Hop Infused Cheese
What is the one thing that can make cheese better? HOPS! Ooohh yeahhhhhh! I was inspired to do this in a class lead by the great cook and author, Lucy Saunder. She said the two most magical words that left me spellbound, “hop cheese.” The simple infusion she had published in the online magazine Food Loves Beer. I added the melty part, enjoy!
There are two ways to prepare hop cheese: one is a simple infusion, the other is for the more adventurous molecular gastonomists who want to make oooey goooey hoppy cheese
What you will need for a simple infusion:
Cheese, any hard cheese will do
hops, flower or pellet
Additions for the gooey melty cheesy style:
First, let me answer the question in your head, “WTF is sodium citrate? It sounds like something that will kill me!” OK calm your neurosis and get ready to learn.
You know when you melt cheese and the oil separates and it becomes a greasy mess? Sodium Citrate will fix that. Sodium Citrate is an emulsifier for oils when making cheese. It allows the cheeses to melt without becoming greasy. Here’s a quick video to explain further.
OK, lets begin the simple infusion! I chose Columbus hops for the simple reason the aroma said, “Pungent.” When I think cheese, I think pungent, so it seemed like a no brainer. The world is your oyster here, boys and girls; there are countless combinations.
Start off by cutting your cheese of choice into cubes. The smaller the cube, the more aromatics will penetrate into the cheese. Grab a handful of hops and put them in the bottom of your glass container. Cover the hops with a sheet of parchment paper. The reason for using parchment is it is porous. This will allow the oils from the hops to seep into the cheese without getting pieces of leaves in mixed in. Put cheese cubes on top of parchment, cover, and put in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Voilà, you have hop cheese!
For my more adventurous molecular gastonomists who want to make oooey goooey hoppy cheese follow these steps:
Start off by cutting your cheese of choice into cubes. The smaller the cube, the more aromatics will penetrate the cheese. Grab a non-stick, oven-safe dish and spray it with non-stick spray. Put the cubes in the bottom of the dish.
Cut off a big piece of parchment paper and lay it down flat. Now grab a handful of your hops and spread it in the middle of the parchment. Fold the parchment into a little packet that will fit nicely on top of the cubed cheese. The reason for using parchment is it is porous. This will allow the oils from the hops to seep into the cheese and not the leaves/pellets.
Cover with foil and put in the refrigerator for 3-5 hours.
Take your dish out of the refrigerator and put it in the oven at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and put aside.
In a sauce pan, dissolve the sodium citrate in some water, or beer (like in the video above). Turn heat to medium and slowly add in the cheese, continuously whisking as you pour. You are finished when the cheese is the texture of Velveeta.
Pour into molds or back into the dish and put into refrigerator to slice later, or put it straight onto a cheeseburger or nachos!