One of the most valuable treasures of any national cuisine is the variety of local cheeses. Turkey, like many other countries, is proud of its cheese. Without cheese, Turkish breakfast is considered incomplete. Cheese is also used in a variety of breakfast dishes, including cheese omelet, cheese börek, menemen, and cheese fritters, which are popular among Turkish home cooks. There are also various methods for storing cheese, which vary according to region. Fresh or aged spices and herbs all contribute to the unique flavor.
Here are the 18 Turkish cheeses you should know about:
1. Turkish White Cheese
The classic white cheese in salted brine is the most popular in Turkey. The ripening method determines its taste, smell, and texture. This less porous, salty, medium-soft white cheese is brined and sold in small quantities. It is essential for Turkish breakfasts and is consumed almost daily in every home. It’s commonly referred to as the Turkish equivalent of feta cheese.
2. Ezine Cheese
This incredibly tasty cheese from Anakkale is a light yellow-white, medium-hard, fatty cheese. It is made by combining the milk of various animals, including sheep, goats, and cows. If you get the chance to try Ezine cheese, I recommend making a breakfast of good bread, plenty of juicy fruits like watermelon or melon, and a good slice of Ezine. In Turkey, the combination of watermelon, cheese, and bread is legendary.
3. Mihalich Cheese
This full-fat sheep’s milk cheese has a distinctively strong aroma. Mihalich cheese, a porous, hard, and salty cheese, is just one of the Marmara region’s distinctive flavors. Its production in this country is the result of yet another migration story. It is a gift from Albanians who settled in the area nearly 250 years ago.
4. Smoked Circassian Cheese
This cheese is made by processing cow’s or sheep’s milk and has a distinct flavor that lingers in the mouth. It is salted and kept in a cold environment for a few days before being smoked for a week. If you like smoked cheese, fry or grill it for a few minutes to bring out the flavor.
5. Basket Cheese
This cheese gets its name from its shape and is made using traditional methods. The processed milk is shaped into baskets, and as the cheese matures, all of the basket’s canes appear embroidered on the cheese. It has a porous structure and is low in salt.
6. Tulum Cheese
There are tulum cheeses from many cities in Turkey, but two are especially well-known throughout the country. Erzincan Tulum Cheese comes from East Turkey, and Izmir Tulum Cheese comes from the West. It’s a type of cheese that is typically made with only sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s, goat’s, and cow’s milk.
The aging process gives the cheese its name and flavor. When pressed with salt into an animal skin bag, this cheese becomes one of the sharpest, most delicious, and unforgettable cheeses you can eat. Each city’s special Tulum cheeses complement breakfasts, pastries, and pasta.
7. Antakya Surk Cheese
This dried curdle cheese is distinguished by the addition of zahter, tomato paste, and spices. This mixture is shaped, dried, and goes through a brief molding process. It is crumbled and drizzled with olive oil to prepare it for eating. Imagine the level of flavor when served with toasted bread!
8. Kesh Cheese
This cheese is kneaded with various flavors and dried in the sun after being produced using a pressure method in cloth bags. It is slightly sour-ish, fat-free, and whitish. It pairs well with yufka, a type of pre-cooked dried bread.
9. Van Herb Cheese
Van Herb Cheese is one of the most distinctive Turkish cheeses, and it certainly lives up to its name. Around 25 herbs native to the area are used. It is made in the spring when sheep’s milk is plentiful, and grass diversity is at its peak. It is mixed with salt and ripened for 3 to 7 months.
10. Gaziantep Pressed Cheese
This cheese is known as “village cheese” throughout Turkey. It is made from fermented and filtered milk and is hand pressed and shaped. It has a reputation for being extremely salty because brining it is the best way to preserve it for delivery to every region of Turkey.
11. Dil Cheese
This cheese, which has very little salt and melts well, comes in several varieties. The same method is used to make the unsalted künefe cheese, which is used in the dessert künefe. The fact that it is made with whole milk sets it apart from other string cheeses. Braided cheese is made in the same way, and while it is knitted into a large mass, it can be separated into thin strings. This cheese is bright white in color and has an oily texture.
12. Kolot Cheese
This is a popular cheese in the Black Sea region. It’s also the main ingredient in the breakfast dish known and loved throughout Turkey, Mhlama kuymak. This medium-hard cheese with a light yellow hue is aged in wooden barrels. There isn’t much of a difference between kolot and string cheese. Both are made with milk from the lush highlands of the Eastern Black Sea Region using the same methods. Their flavors and applications are nearly identical.
13. Konya Moldy Cheese
After fermenting the degreased sheep’s or goat’s milk, the whey is filtered, and the resulting cheese is pressed onto sheep’s or goat’s skin and matured in a cool environment for 3-4 months. There are other blue cheeses in Turkey, but this one is known as moldy cheese because of the natural mold that forms during the manufacturing process.
14. Divle Obruk Cheese
Because it can only be matured in a single cave, this cheese can only be made in a few villages in Turkey. Obruk, which means “pothole,” could refer to the cracks in the cave where the cheese is kept. This goat and sheep’s milk cheese is pressed onto animal skins and aged in the Obruk cave.
15. Pottery Cheese
There is a type of cheese that has dozens of different names, such as pot, jug, and crock. Although the milk, flavoring, and rennet used vary, the storage method remains consistent. After pressing the cheese into a ceramic pot, the pot is sealed and buried in the ground to mature. It is a method commonly used in Anatolia’s interior. Sivas pottery cheese is the most basic of the pottery cheeses, made with full-fat cow’s milk, rennet, and salt.
16. Yalvaç Pottery Cheese
Yalvaç pottery cheese is made in the same way, but before aging, it is covered with a special mortar. This black cumin cheese matures for about a year and has a distinct smell and bitter taste. Small differences have a direct impact on the quality, aroma, taste, smell, and texture of cheese. Some pots, for example, have their mouths covered with cloth; others with lard; others with mud, and others with stones. It is sometimes buried in the soil and sometimes in the sand. A minor difference in production, aging, or storage method results in the addition of new cheese to our cheese treasures.
17. Lor Cheese
Lor is a crumbly, relatively unsalted cheese that goes exceptionally well in pastries. It is also served for breakfast and can be mixed with spices and herbs and served as a meze for dinner. Because it is relatively unsalted, it is occasionally used in desserts, though its crumbly nature makes other cheeses slightly more common. It’s white in color and tastes somewhat like ricotta or cottage cheese, which are more common outside of Turkey.
18. Kars Gruyere
With its tangy, rich odor and flavor, Kars Gruyere is one of the most well-known Turkish cheeses in the world. This classic gruyere cheese is typically made with either pure cow’s milk or a combination of cow’s and goat’s milk. It gets its flavor from high plateau grazing animals’ quality milk.
This was a cheesy ride! Turkey has a variety of delectable and unique cheeses that are apt for snacking and making scrumptious meals. Do try them all.
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