A crofter staple for generations, Crowdie is a simple skim cheese made in the Highlands of Scotland since Viking times. After skimming off the cream for other uses, the skimmed milk would be set near the fire overnight to naturally sour from the presence of lactobacillus in the milk. This resulted in what we call “buttermilk” today. The lactic acid causes the milk to curdle. All that is needed is to bring the milk up to temp (about 100° F or 38° C) and the curds will gently separate from the whey. The cheese is finished by scrambling the curds over the fire, then hanging in cheesecloth to run off the whey.
The RenScots demonstrate making this croft cheese in our Living History Village. When served plain with a little sea-salt, it is delicious accompanied by currant jam. Another traditional serving is Gruth Dhu (black curds in Gaelic). Rolling in toasted pin-oats and crushed black pepper gives the crowdie a hot kick. Legend recommends eating crowdie before a ceilidh as it is said to alleviate the effects of whisky-drinking.