this temperature for about 3-4 minutes.
You will be left with a pan full of what looks like cottage cheese, all lumpy. Now line a sieve with muslin and pour this lumpy cheese into the sieve over a large bowl to catch the whey.
Leave it for 15 minutes then add your salt and herbs if you want to add flavour to the crowdie.
I wanted to make a traditional style crowdie rolled in oats so I put a heavy weight on the cheese to press out as much of the whey as possible. This gives you a firmer sort of cheese.
Now simply pull off pieces of the cheese and roll into balls and flatten slightly (or sausage shapes) and then roll in a mixture of pinhead oatmeal and coarsely ground black pepper.
Let it set up in the fridge for a few hours before serving.
How long will homemade crowdie keep
Your cheese should keep in the fridge well wrapped for up to 5 days.
How to serve homemade crowdie cheese
I love to serve this cheese with oatcakes, on toast, or with crunchy French bread and some leafy salad on the side.
For me, it has to be oatcakes and slices of pear, perfect! Here is my recipe for how to make your own oatcakes.
You can also stir crowdie into pasta for a rich and creamy sauce and it goes really well in a baked potato too.
Save the whey
By the way, don’t chuck out the whey you saved in the bowl, you can use this in all sorts of recipes from bread making and soups to smoothies and cooking pasta and rice.
You can even use it as a bath treat and soak in it yourself for a great skin treat.
Looking for other easy homemade dairy recipes to try? Then check these out before you go;
Homemade Scottish Crowdie Cheese
- thermometer, muslin
- 1/4 tablet of vegetarian rennet
- 1/2 tsp citric acid
- 2 lt whole milk
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 tbsp coursely ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp pinhead oatmeal
- Dissolve 1/4 of a rennet tablet in 50ml of cooled boiled water and also dissolve 1/2 tsp of citric acid in 25ml of boiled and cooled water and set both aside.
- Gently heat the milk in a large pan to 90F/32C.
- Add the citric acid solution and mix in with a wooden spoon using an up and down motion instead of the normal swirl.
- Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Now add half the rennet mixture and again mix in using the up and down method for about 10 seconds.
- Put the pan back on the stove and heat the mixture to 105F/40C and keep it at this temperature for 3 minutes.
- The pan will be full of lumpy looking curds a bit like giant cottage cheese!
- Line a colander with the muslin and place this over a large bowl to catch the whey. Now very carefully pour the curds into the colander allowing the whey to drain into the bowl below.
- Leave for 15 minutes to drain and then add 1/2 tsp salt.
- As I wanted to make the traditional Scottish crowdie that is almost firm and served in a roll covered with oats and pepper, I chose to wrap the muslin around the curds and place a heavy jar on top (homemade yogurt in case you are interested) to press out as much liquid as possible.
- I then pulled off pieces of the cheese and rolled into balls slightly flattening them into patties.
- Mix some pinhead oatmeal with coursely ground black pepper and press the cheese pattie into the mix making sure it is completely covered. Do this with the rest of the cheese and then pop them in the fridge to set up a bit.
- Serve your homemade crowdie with oatcakes, on toast or with crunchy French bread and some leafy salad on the side. For me it has to be oatcakes and slices of pear, perfect!