Though Limburger Cheese’s greatest claim to fame is its smell, most of the smell is in the sticky, brownish rind. The bacteria, “Brevibacterium linens” which causes the colour also creates the smell, which is a strong, rotten odour.
Inside the rind, the cheese is semi-soft and ivory coloured, with a taste that is far from bland — it has a tang to it — but that is quite mild compared to the aroma of the rind.
To make Limburger, cow’s milk is pasteurized at 161 F (72 C), then cooled down to 86 F (30 C.) Bacteria and Rennet are then added, then the curd is cut and heated back up to 95 F (35 C.) The curd is then put in moulds, salted, let ripen for two weeks. Then it is transferred to longer term storage where it is aged between 1 1/2 and 3 months. During this time, the surface is smeared several times with a yeast and bacteria solution, and brine washed. During this time its colour and aroma develops.
The fat content can be between 20 and 50 per cent.
Though for all intents and purposes this is now rightly seen as a German cheese, Limburger was first made in Belgium by Trappist monks near Liege and sold in the market town of Limburg. The Germans started making it later, and really took to it.