Havarti Cheese


Havarti is a wonderfully creamy rindless semi soft cheese o Danish origin.  It melts nicely and can be used in many recipes or enjoyed by itself. Havarti can be made plain or with various herbs and spices. I like dill and onions best. Its also often made with caraway seeds, cranberries, garlic, basil, coconut, and jalapeños.


If you haven’t tried this cheese – try it! Its one of my favorites.


The making of Havarti cheese is fairly simple but does require a few commercial cultures which can be purchased through: Dairy Connections Inc.



Making Havarti adapted from recipe by Peter Dixon


4.5 Gallons Pasteurized milk at 86-88 °F

1/4 teaspoon Mesophile Aromatic Type B (starter )

1/4 teaspoon MD-89. This culture is used to enhance the buttery flavor and produce some small eyes in the cheese.

1/4 teaspoon Add double strength rennet mixed in 1/4 cup pure water

1.2 grams flaked salt

1 tablespoon Dill weed (optional)



Heat whole milk to 86-88 °F.

Add cultures to a few teaspoons of pure water dissolve, add to the warmed milk and mix well.

Allow milk to sit undisturbed to ripen for 30 minutes.

Add  rennet to ¼ cup pure water mix well and add to milk, stirring well.

Check for clean break before beginning to cut . Cut curds into small 1/4 inch pieces. Let curds stand undisturbed for 5 minutes after cutting before beginning to stir.

Stir gently using a wire whisk to break the curds into pea sized pieces.

Gently stir curds in whey for 15 minutes while keeping 86-88 °F.

Let curds settle to the bottom and push to one side and drain off whey equal to one half of original milk volume. Save whey.

Add 130°F water (in two stages below) in an equal volume to replace the drained whey while continuously stirring curds.

First raise the temp to 93 °F and stir for 5 minutes.

Second add the remaining water for a final temperature of 97-98 °F.

Add salt.

Stir and cook for 30 minutes at 97-98 °F.

Let curds settle to the bottom of vat for 5 minutes and then push the curds towards the back of the vat to form a curd pack. Drain off liquid until the curd pack is covered by 2 “ and stir the curds vigorously.

Drain off the liquid and continue stirring and breaking up curds while putting into cheese hoops.  Add herbs now.

Press with 1 1/2 lb. weight per 1 lb. cheese.

Remove cheeses from press, turn over, and put back in hoops.

Return to press. Repeat 2 more times every 15 minutes.

Repeat 3 more times every hour.

Remove from press and place in saturated brine of 4 tablespoons salt/gallon of whey for 2 1/2 hours per lb. of cheese depending on desired salt content.  Brine pH should be around 6.0-5.8.  Final pH after brining should be about 5.2.

Alternatively, rub cheese wheels with coarse flake dry salt once per day for each 4 lb. of cheese.



Five 14 ounce Havarti wheels with Dill pressed using a Kadova mold



After brining or salting, wheels are air dried until the surfaces are dry but not cracked; rinds that are cracked will allow molds to penetrate the cheese. A room with 80-85% RH and 50-60 °F is required. The cheeses can be waxed or vacuum-sealed as soon as the surfaces are dry enough.

Wheels are stored at 50-55 °F and 85-90% RH for at least 30 days for a young cheese and 120 for a mature cheese.

Cheeses in wax will last 6 months.



The higher the temperature during drying and aging, the greater chance the eye development. A slice of Havarti typically has many mechanical openings and a soft, creamy texture.



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