Ossau Iraty cheese: it is one of the sheep milk classics from Aquitane, France. Sheep’s milk, with its high butterfat content (higher than any cow or goat milk around), yields an amazing curd like no other. To me, sheep milk is sacred. Try to seek it out on a supermarket shelf, and you’ll find none. Call your local sheep cheese maker and you’ll find only serious negotiating will work to exchange dollars for one gallon. Why is it so precious? The sheep milk season is shorter and the milk quantity is much smaller than cow or goat milk. All milk must be saved for cheese and yogurt production. It’s the only way the sheep dairy can survive in the United States.
The cheese is creamy and supple, with a natural rind lit up by orange, white, and gray hues. Ossau boasts aromas of toasted wheat and nuts, and tastes sweet and grassy on the palate. It is also a perfect semi-hard texture for melting, which makes it an excellent cheese for this recipe. The walnuts pair seamlessly with the toasted nut aromas of the cheese itself.
Kristina Mazzio, a friend and photographer for Cheese Grotto, is the brains and visuals behind this recipe. An experienced pastry cook, Kristina weaves cheese and baking science into many different delicious wonders.
- 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 4 oz unsalted butter
- 4 eggs
- 4 oz Ossau Iraty
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoon yeast
- 3 tablespoons warm water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Begin by dissolving the yeast in warm water, set aside. Next chop the walnuts and cut the Ossau Iraty into small cubes. In a large bowl beat the eggs until the yolks are broken. Slowly stir in flour and then butter. Next add the yeast. Once that is incorporated add the walnuts and the cheese. Scoop the batter into a well greased mini muffin pan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before taking the muffins out of the pan and cooling for another 30 minutes on a baking rack. Or you can just eat them warm.