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Oct 30, 2011 11:31 AM

Goat or Sheep Gruyere Substitute?

Gruyere's made from cow's milk, and I'd like to cook some dishes that normally have gruyere in them for someone who is allergic just to cow dairy. Sheep or goat milk products seem to be less of a problem. My own best thought is maybe to use manchego. The flavor isn't close, but it would do if there's nothing better. But I was hoping maybe somebody out there knows of some cheese from Switzerland that will match better in flavor! (Though I've never seen a Swiss goat cheese, myself.)

Anyone have any tips or suggestions?

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  1. I'm curious as to what you want to make that is Gruyere specific?

    6 Replies
    1. re: escondido123

      Well, not something as cheese heavy as fondue. :-) A chard and sweet potato gratin. A butternut squash and leek turnover. That kind of thing. The gruyere's taste should be noticeable but not the strongest flavor in those.

      1. re: whatsherwho
        is a gratin that specifies, in order of preference:
        manchego, parmesan, gruyère, or cheddar

        1. re: paulj

          Oh, good, manchego's definitely the right melty kind of cheese, then. Thought so, given the hardness similarity.

          P.S. The recipe I've done (the cow way) is: --- it is awesomely tasty.

        2. re: whatsherwho

          Either one of those would be fine with a different cheese, or no cheese at all for that matter--but wouldn't the gratin have cow's milk in it? If you can find sheeps' milk ricotta that could be nice in the turnover and maybe a little Romano could work in the gratin. Making me hungry.

          1. re: escondido123

            Yeah, I'd probably sub in soy milk for the milk or cream, and cross my fingers... :-)

            1. re: whatsherwho

              I'm allergic to cow dairy but not goat and sheep. I'd recommend using goat milk wherever cow milk is called for. The end result will be much better in terms of flavor and texture. I use goat milk for all my cooking - including bechamel, creamy soups, etc. - and my cow-dairy-loving husband doesn't know the difference!

      2. Manchego has similar hardness and melting qualities. In most recipes those qualities are more important than the flavor. But, as the other poster asked - the specific recipe might matter.

        Your recipes could be French in origin, especially if written before 2000. Prior to the Swiss getting AOC status for 'Gruyere', the name was widely used in France, and French cooking, for similar cheeses from their side of the border. Now you might see Comte in the same context.

        1 Reply
        1. re: paulj

          That's a good thought. There might be non-cow comté cheese out there... it's at least another name to ask after, in terms of flavor directions. I'll see if the cheese counter at the local Whole Foods has anything (sheep or goat) in that vein.

        2. Caciocavallo made from sheep's milk (harder to find in the US, I imagine, but it can be made with cattle or sheep milk). A great melting cheese.

          1. Lamb Chopper is a sheep cheese with a similar consistency to Gruyere or Comte, and wonderful flavor that's great in melty dishes like gratins or omelets. It's made in Holland for Cypress Grove (the Humboldt Fog makers).

            Not quite as easy to find, but if you have access to a cheese store that sells products from Neal's Yard Dairy in London, there's a sheep cheese that's still more similar to Gruyere, called Berkswell. Just a couple of days ago I bought some for the first time, but I haven't tried it yet; it's scheduled for the Christmas dinner potato gratin.

            Will report back.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ellabee

              Oh, Berkswell is a lovely cheese (as is the Lamb Chopper, or as one chowhound wag dubbed it: Sheep on a Cycle).

            2. I would definitely suggest Petit Basque. It's an excellent sheep's milk cheese with a deliciously nutty flavor like Gruyere's. Its texture is little different as it is semi-soft.