Hand Cheeses

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

hand cheeses so called because they were originally moulded to shape by hand. They appear to be of German origin and the German name Handkäse has the same meaning, as does the Spanish name used in S. America, queso de mano.

Hand cheeses come in lots of different shapes, with a wide range of flavours from delicate to strong, and variously coloured rinds. Generally, they are made from sour milk curds (hence the German term for them, Sauermilchkäse) and are low in fat.

Among the scores of different types in Germany is Bauernhandkäse, meaning ‘farmers’ hand cheese’. Many are named after a place. The most fitting examples are probably Mainzer Handkäse and Harzer Käse and Olmützer Quargel.