What is Gjetost Cheese? How it Compares to Cheddar, Taste & Recipes

Scandinavian brown cheese, crispy bread and coffee

What is Gjetost Cheese? How it Compares to Cheddar, Taste & Recipes

Cheese is a staple in many recipes worldwide. Sweet doesn't come to mind when we think of all the many types of cheese available. Most cheese types, whether from cow or goat, have a sharp, tart, or salty flavor. Yet, gjetost cheese (pronounced YAY-toast) varies significantly from the typical ones many appreciate in their cuisine. What is gjetost cheese anyway? Also, why does it have a sweet fudge-like flavor, and is it even cheese? 

Some people swear by gjetost cheese and enjoy it as a dessert after a savory dinner or with their cup of coffee in the morning. Other people are apprehensive to try a dessert-like food that touts a name that so closely resembles salty, crumbly, and tart cheese. However, those with an adventurous side, who love trying new and exciting foods, may be pleasantly surprised when they try gjetost cheese. 

What is Gjetost Cheese?

Gjetost may fall in the cheese category. However, it is far from the typical cheese many enjoy with their cuisines. In fact, it's not really cheese at all. Gjetost cheese falls into the brunost category, which stands for brown cheese. This category comes from the leftover whey. Although it is not technically cheese, it is produced in a very similar fashion. The added word cheese at the end can be confusing for consumers.

Gjetost cheese doesn't have the tart, sharp flavor or a yellow or white coloring that cheddar or colby has. Instead, This cheese is a caramel brown, similar to a fudge. It is also pretty sweet with a touch of saltiness. 

Gjetost is Norwegian. Additionally, gjetost means “goat cheese.” This is because gjetost comes from goat's milk or a combination of goat's milk and cream. 

The cooking process gives the gjetost cheese its lovely brown color and sweet flavor. We have the Maillard reaction's grand work to thank for the gjetost cheese's distinction.  

Making cheese starts with breaking down the acidity and enzymes of the milk. Afterward, the cheese breaks into curds and whey (did you start singing Little Miss Muffet just then?).

Typical cheese comes from the curds. The curds consist of protein solids and fat. The whey is the sugar, minerals, and leftover water. When making gjetost, you ditch the curds and cook the whey until it becomes sweet and sticky. Some recipes call for a little bit of cream. Whether or not one uses cream, the result is always a caramel-like sweet and tasty treat.

Taste and Texture of Gjetost Cheese

Many describe the flavor of gjetost cheese as similar to butterscotch, caramel, or fudge. It is pretty sweet, nothing like what you would expect to bite into when consuming cheese. Gjetost is also rich and smooth, with a little bit of saltiness. 

You can enjoy gjetost cheese on its own or in a recipe. Many people love to eat it with their coffee in the morning. Cut up a few wafers or slices and enjoy the sweetness with nothing added! Gjetost also makes a great dessert or breakfast. 

Scandinavian brown cheese isolated on white background
Gjetost is a sweet caramel-like treat that many enjoy for breakfast or as an after-dinner snack in the mornings.


History and Origin of Gjetost Cheese

Gjetost has been around for quite a long time. However, the modern-day gjetost came around over 100 years ago. We have Anne Hov to thank for her incredible creation. 

One day in 1863, Anne asked for leftover whey. She had decided she wanted to make gjetost. While she was in the process of making this cheese, she added a small amount of cream. The result was absolutely delicious! First, she called this cheese feitost, or fat cheese. 

From there, Anne started experimenting with gjetost cheese, which eventually led to selling it first in the village and then in Oslo. For her hard work, dedication, and contribution to the economy in her region, Anne received the King's Medal of Merit. Her contribution helped the region in more ways than one! 

How Does it Compare to Cheddar?

Gjetost is quite different than cheddar. For starters, the cooking process is different. Gjedost comes from the whey, while cheddar is made from curd. Additionally, gjetost tastes sweeter than cheddar and is brown. At the same time, cheddar has a sharp flavor and yellow or white color. 

One can eat and enjoy both excellent cheeses, cheddar, and gjetost, in different ways and recipes. 

Recipes to Try With Gjetost Cheese 

If you want a new recipe with gjetost cheese, try one of these delicious ones! 

One Last Note

If you are a cheese lover, you may be apprehensive about trying a sweet and caramel-like cheese. After all, cheese isn't supposed to be sweet, is it? Gjetost cheese may not look or taste like the typical cheese you are used to, yet it can be a tasty and much-loved treat you enjoy! 

To top