Raclette Swiss Cheese is famous for being eaten hot, often as a fondue cheese. The name comes from the verb racler, which means ‘to scrape’. It describes the way that the face of the cut cheese is traditionally melted and scraped away. So, it is a firm cheese produced from cow’s milk, with a sweet and musty aroma and a milky, full flavour. It is usually served with potatoes and pickles and is known to skiers on both sides of the Alps and Pyrenees.
Raclette Swiss Cheese is a dish indigenous to parts of Switzerland. The raclette cheese round is heated, either in front of a fire or by a special machine, then scraped onto diners’ plates. Traditionally the melting happens in front of an open fire, with the big piece of cheese facing the heat.
Raclette Cheese Production
Raclette cheese is being made with unpasteurized milk with 3-3.5% fat content. The milk is then poured into a big vat where it is warmed to a specific temperature while being mixed with some cultures and rennet to achieve the right acidity and for coagulation.
After a while, the milk thickens. The coagulated milk is called curd and the liquid is called whey. The curd of future raclette cheese is very soft compared to other cheeses. Once the curd is thickened enough, it is ready to be cut with a comb style attachment in the vat. Temperature control is important during the whole process and influences the consistency of the curd and the taste of the final product. The curd is then placed in circular moulds and pressed for a predesignated time. This cycle repeats several times to remove excess liquid and lactose until the desired consistency is reached.
Now it’s time for the brine bath. By submerging the cheeses in the salty liquid the salt pulls moisture from the surface and begins forming a rind. The secondary purpose is for the cheese flavour. The brine is often reused for the next batch of cheese. Finally, the cheese is stored in shelves, where the cheesemakers carefully monitor the temperature and humidity. Wooden shelves are being used to keep the moisture level right. During the ageing process, raclette cheese is washed and turned in regular intervals. It takes at least 90 days for the raclette to be ready for sale.
Raclette cheese is traditionally served with boiled or steamed potatoes and some pickled items that you can also buy at the store. These include cornichons or gherkins, olives, and pickled onions. Cured meats like ham, salami, or prosciutto are also usual accompaniments. It is also a perfect fondue cheese.
One way of serving raclette cheese involves a grill with small pans in which to melt slices of raclette cheese. This new way has been used since the 1950s. Generally, the grill is surmounted by a hot plate or griddle. In Switzerland, the electrical raclette is called “raclonette”. The device is put in the middle of the table. The cheese is brought to the table sliced, accompanied by platters of boiled or steamed potatoes, other vegetables and charcuterie. These are then mixed with potatoes and topped with cheese that is placed under the grill to melt and brown. Alternatively, slices of cheese may be melted and simply poured over food on the plate. The emphasis in raclette dining is on relaxed and sociable eating and drinking, the meal often running to several hours.
Cheese for Raclette or Fondue
Cheese for Raclette or fondue. Raclette is also a perfect cheese for fondue, alone or combined with Gruyere. Fondue is a Swiss melted cheese dish served in a communal pot (caquelon or fondue pot) over a portable stove (réchaud). It is heated with a candle or spirit lamp and eaten by dipping bread into the cheese using long-stemmed forks. It was promoted as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union (Schweizerische Käseunion) in the 1930s. Fondue initially became popular in the United Kingdom in the 1960s.
More Swiss Cheeses at Sagebury Fine Foods of Frome