Recipe: Ziergerkase

This is an unusual cheese made from whey and aged in wine and herbs. It makes a delicious appetizer, or if you use a sweet wine for aging, it’s a great dessert cheese.


  • 2 gallons whey
  • 1 quart milk (optional, to increase yield)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 quart red wine
  • Cheese salt
  • Herbs, if desired (rosemary, thyme, or oregano are good options)


  1. Put the whey and milk together in a large, non-reactive cheese pot. Heat to 200° F over direct heat, stirring periodically.
  2. Once the temperature has been reached, slowly pour the vinegar in through the holes of your cheese spoon, stirring gently for 1 full minute to incorporate. Turn off the heat. Allow the whey to rest for 10 minutes, undisturbed, before proceeding. You will see it start to separate.
  3. Line a colander with a layer of clean butter muslin and suspend it over a sink or large bowl. Pour the separated cheese and whey into the colander, and allow to drain for 5 minutes, or until it has cooled sufficiently to handle.
  4. Make a draining sack out of the cheese-filled muslin and hang the bag over the sink to continue draining for many hours, or until the dripping has stopped.
  5. Line a 1-pound cheese press with clean, damp butter muslin. Pour in the drained curds and press at 20 pounds of pressure for 24 hours.
  6. Take the cheese out of the cheese press and peel away the muslin. In a large bowl, mix together the water, wine, about 1/4 cup of salt, and any desired herbs. Put the cheese into this bowl and cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for about 4 days, continuing to keep an eye on it and flipping it over in the brine about twice a day.
  7. Take the cheese out of the brine and allow it to air dry on a rack over paper towels, continuing to flip it regularly.

The cheese can be eaten fresh now or aged for a few weeks in cold storage before serving. This cheese will stay fresh for 3 to 4 weeks in cold storage.

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