Fresh sour milk cheese

by | Jul 12, 2022

Nowadays, the supermarket shelves are stocked to the brim with different kinds of milk products. The manufacturers compete in finding new ways to flavor yoghurt or brand the cheese. Cheeses such as fresh sour milk cheese are considered so natural and simple that we completely take them for granted, or overlook them for fancier imported products.

But only a hundred years ago, the situation was very different in Sweden. For many, fresh cheese was still a luxury. After all, the work on the Swedish summer farms produced one important, valuable good: butter. But once the cream for the butter had been removed, liter after liter of milk still remained. As the goal was to have an ample supply of food for the winter, the natural solution was to convert the milk into cheese that could be stored for a long period of time.

making cheese on a summer farm, such as fresh sour milk cheese
Making cheese that can be stored for a long time. Lillhärdal’s parish, Källvallen summer farm, Jämtland. Photo: Karl Heinz Hernried, Nordiska museet.

With that kind of cheese, you know you’ll be alright when the snow covers everything and you have to live on what you’ve managed to grow, hunt and forage.

Fresh cheese, made for consumtion shortly after the making, was a luxury reserved for festivities such as Midsummer.

fresh sour milk cheese, färskost med filmjölk

How to make fresh sour milk cheese

This is one the simplest type of cheese you can make. It is especially popular during the summer festivities such as Midsummer.

3 liters (12 cups) of milk
1 liter (4 cups) of sour milk
0,5 tsp salt
Optional flavouring: 3 tbsp cut herbs, such as chives or parsley, or 2 tbsp caraway seeds.

Pour the milk and sour milk into a pot. Heat it on mid-temperature, stirring, until the mixture reaches about 55°C (130°F). Remove the mixture from the heat.

Put a colander over a bowl and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Pour the mixture into the towel and let it sit in the fridge overnight. You may want to empty the bowl after a little while — the liquid can be used for baking.
Mix the fresh cheese with salt and any flavorings. Store it in the fridge and eat within a few days.


If you live in an area where sour milk is hard to come by, you can instead use unflavored yoghurt, sour cream or crème fraîche.

Do you have a little sour milk? You can make more by heating 4 parts milk to finger-temperature, then taking it from the heat and stirring in 1 part sour milk. Cover it and leave it in room temperature over night, or until it has thickened and turned tart.


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Hej och välkommen!

My name is Isabelle. Here at Swedish Spoon, you’ll find Swedish food history, tried-and-tested recipes, and a lot of obsessing over great butter. You can also expect some travel tips.