Graukäse, literally translated “grey cheese”, is a typical product from our region, rich in tradition and very individual in taste. Our Graukäse is produced from skimmed cow’s milk by acid coagulation, has a very low fat content and requires a lot of manual work and experience in its production.
During the maturing process the cheese becomes increasingly piquant and its consistency changes from crumbly curd-like to compact and fleshy.
Graukäse can be used in the kitchen in a variety of ways:
The classical way to prepare it is sour, that is with oil and vinegar and plenty of finely sliced onion and just a pinch of salt and pepper, since Graukäse is already spicy.
Another way to use it is in cooked dishes such as Graukäse soup, Pressknödel (flat dumplings) or Graukäse terrine where its taste is dominant but unobtrusive.
If you would like to learn more about Graukäse, please read the interview with Thomas Lieb from Weerberg!
Hello, I am Thomas Lieb from Weerberg, our family has been producing Graukäse cheese there for four generations and I have been running the business since 1996.
Today we are specialized in making Graukäse, whereas my great grandfather mainly produced Emmental, Bergkäse (“mountain cheese”) and butter in various small dairies in Weerberg and in the huts of the surrounding alpine pastures.
What I can say about Graukäse is that it is very healthy and almost fat-free, since it is made from skimmed milk. The absolute fat-content of Graukäse is below 0.5%!
Ziegerkäse (goat cheese) matures much longer than Graukäse in separate containers and then we roll it into small balls by hand, just like in the old days, and put it away to mature further until it is really hard and suitable for grating, similar to Parmesan cheese. We use grated Zieger to add flavour to pasta, soups or Kasspatzeln (a local type pasta with cheese).
Here in Tyrol we eat Graukäse mostly sour with vinegar, oil and onions, everybody knows this dish here. Of course you can also put it on a buttered slice of bread, and it is used in a lot of recipes such as Krapfen, Pressknödel or the famous Graukas soup that became really popular recently because it’s so tasty and different, I’d like to say, from other soups.
Now I’ll try to explain you the production. We buy the skimmed milk from the dairy, at the moment from TirolMilch. We pick it up in our own truck and fill it into our tanks. Then we pump the milk into the prematuring basin where it is gently heated and where the bacteria cultures are added. This step depends on the experience of the cheesemaker, it’s a matter of instinct, so to say. The process continues until the cheese becomes reasonably firm so that it can be lifted out. We still do it exactly like in the old days: the cheese is lifted out in cheese cloths and left to drain above the basin. Then we put it into the press to remove the remaining whey. After that we add salt and pepper and put it in the curd mill to mix the spices properly with the cheese. Then we fill the cheese into moulds by hand and briefly press it again. The cheese remains in the moulds until the next day.
Another thing I can say about Graukäse is that it is a really authentic Tyrolean speciality that is sold mainly in Tyrol, though it also sells well in South-Tyrol (Alto Adige, Italy) and a little in Bavaria; but the main market for Graukäse is certainly Tyrol. Graukäse received the appellation of controlled origin recently, or a few years ago, which means that it can only be produced in Tyrol. I reckon that 4-500 tons of Graukäse are produced and eaten in Tyrol every year.