Bulgarian Goat’s Milk Cheese (Sirene)

Our foodie weekend adventure involved making homemade Sirene goat’s milk cheese. We had this recently in Bulgaria on a Shopska Salad – I’ll post about that another time.

After watching a video on YouTube and scanning a basic cheese recipe in ‘Making your own cheese’ by Paul Peacock, I launched into my mission to turn a humble pack of goat’s milk into a culinary delight and making it to suit our tastes. I started by warming 1 litre of goat’s milk to around 30-32 degrees Celsius. You need a thermometer to be sure it’s the right temperature – apparently too hot (40 degrees and above) and the active ingredients in the rennet dies off.

Once the milk has reached the right temperature I added about half a teaspoon of rennet. This was a bit of a guess. The first time I tried this I followed the instructions of a Bulgarian friend at work and used the rennet she gave me, then I bought a bottle from the local Turkish supermarket – but unfortunately the instructions are all in Turkish!

After adding the rennet I covered the pan and left the rennet to do its magic. After about 90 minutes the milk had turned into a thick yogurt-like substance. I lined a colander with a sheet of fine muslin, bought as a xmas present (although last time I used a pillow case) and slowly poured in the cheese. All the whey began to run through leaving the cheese solids behind. Once out of the colander we tied up the cheese on the kitchen cupboard handles with a bowl below to catch the whey as it drains off.

I left this to hang and drain slowly overnight and by next morning we had a cheese the consistency of a fresh mozzarella. At this point you can squeeze the cheese between boards to drain off more liquid and add salt. But we don’t eat salt in our food so we skipped this bit of the cheese making process.

In the end we ended up with a bowlful of lovely mozzarella-type cheese which I then added to spinach as a filling for home-made buckwheat pancakes – in honour of our Dutch guests staying in the E17 campsite for the Olympics!

 I’ve now bought some vegetarian rennet with instructions in English from Planet Organic so we’ll see how that goes, but until then – happy cheese making!

About walthamstowfoodies

We have a passion for good food – bought locally, cooked simply and shared with friends in Walthamstow, London and beyond
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