Author Topic: Syrian cheeses  (Read 79 times)

Offline rosawoodsii

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Syrian cheeses
« on: April 29, 2016, 04:15:17 PM »
When I was visiting a friend outside Boston lately, I found a great cheese in a Middle Eastern food store.  It was about the size of a tennis ball, soft and crumbly inside, and the outside was covered with herbs, possibly thyme, possibly a mix.  I called the store today to find out what it was called, and was told they just ordered and sold it as "Syrian cheese", but I recall the proprietor called it something else--perhaps Shanklish, or Surka.

Does anyone know what this cheese is and how to make it?  I'm sure it's aged, perhaps 2-6 weeks.  I had it in my refrigerator picking at it for at least 3.  When I did a search, I found a Wikipedia entry for Shanklish (also called by other names) and the photo looks like what I had.
Joy

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Re: Syrian cheeses
« Reply #1 on: Yesterday at 04:58:16 AM »
Hi Joy
I had a look on one of my favourite cheese websites and found this:
 http://www.cheese.com/shanklish/
- Andrew

Offline rosawoodsii

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Re: Syrian cheeses
« Reply #2 on: Yesterday at 07:57:54 AM »
Thanks, Andrew, that does sound (and look) like what I had.  Since I have goat milk, I'm going to try to make something similar.  I made some kefir and separately some soft curds using MM-100 and 4 drops of rennet, but I think it set too much.  At any rate, as soon as the kefir is thick, I'm going to drain both of them together and age them and see what I get.  It'll be an interesting experiment.  The cheese I had was definitely tangy (which is why I thought of the kefir). 

I've been trying to imagine how separating butter from yogurt would have anything to do with the cheesemaking process.  Certainly using creamy milk one would have a layer of yogurt cream on the top, but  I think they must have meant separating the cultured cream from the yogurt, as it said it was using the skimmed yogurt.  With some breeds of goat you can get cream on top, but not with most, and goat milk does not make a firm yogurt.

One day I hope to find an actual recipe for shanklish.  In the meantime, I'll play.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 08:04:48 AM by rosawoodsii »
Joy

Online wattlebloke

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Re: Syrian cheeses
« Reply #3 on: Today at 03:05:28 AM »
Hi Joy, David Asher has a recipe for Shankleesh in his book ' The art of natural cheesemaking'. He uses cow milk yoghurt made with a keffir starter, drained in suspended cloth for 24 hours, or until its firm/dry enough. Lightly salted and then drained for another 4. Rolled into balls, dredged with Zaatar (herb mix), then placed in olive oil. I guess goats milk yoghurt would be even closer to the Syrian original? Happy making, and happy reading if you get hold of his book!
« Last Edit: Today at 03:30:32 AM by wattlebloke »