Whether “Obazda” or spelled differently, the term ultimately stands for ” The mixed one”.
According to legend (which is probably true because it is not old), this creation was invented less than 100 years ago in the brewery tavern of Weihenstephan as a way for the former landlady to make use of overripe cheese.
Since 2015, the names “Obazda” and “Obatzter” have even been entered in the European Commission’s register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications. The dish may only be called this if all the processing of the ingredients has taken place in Bavaria.
There is a recipe on the website of the Weihenstephan Brewery, the oldest brewery in the world still in existence, which belongs to the State of Bavaria and will soon be celebrating its 1,000th anniversary. However, countless others exist and we explain the basic principle here in a version that we find pleasant.
You have to use a soft cheese, preferably very ripe and as aromatic as possible. Camembert would be a classic, but it can also be another soft cheese like Brie.
Because very ripe cheese is used, other dairy products are added to balance the taste. Since not only tastes are different, but also cheeses, you are free in your combinations and each Obazda you prepare will taste different from all the others.
Camembert, curd, cream cheese and butter are usually combined, and Camembert and butter should be at room temperature so that they can be easily processed.
Beer is also very important, here of course from the Weihenstephan brewery. In many recipes, some of it is added to the mixture, but the amount is small and the difference in taste is not very significant; the ripeness of the cheese contributes more. But we still recommend not working without the beer and simply drinking it if in doubt. Those who do not want to consume alcohol can use malt beer.
In the Weihenstephan brewery recipe, 7 % of the weight of the mixture is beer. We only add a little of it if the mixture of dairy products proves to be too firm.
First, stir the room-warm butter in a bowl with a fork until creamy.
Then cut all the Camembert into small pieces and incorporate into the butter.
Now add the curd and cream cheese and mix together as well. The rind of the cheese will remain a little chunky and that is just as it should be.
Then season with ground caraway, paprika powder, pepper and salt. Be careful with the salt and season gradually to taste, because the salt content of the cheese will always be different. The mixture should be creamy. If it seems to be thick, you can correct this with a small amount of beer.
The finished mixture is kept covered in the fridge for at least 2 hours until it has solidified and all the flavours have combined.
In beer gardens, the Obazda is usually quite firm and served like ice cream in a ball shape, our version is softer. The Obazda is always accompanied by strips of red onion and finely chopped chives. Small red garden radish and beer radish or “Radi” also go very well with it.
In Bavaria, you spread Obazda in generous portions on a pretzel.
And may the taste be with you.
Note: This dish is usually eaten as part of a “Brotzeit” (picknick), so we can only give proportions here. How much you would like to serve depends very much on the number of people and the other dishes. For us, the quantity given here is enough for 4 people.
1 very ripe Camembert of approx. 225 – 250 g (room temperature)
150 g curd
120 g cream cheese
40 g butter (room temperature)
1 bottle of beer (wheat beer or lager – add 2 tbsp optionally to the mixture and drink the rest during preparation – cheers); for the non-alcoholic variant: malt beer
1 ½ tsp paprika powder (sweet paprika, we recommend Spanish smoked paprika)
½ – 1 tsp ground caraway to taste
A little salt and black pepper
Optional: cayenne or chilli powder (we prefer to use piment d’Espelette).