Brynza, a cheese similar to feta, is made throughout Central and Eastern Europe. The word comes from brînză, Romanian for cheese. It’s an important component of Ukrainian, Moldovan, Romanian and Balkan cuisine, and there’s even an annual Brynza Festival every fall in the town of Rakhiv, in Transcarpathian Ukraine. The cheese is usually made from sheep’s milk, but cow’s and goat’s milk can be used, as well. Sometimes all are used together.
My usual provider didn’t have any sheep’s milk available, so I used cow’s milk this time around. I think there’s still some fine-tuning required (see below), but this recipe does produce a nice cheese already.
You can get cheese-making supplies here or here.
Yields about 8 oz
2 qt pasteurized milk
1/8 tsp calcium chloride, diluted into 1 oz water
1/2 packet direct-set mesophilic starter
1/4 tsp liquid rennet, diluted into 1 oz water
- Combine the milk and diluted calcium chloride, and heat to 86 F. Stir in the mesophilic starter, cover, and let ripen for 1 hour.
- Add the diluted rennet, mix thoroughly, cover, and let set at 86 F for 1 more hour.
- Cut the curd into 1/2 cubes, let rest for 10 minutes, then stir gently every once in a while for 20 minutes.
- Pour the curds into a colander lined with a double layer of cheesecloth (or a thin kitchen towel). Let drain for a couple hours.
- Gently mix in 2 tsp salt, then tie the corners of the cloth, and hang like a bag. Let drain for at least another 4 hours.
- Remove the curds from the cheesecloth, tightly wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 4 days.
- Transfer the cheese to a quart container, and fill with a a brine made of cold water blended with 7% salt. Refrigerate for at least 1 day. The cheese can be kept for about a week.
Now, for future improvements:
- The cheese is not quite as firm as store-bought brynza or feta. I’m considering increasing the amount of calcium chloride.
- I may try to shorten the 4 days of aging before the brining, as I’m not sure it actually brings much to the texture or flavor.
- If you know where to find sheep’s milk in New York, let me know! I’ve used Udder Milk Creamery in the past, but they’ve been out of stock for a while now.
A friend asked me, “how do you measure 1/8 tsp?”
– Using your measuring spoons, eyeball half of 1/4 tsp.
– Impress your friends with the “Odd Sizes 5-Pc Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons Set”, available at http://www.fantes.com/measuring-spoons.html.
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some ukr. restaurants in nyc:
ukrainian east village restaurant – 140 Second Ave.
streecha ukrainian kitchen – 33 east 7th st, between 2nd and 3rd aves. – it is in a basement, old ladies cooking great food
stage restaurant – 128 2nd Ave – not really all ukrainian, but they make a killer borshcht
hello, brynza is also known in the south of Poland under name BRYNDZA; http://tastycolours.blogspot.com/#uds-search-results
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I’m brand new to making cheese, using this recipe as a base for my bryndza. I’ve found that one packet of mesophilic starter typically cultures around 9 gallons of milk. I’ll only be using one gallon, which is 1/8 tsp of mesophilic starter. I’m curious, what DCU of mesophilic starter do you use? I’ve found 50DCU, 125DCU, and 250DCU. I’m not sure which one I should pick. Thanks!
Hi Rebekah, the mesophilic starter I’ve been using is this one. Unfortunately they don’t mention anything about DCU.