Hessischer Handkäse cheese

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Hessischer Handkäse mit Musik

Description

‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ g.g.A. denotes small cheeses which were originally formed by hand and so became palm-sized. ‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ is to be classed among the sour milk cheeses. Sour milk cheeses are made primarily from sour milk quark produced only by acidification (without rennet).

‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ can take the form of smeared acid curd cheese (yellow cheese) with mould formation. In the latter case, the extent of the mould formation varies. The characteristic whole-cheese shape of ‘Hessischer Handkäse’ is determined by its traditional production. Each cheese weighs between 20 g and 125 g. ‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ is produced only in the low-fat category.

The cheese has the following characteristics:

(a) As smeared acid curd cheese (yellow cheese):

  • Exterior - smooth surface with golden-yellow to red-brown spread, fat, shiny appearance
  • Interior - white to slightly yellow in colour
  • Consistency - soft to firm, even ripeness from the outside inwards
  • Smell and taste - pure, spicy to piquant

(b) As smeared acid curd cheese (yellow cheese) with lactic mould formation (homemade):

  • Exterior - slightly yellow with white lactic mould layer, also one-sided, sometimes an uneven to wrinkly skin
  • Interior - white to yellow in colour, matt cut surface
  • Consistency - soft, even ripeness from the outside inwards
  • Smell and taste - pure, mild to slightly aromatic

Raw materials

The raw material for ‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ is sour milk quark. As the main ingredient for the cheese, it is of central importance. It is produced exclusively from cows' milk. Further ingredients are ripening salts, table salt (possibly iodinated), caraway, depending on the recipe variation, possibly casein and the pure cultures (red smear cultures).

Specific steps in production

Production consists of the following stages:

  • blending and grinding of the individual batches of sour milk quark
  • mixing with the ingredients such as ripening salts, table salt, possibly caraway, as well as the ingredients and cultures required for the respective types ‘smeared acid curd cheese’ or ‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ with lactic mould formation
  • forming of the cheeses
  • ripening of the cheese in the sweating room followed by post-ripening until the ‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ is packaged

Specific rules concerning slicing, grating, packaging, etc

The fully ripened cheese is packaged at the makers in the geographical area, since the cheese cannot be taken to other regions for packaging, as the quality of these small cheeses, each weighing at most 125 g, would suffer a great deal if they were transported unpackaged. Their surface would dry out during transport from the maker to another packaging firm. There would also be an excessively high risk of bacteriological infection during transport to the new packaging firm.

Concise definition of the geographical area

The federal state of Hessen

Link with the geographical area

‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ has been produced for centuries in a traditional manner on farms. The recipes and production methods have been maintained over time in Hessen's cheese factories and, adapted to modern requirements in sour milk cheese making, use the traditional production method.

The first historical mention of ‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ was in 1813, when people from the town of Gross Gerau sold their hand-formed cheese on the market in Mainz. As production increased, ‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ became a staple food for ordinary people. The economic and cultural significance of ‘Hessischer Handkäse’ was underlined by the invention of the cheese machine in 1893. This invention, by Peter Traiser II from Gross Gerau, enabled production of ‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ to be further increased. The Hüttenberger Land region, now in the Lahn-Dill District, was and still is a centre of production. From as early as 1835 onwards the local chronicle of Hochelheim municipality reported that trading with cheese brought money into the village. Over time a separate tradition has developed around the way ‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ is eaten. One of the region's best known variants involves placing the cheese in a special marinade of onions, vinegar and oil to produce so called ‘Handkäs mit Musik’. The traditional recipes for both production and consumption and the name ‘Hessischer Handkäs’/‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ have been retained up to the present day.

‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ is now produced in a few small and medium-sized artisanal cheese factories. They produce the speciality using traditional recipes and methods, adapted to modern technologies.

‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ is highly regarded in Hessen and neighbouring areas and is known as a typical Hessen dish. Every inn in Hessen simply has to offer both ‘Äbbelwoi’ (cider) and ‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’. Its major significance for the people of Hessen, both as a food and as an economic factor, led in the past to ‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ acquiring a special status in the region. ‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ therefore occupies a position of very special importance as part of Hessen’s food culture and in the public’s mind as a high-quality foodstuff. Today it is still regarded as typical of Hessen. Respect is paid to ‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ as Hessen's best known food through the television programmes ‘Handkäs mit Musik’, which reports about Hessen's culinary delights.

The uniqueness of ‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’ derives from the long experience of the Hessen cheese dairies in obtaining the best characteristics from each batch of sour milk quark in order to emphasise the best properties of the quark. This increases quality and ensures a uniformly high quality primary product. The traditional artisanal production and the experience contribute to the uniqueness and special nature of ‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’. ‘Traditional production’ means the selection, individual composition and mixing of individual batches of sour milk quark from different quark manufacturers into a production batch for ‘Hessischer Handkäse’/‘Hessischer Handkäs’. This method ensures a raw material that is almost completely homogeneous. The formed cheeses are ripened for 2-3 days, the temperature in the sweating room rising from about 18 °C to about 30 °C at the end of ripening. This ‘traditional method’ gives the cheese a stronger flavour.

The uniqueness and special character of ‘Hessischer Handkäse’/Hessischer Handkäs, above all the version with ‘Musik’, means that it is known as a Hessen speciality beyond the region's borders.

Reference: The European Commission

Calories in different varieties and various types of cheeses

The number of calories in various types of cheese is very similar when you compare your cheese to a similar types of cheese.

For example, almost cheeses that are similar to Cheddar cheese have around 400 calories per 100g

If the Hessischer Handkäse cheese is not listed below, select a similar type of cheese from the list below to get a rough idea for the number of calories in Hessischer Handkäse cheese.

The calorie lists are sortable by clicking the up and down arrows in the heading columns

Cheese type Calories per 100g
American cheese 371
Blue cheese 353
Camembert cheese 299
Cheddar cheese 402
Cottage cheese 98
Edam cheese 357
Farmer's cheese 98
Feta cheese 264
Fontina cheese 389
Goat cheese 364
Gouda cheese 356
Gruyere cheese 413
Mozzarella cheese 280
Parmesan cheese 431
Pimento cheese 375
Provolone cheese 352
Queso blanco cheese 310
Ricotta cheese 174
Roquefort cheese 369
Swiss cheese 380

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Errors and omissions

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