Almnäs Brick (Almnäs Tegel) is a hard-pressed “scalded” cheese, its square shape inspired by the handmade bricks manufactured by the Almnäs brick factory from the 1750’s onwards.
On the rind, you can see the imprint of a small child’s foot, a historical reference to real footprints found in the brick floor in the attic of the manor house. Hundreds of years ago as the bricks dried in the sun, the farm workers’ children ran over them, leaving their footprints. Since then, a child’s footprint has been imprinted on every clay brick manufactured at Almnas. Brick production ended in 1976, but we continue the tradition today: the same logo is imprinted in the rind of every Almnäs Brick cheese.
Each cheese weighs between 20 and 23 kilograms (57 and 59 pounds) and measures 52 x 45 centimeters (20 by 18 inches). The rind is a rustic, brick red, achieved by washing the cheese in salt water. This process benefits a bacterial culture called Brevibacterium linens, which provides the reddish colour.
The cut surface of the cheese is smooth, showing occasional small holes and cracks. The cheese colour ranges from ivory to straw, depending on the season. Almnäs Brick has a sweet, fruity aroma, reminiscent of butterscotch. The rind sometimes smells of orange or pineapple. The taste is fruity, with a slightly gritty mouth-feel. We store the Almnäs Brick between 16 and 22 months.
Scalded cheeses are unusual in traditional Swedish cheese making. At the end of the cheese-making process, we scald the curds by increasing the temperature to more than 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). This gives the cheese a caramelized effect and promotes the Thermophile bacteria, which is also found in yogurt. Parmesan and many of the big cheeses from the Swiss Alps, such as Gruyere, are produced according to this method.