Brousse du Var is a fresh cheese made from sheep’s milk.
In fact, it is so fresh, that the cheese is sold on the same day it’s made.
It is usually made for 1 to 1 1/2 months after Easter. The area of production is the French Varois coast, especially near Toulon (between Marseille and Saint-Tropez on the south coast of France.)
The milk used is from the Mérinos and Commune breeds of sheep.
The traditional method of making Brousse du Var is to heat the milk in a water bath to 194 F (90 C.) Then you reduce the temperature to 104 F (40 C), add 2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) of rennet per 2.6 US gallons (10 litres) of milk. Let the milk curdle for half an hour, then put the curd in aluminum moulds with small holes in them to drain. Refrigerate the cheeses at a temperature between 32 and 39 F (0 and 4 C.) making sure to use within 6 to 7 days. The cheese would be unmoulded directly into the container that the customer had brought with.
Modern method: Heat the milk to 177 F (81 C) and hold it there for 20 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 98 to 100 F (37 to 38 C) and add 4 1/2 oz (133 ml) of rennet per 26 1/2 US gallons (100 litres.) Allow it to curdle for 10 to 15 minutes, then put into the same plastic containers it will be sold in.
A Brousse is a term for soft cheese made in Provence, France, made from sheep or goat’s milk. It may be so soft as to be like a cream cheese, or have more texture to it, like a ricotta. The term Brousse comes the French words “brousse” / “brousser”, which have several meanings to them. Some feel that the meaning that applies to the cheese is the meaning of “beaten” — but then not all brousse cheeses have their curd beaten. Others feel that the meaning that applies is that of “woods, bush, back-woods” alluding to the sheeps or goats wandering about in off the beaten track, hard-scrabble patches of land.