Alter Schweizer (which translated means “Old Swiss”) is made by Daniel Studer at Kaeserei Studer AG in Hatswil. The dairy is located close to the Bodensee and the German border, just outside the town of Amriswil, in the very north eastern corner of Switzerland.
Kaeserei Studer forms part of a consortium called Bodensee Kaese, which comprises four dairies in one small region. Each dairy produces its very own, unique cheeses. However, when it comes to marketing and selling them, they join forces, marketing them collectively with a regional identity.
Studer’s range of firm and hard cheeses are made exclusively from silage-free cow’s milk, sourced from locally grazed herds.
The concept behind production of Alter Schweizer was to create a cheese that resembles the traditional Swiss wheels produced several centuries ago. In other words, an original, rustically satisfying table cheese that can be stored for a very long time.
Made from pasteurized, whole milk with the addition of animal rennet, Alter Schweizer is produced in the style of a Gruyere - although Studer actually uses cultures that differ from a classic Gruyere, without revealing which ones.
After coagulation and as soon as the curd is in the forms, pressing takes place for approximately 24 hours. The wheels are then immersed in a salty brine bath for 48 hours before being transferred into the aging cellar. Cheeses are washed regularly with a brine solution during the first six months of their maturation and, depending on the season they were made and the characteristics of the milk used, are normally aged for at least ten months prior to release.
The texture of Alter Schweizer is firm, dense and smooth, with richly complex flavors of toasted walnuts, brown butter with sweet barnyard aromas. Interestingly, even with the most aged wheels, when the interior becomes slightly brittle, flavors remain balanced, never becoming overly sharp or salty as can sometimes happen with other cheeses made in this style.