Outlander on Starz Rent

Homemade Crowdie Cheese - Outlander on STARZ Episode 105 "Rent"

Mission accomplished! Claire is out from behind the castle walls, and off with the lads to collect the rents and "attend to a wee bit of business here and there." (TV Dougal can be so damn ominous.)

Along for the ride with Claire and the MacKenzies is an old book favourite of mine, Ned Gowan. Gentleman Ned, an adventurous solicitor originally from Edinburgh, looks after all of the MacKenzies' legal requirements, including the recording of rent monies and their equivalents.

In place of coins, Ned will take bags of grain or turnips, well-trussed fowl, perhaps even a goat. On no account, however, will he take a live pig, which seems pretty reasonable to this semi-rural girl, who has hopped the gate of a pig pen just in time on more than one occasion.

Homemade Crowdie Cheese

Another common currency accepted as rent in the Highlands was cheese, specifically crowdie.

Scotland’s most ancient cheese, crowdie dates back to Viking and Pictish settlements. At one time, every crofter in the Highlands made it by souring freshly skimmed milk beside a warm fire then cooking gently until it curdled. The whey was drained away, leaving a crumbly white cheese.

Homemade Crowdie Cheese curdled copy

Now, because most of us no longer have access to raw (unpasteurized) milk, and the fact that modern food-safety sensibilities would result in hives on many if I asked you to leave the milk out of the fridge to develop into a bacteria bath overnight, we're going to change up the process a little bit for our homemade crowdie.

I've made a number of unripened cheeses in my time; most of the world's cultures have at least one variety. Paneer from India, Mascarpone from Italy and Queso Fresco from Mexico, just to name a few. They all use acid, in the form of vinegar or lemon juice, to curdle the milk and separate the curds from the whey.

Their processes result in cheeses with similar textures to, and the fresh taste of, crowdie (which I have tasted on multiple occasions). Just as important, they're made with ingredients and tools that most of us have on hand.

Sounds like a winning Outlander Kitchen recipe to me!

Homemade Crowdie Cheese strain

If you're interested in a dairy that still makes crowdie using traditional methods, check out Connage Highland Dairy. I have had the pleasure of devouring two of their Organic Cheese Boxes whilst on vacation in the Highlands in 2011, and again in 2013.

Holy cow, they make great cheese.

Other Outlander Kitchen recipes that pair with Episode 105:  Rent

Homemade Crowdie Cheese hanging copy

If you have access to raw milk, by all means use it! I suspect you'll get a better yield than the rest of us using pasteurized milk from the grocery store.

Embrace your inner crofter and make some crowdie. Who knew you could make your own cheese easily in under 2 hours?

Show/Hide Comments


07 Sep 2014 - 6:51pm


It's my first time making cheese, and it turned out wonderfully! Very delicious. The only thing I noticed is that Canadian vinegar comes in different strengths. So for what I had at home (table vinegar, rather than pickling) I had to almost double the amount of vinegar required.


Interesting, Sara! I used regular table vinegar in my batch, at the amount called for was fine. I wonder why...


The cheese turned out spectacular. Rather like a firm ricotta. I'm definitely going to be making this again - maybe with some different herbs mixed in. Do you have any suggestions?

07 Sep 2014 - 7:49pm


I love having you here, Margaret! Glad you enjoyed the snacks last night!

26 Jun 2015 - 8:54pm


Just wanted to say that this cheese is now a staple in my kitchen. I've made it plain (and eaten it with a drizzle of honey over the top), and have also made a variety of combinations with salt, dill, parsley, and other herbs. FANTASTIC - all of them. Try using half-and-half instead of milk. The result is beyond awesome. My next batch will go into home-made tortellinni. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe!

03 Sep 2014 - 1:02pm


Theresa, I *love* how you provide a little bit of history, a little bit of Outlander, and a lot of good taste in your recipe stories. They're always so informative and nomtastic. Tapadh leat! Ith gu leir!

03 Sep 2014 - 1:23pm


Thank you so much for all the recipes! I am able to buy unpasteurized milk, and will try this recipe soon.


Great! Please let us know if you get a better yield when you try it.

03 Sep 2014 - 1:45pm

Janet Virva

Theresa, this sounds like a lovely recipe, but very similar to making Greek yogurt, where a bit of yogurt culture is introduced into the cooled milk. Have you ever done that? Can you compare the tastes at all?

