Crowdie cheese is a Scottish, low-fat, soft cheese with a mild sour taste meant to be used as a fresh cheese. It is reminiscent of cottage cheese.
It is made with skimmed milk curdled with rennet. Sometimes sour cream is added. It can also be flavoured with herbs.
It is sold in tubs or in a log shape. Brands of crowdie cheese include Crannog, Gruth Dhu and Hramsa.
Crowdie cheese used to be eaten mixed with a bit of cream. It is also good on oatcakes or with fruit.
Making crowdie cheese
Traditionally, to make crowdie cheese at home, you would let whole full cream raw milk sour, skimming the cream off as it rose and using it for other purposes. As the milk soured, it would thicken. This step won’t work with pasteurized milk: it will just go bad.
Nowadays, to avoid the health risks of raw milk, pasteurized milk is used. To compensate, lactic acid is added so the same effects will result.
The milk is then heated on the stovetop until it has curdled, then put in a muslin bag to allow the whey to drain off. The curds are mashed with salt, then enriched with some cream or sour cream if available.
The curd is sometimes pressed into a shape, and allowed to age, during which it develops a greyish rind.
Crowdie was made at home.
Some say it was made before the Vikings; some attribute it to the Vikings.
Crowdie cheese is called “gruth” in Scots Gaelic.