Liébana cheese

Liébana cheese . Liébana cheeses are cheeses made from cow’s , sheep’s or goat’s milk , or with a mixture of them, made in the Liébana valley , in Cantabria , Spain .


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  • 1 Manufacturing process
  • 2 Features
  • 3 History
  • 4 varieties
  • 5 Sources

Fabrication process

The milk for its elaboration comes from the three milk species:

  • Cow: Tudanca, Alpine brown and Friesian
  • Sheep: lacha
  • Goat: Pyreneanand Picos de Europa goat

The elaboration begins by coagulating the milk at a temperature between 28 and 32 ° C with animal rennet. The curd is molded into specific molds that shape it and facilitate self-draining. It is salted in a proportion of 2 to 3% of the weight of the cheese.


It is a semi-hard cheese. They are cylindrical or discoidal in shape and small in size, between 8 and 12 centimeters in diameter by 3 to 10 centimeters in height. The bark is rough and irregular in character. The paste is firm and compact, slightly yellowish in color; in smoked products, the color is brown. It has some irregularly distributed holes. The flavor is mild and somewhat sweet. When it is a smoked cheese, it has the typical smell, color and flavor. It is a fatty cheese in a proportion of not less than 45% on dry matter, and with a minimum of 30% moisture .


The Liébana area is rugged and difficult to access. The shepherds conserved the milk making small cheeses or quesucos.


There are smoked and unsmoked. Smoked cheeses are typical of the port of Áliva , Brez , Tanarrio and the Camaleño valley . Among these two varieties, highlights the smoked cheese of Áliva, of limited production. It is small, with a cylindrical shape and exterior drawings of squares or rhombuses and with a golden yellow bark in which, sometimes, green specks can appear, although in some it can reach a brownish-brown color. The pasta is semi-hard but when cut it is tender, sometimes with grooves that reveal the layers with which the mold was filled. The color of the paste is off white. By smoking, the duration of the cheese is prolonged. The wood traditionally used in this process is thejuniper , reminiscent of the time when it was made in the shepherd’s cabin while in the mountain pastures . The process lasts between a day and a day and a half. This gives it its strong smoke flavor, which if not excessive is pleasant.


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