03 Sep 2014 - 2:56pm


This looks really good! I have been on an Outlander Kitchen binge. I have made Chicken Fricassee, LJ's Steak and Mushroom Pie, and Cherry Bounce in the last few days. Tonight is Shepard's pie. Thanks for all the great recipes. It is so fun to cook thinking of the characters that we all love.

03 Sep 2014 - 3:10pm

Diane (aka twe…

Cheese glorious cheese! This recipe has made me extremely excited for some reason! going to try it soon with some of those GF oatcakes!

03 Sep 2014 - 4:51pm

Anna Lapping

This is almost exactly how I make my home -made ricotta. I use a gallon of milk and make two rounds of well-drained, formed cheeses. When using for a recipe, and not draining quite so much, I get about 2 cups of ricotta. Thank you for the recipes, and telling how they relate to the episodes. I made steak and mushroom pie 2 Saturdays ago, loved the addition of the beer (I usually use a splash of red wine).

03 Sep 2014 - 5:04pm

Kim Barber

This recipe appears to be very similar to clotted cream! Do you have an easy recipe to make clotted cream, as I have tried to make it without much success? I will try the crowdie recipe and hopefully it will be similar to the clotted cream!


Do I have a recipe for clotted cream? Of course I do! :) Here you go...http://outlanderkitchen.com/2014/03/03/mrs-grahams-oatmeal-scones-with-clotted-cream/

Cindy Fletcher

THERESA, thank you so very much for all the Outlander insight you provide, but especially for all the marvelous Scottish recipes you share! I made my first visit to Scotland this spring and tried every traditional Scottish dish and brew I could get my hands on. I especially loved the scones and Devon clotted cream, but can't readily buy it on my side of the pond. I will be trying your recipe for sure!!! I can't wait to spread that creamy delight on my homemade scones!!!

Kim Barber

Thanks so much for the clotted cream recipe. I will give it a go along with the crowdie and Mrs. Graham's oatmeal scones.

03 Sep 2014 - 5:38pm

Jan Anderson

Aloha from Maui, Theresa. Loving your posts & that you mix in a bit of your own history with the books, as well as the upcoming show info. Tis my first time following a blog of any sort & I am enjoying it very much. Although our book club read the books many years ago, I had no idea there was such a large fan base until this show started and drew my attention to it all. (We are in a bit of a black out zone in Hawaii to much of what goes on in the world of pop culture!) Can't wait to try this cheese for the next book club 'group watch' of the show! (most gals don't even have cable here so so share at my house!) The gals loved the bannocks last week (thank you Theresa for the gluten-free tip!), so I'll repeat the bannocks again to serve w/ the cheese and maybe venture into the oatcakes as well. As I said in prior post, I'm not much of a cook (not thru lack of trying!!) so these easy to follow recipes are great for me and giving me some inspiration to keep trying to figure out my way around the kitchen. The gals arrive hopeful, tho a little nervous when they know I'm cooking! haha Hopefully I'll surprise them again this week with your great tutelage So....tally ho! Off we go for the rent collections. I'm also looking forward to the adventurer Ned, who (without risking spoilers) is a friend to us all :-) Mahalo nui & a hui hou, Jan


I'm so glad you're enjoying the posts, Jan! And thank you for your support and enthusiasm.

Jan Anderson

Yes! I truly am enjoying myself, thanks! I'm slowly working my way around the rest of the site as well, when time permits, and have been discovering many little, buried treasures :-) Tons of fun. Looking forward to having the lassies over tomorrow for Ep 105. One of the other book club women said she's going to make something from your site as well so the word is spreading & I can't wait to see what it is! Your idea of 'food through fiction' was fabulous, btw. You've found a way to materialize what many of us had wondered about while reading the books. It's one more way of bringing the stories to life..........Now if we all could only just bring our 'Pocket Jamies' to life...........!!! ha ha ha!! Aloha nui, Jan

03 Sep 2014 - 6:05pm

Carolyn Ware

While this doesn't pertain to the crowdy recipe, I made Mrs. Bug's Picalilli over the weekend. I am so excited at how it turned out. It is wonderfully delicious (I did add the brown sugar). I canned 4 pts and a qt. Can't wait until Christmas to include it on my dinner table. May do some more for gifts as well. My granddaughter and I will be making the crowdy too. She is a budding dedicated "chef" at 12 and has plans for her own restaurant in the future. We love to try new and unusual recipes together and the crowdy will be a hit with her.


I grew up cooking with both of my grandmothers, and I cherish the memories I have of those days! Especially the more unusual things we cooked and baked.

