munster cheese soufflés {ffwd}

Munster Cheese Souffle

I LOVE cheese, especially smelly cheeses. One of the things I’ve recently learned is that the smelly cheeses are typically have washed rinds, which means that the outside of the cheese is brushed, or washed, with liquid as it ages. Different cheeses are washed with different liquids, each option providing a unique flavor profile to the cheese. Some cheeses are simply washed in brine. Other cheeses are washed with beer or cider. It depends on where the cheese is from and the local traditions.

This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie is miniature Munster Cheese Soufflés. Munster cheese is a soft washed-rind cheese made with cow’s milk that comes from the Alsace region of France. Munster, not to be confused with the mild Muenster I grew up with (and still enjoy), is known for its strong aroma and taste. In the Alsace region, the residents typically eat Munster cheese daily, often with rye bread or, to emulate the bread’s flavor, other food seasoned with caraway, cumin, or fennel seeds (which all look the same, though taste quite different).

Munster Cheese

For the soufflé, you start by making a thick bechamel sauce, seasoned with ground cumin. Then you whisk in egg yolks and stir in diced Munster. Finally, the egg whites are beaten until they are firm, then folded into the cheese mixture. Cheese soufflés have a reputation for being difficult to make, but I found it to be relatively easy.

Folding in Egg Whites

Dicing the cheese into small cubes was challenging. Even though the cheese was cold, it remained soft and sticky. After removing the rind, I tried freezing the wheel for about 15 minutes, but that didn’t make it any easier.

I bought a cheerful new set of ramekins for the soufflés. The dishes I had were too small. I always love an excuse to add to my dish collection.

The soufflés puffed up perfectly, and we ate them immediately. Good thing, because other two soufflés deflated within minutes. Reheated, they make an acceptable breakfast, though not at all light in texture.

I’ll admit that the taste was disappointing. It tasted like cheese soufflé with a hint of cumin. The strong and unique flavor of the Munster didn’t come through at all. That’s too bad because the cheese was pricy ($12 for a 7 oz wheel). Next time, I’ll save the cheese to enjoy on its own with bread or crackers, not as ingredient in something else.

I can’t find the recipe on-line, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. You can read more about other Doristas’ experiences with these soufflés here.

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Posted on 25 October 2013, in Cheese, French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Deflated within minutes? How about seconds? Glad you enjoyed – I was not able to find Muenster, sadly so I used a sharp cheddar. Not quite the same but…

  2. How cool that you could find some real Munster! Thanks for the tip on the cumin. I’ll cut back on it when I get around making it this weekend.

  3. Muenster cheese will be non-existent over in my locale, so will use cheddar when I do make this. Very informative post about cheese, thank you for that! I do think deflated souffles the day after (chilled) taste good too!

  4. Yikes, I bought the same exact cheese and paid a lot more! I loved the flavor…maybe b/c it wasn’t overwhelming. I used the leftover for a grilled cheese today…YUM!

  5. I couldn’t find “real” muenster, but maybe that’s a good thing? My American Muenster was very mild and I think I would have preferred cheddar instead.

  6. I couldn’t find the real muenster, so I made mine with cheddar…they were utterly delicious! I did order some french muenster, and can’t wait till it arrives, to give this another try! I’m not sure it it would work or not, but did you try spraying your knife with Pam. Just a thought! Have a wonderful weekend, Betsy!!

  7. Yay for smelly cheese. Boo for bland souffles. Sorry you didn’t love this one.

  8. I used american muenster, it was good, but I am going to search for the real stuff. As for the
    cumin, Hubby declared immediately, he did not like that spice, so that means forget it….
    However, I cut the amount in half and he loved it. You gotta do what you gotta do
    to please everybody….

  9. So weird that you couldn’t taste the cheese. I didn’t have the muenster but it should have come through, it’s strong? Interesting about the wash of the rind. I never knew about that…

  10. Sorry the cheese didn’t come through as much as you would’ve liked. Great post!

  11. I felt the same way. The cumin overpowered the cheese. NExt time – stronger cheese.

  12. What I know about this cheese is that the flavor is really not at all like the smell. Which is weird when you think of it. i like that it mellows in a soufflés. Jealous of your poof! Mine was more like a quiche.

  13. I love the little ramekins you bought for this recipe. It’s too bad that the cheese’s flavour didn’t come through, though.

  14. New dishes are always a cause for celebration :-)
    I enjoyed the cheese lesson – French Fridays are both tasty and educational!

  15. Betsy, your cheese soufflé look fabulous – took me a while to find the Munster cheese and I am a day late but I also enjoyed this recipe very much! I omitted the cumin and opted for freshly grated nutmeg instead – love that spice with melted cheese.
    By the way, your new ramekin looks very pretty – what a nice color, green (in every shade imaginable) is my very favorite color of all times!
    Have a great weekend, dear Betsy! – Loved the pictures of your niece!!!

  16. I think your souffle looks wonderful! I didn’t add the cumin, but probably should have. My muenster wasn’t the “fancy” kind – Whole Foods kind of let me down. But maybe that’s ok! It was definitely tasty, and it was a great reminder to make more souffle!
    (actually, I’m going to tonight for my Mom – her mother used to make them, so she wanted one for dinner – only to find out that Grandma made them with American cheese.. hahaha!)

  17. Very cool and informative info about the cheeses. Had no idea about that rind info and actually had not paid attention to the lack of a “e” in the French Munster. Sad since my family is from Alsace- I really need to pick up the slack on this stuff :) I was happy because even though I had to substitute a different “smelly cheese”… I found that I really liked it and am way more open to these in the future. Gosh I enjoyed this end result and your comment about the French eating the cheese daily with rye reminds me of how I enjoyed my soufflé slathered on a bread that was very “rye-like”. Your soufflé looks amazing and I totally want those little green ramekins- SO CHEERFUL… I would have bought them myself !!

  18. Your souffle looks great.. you bad that you were disappointed with the taste.
    I’ll take your hint and not spend on French Muenster.

    Love your ramekins. Even I need to buy a set soon.

  19. I’m sorry you were disappointed by the cheese flavor in these. I hate when recipes don’t let expensive ingredients shine.

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