The Best Tirolean Spring Recipes: Homemade Cheese with Stinging Nettle and Apple Wedges
Is it really possible to make your own cheese from whole milk in just 10 minutes? Sure, it’s as easy as pie! The consistency of the Tirolean version is similar to Paneer cheese, it is a mild cheese and it tastes best when fried.
- 2 litres of whole milk
- 1/3 cup of apple or pear vinegar
- Large pot
- Linen or cotton cloth
Heat the milk to about 90 degrees in a pot. The milk should be simmering but make sure it does not get too hot – you don’t want the milk to boil over.
Tip: Use quite a large pot. If you are using 2 litres of milk, you should use a 4-litre pot.
Stir the milk while you are heating it, so it doesn’t burn.
Now you have to keep a close eye on the milk: shortly before it boils over, take the pot off the hob and stir in the vinegar.
Keep on stirring – gently but make sure everything is mixed together well. The cheese curds will start separating from the whey.
Now you need the cheese cloth for straining. A linen or cotton cloth from a textile shop is recommended.
Tip: Before using the cloth in the kitchen, wash it without any washing powder.
Wet the cloth and lay it over a colander. Slowly pour the mixture into the colander.
Close the cloth and slowly press the liquid (whey) out of the cheese.
Tip: You can use the whey as a bath supplement – it will make your skin feel so smooth.
Press the fresh cheese together and leave it to cool for 5 minutes.
If you decide to fry it, you’ll need:
- 40 fresh stinging nettle leaves
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 1 to 2 apples
- Chili flakes
- Olive oil
Cut the cheese into cubes, chop some onion rings and cut the apples into wedges.
You’ll need two hands full of stinging nettles leaves for this recipe. Remove the stems, wash the leaves really well and dry them.
Tip: When harvesting stinging nettle leaves, it’s important to wear thick gardening gloves. Don’t worry; once heated, the nettle hairs are harmless. After picking the leaves, you have to use them up quite fast, otherwise the flavour disappears. Once the plants are already blossoming, then harvesting the leaves is not recommended anymore.
Fry the onions until they are slightly brown, add the cheese and also fry it slightly.
Now add the apple wedges and the stinging nettle leaves.
While everything is frying in the pan, add some salt and chili flakes. You can add a generous amount of salt because the homemade cheese does not have a strong flavour yet.
Now your delicious spring recipe is ready! Grießschmarren (a typical Tirolean dish with semolina) or Erdäpfelwirler (a typical Tirolean dish with potatoes) are the perfect side dishes. It’s time to share this cheese snack with your friends!
The spring recipes of this blog series were created for us by Oscar Germes Castro. In his tiny restaurant „Oscar kocht“ in Innsbruck, he cooks meatless, easy treats with regional, organic ingredients and products.
Photos: Charly Schwarz