03 Sep 2014 - 6:13pm


Great article, but must point out that "queso" simply means "cheese" in Spanish. It isn't a particular variety.


That's because I forgot the fresco after the queso. Oops! Thanks...I'll just go make that wee change now. :)

03 Sep 2014 - 6:20pm



03 Sep 2014 - 6:42pm


Beautiful idea!. I have to try it. But, mascarpone it's the only Italian cheese that cames from the CREAM not from the milk :-D We have many fresh cheese, from milk, but not mascarpone.


That is true, Elly, but all of these recipes do use an acid to curdle the milk/cream, which is why I grouped them together. :)

03 Sep 2014 - 6:47pm

Lily Bhavani

Love all your recipes and how you blend them with the (well-loved) storyline! My husband and I raise sheep for milk and meat and make crowdie (and many other) cheese regularly in the milking season. And use our own apple cider vinegar from our apples to curdle. Our family loves it with fresh herbs and garlic too. I have put it plain in morning 'parritch' with a little honey too, and it is braw! Slainte...


How great is that, Lily! Thank you for sharing your cheese story. :)

03 Sep 2014 - 7:01pm

Anita Anderson

Thank you, I made bannocks and they were great!

03 Sep 2014 - 8:05pm


thank you so much for all these recipes. You are opening my eyes to how easy it can be to make good food from scratch! I have a friend who is just getting into Outlander, watching the series AND reading the books, so I'm making bannocks for her for this week's episode and I am so excited about his recipe - such a perfect addition to my plan. :-) One question: she is lactose intolerant. If I use lactose free milk will it still work?


Elle, I agree at how great it is to make homemade items. I have brushed the dust off of some of my kitchen tools and put them to good use recently. I am currently in the process of making Shepherd's pie. I can't wait to try it! I am also looking forward to this weeks episode. Happy cooking!

03 Sep 2014 - 9:20pm


I am so going to make this!

03 Sep 2014 - 11:41pm


I use a similar process to make Greek style yogurt. After I drain off the whey I save it to make Irish brown bread, pancakes, biscuits.

04 Sep 2014 - 12:47am

William Still

Theresa, Great recipe for a simple cheese. I have made pounds and pounds of cheese like this using milk that is about to sour, I find it works the best. I love to flavor it as you have suggested especially with black pepper, caraway or chives. There are so many different things that you can do with it and add to it. I have used it to make an Italian style cheesecake with rice and lots of lemon and sugar. Be careful when baking with it to use a water bath. Love your site and your recipes, it is nice to see someone doing this so well!!

William Still

I was asked to do a 5 course dinner for a group that does Revolutionary War living History presentations. This was to be a dinner with them in uniform and they wanted it to be elegant yet a foods of the period. I immediately thought of making Crowdie cheese for the appetizers and so I did. I flavored it with fresh chives, Tarragon and parsley as well as black pepper. They loved it and especially after I explained a bit about the origins of the cheese. I really enjoy reading about your adventures in the kitchen and thought I would share some of mine with you. Bill

04 Sep 2014 - 1:37am

Heather Krey

When you say large non reactive would non stick do as my alternate pan is stainless steel

Heather Krey

Oh for the love. I completely read that wrong. I'm tired and my brain was not running right

04 Sep 2014 - 2:53am

Marie McKinsey

Theresa, you've done it again. You've given us a recipe for something I haven't made at home because I thought it would be too complicated. Not long ago, your lamb sausage recipe inspired me to start making my own sausage. Now I am experimenting with my own recipes. (My chicken and apple sausage is way better than I can buy in a store.:) Now, thanks to this recipe, I am going to start making cheese! Thank you so much!

04 Sep 2014 - 5:10am


I made it tonight for the upcoming Episode 5 this weekend. It's delicious! #Itriedit Thank you Theresa!

04 Sep 2014 - 3:33pm

Shannon L.

I can't wait to "meet" Ned Gowan! He is one of my book-favorites too. I need to check my cheesecloth and may need to find a replacement. My husband has used it so much for his pho stock filtering and seasoning 'bags' cooked into broths that I think it permanently smells like Asian spices. Unless I want pho-flavored cheese, I think I need something new. I'm looking forward to trying this.

05 Sep 2014 - 1:32am

Lisa Branford

Handy - I just happen to have a nice almost-new package of cheesecloth. Hmmm - wonder why I bought that... Thanks for another great post and recipe, Theresa!

05 Sep 2014 - 6:30pm


My Crowdie is hanging as I write. Can't wait to taste. :)

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