Burduf Cheese, mountain recipe
Brânza de burduf is a fermented cheese, dense and pasty, traditionally produced for centuries in mountain sheep pens. It is stored in a bellows made of sheepskin or stomach, pig or buffalo bladder, or tree bark.
Although it is commonly found on the Romanian market, few producers still make it using the authentic recipe and only from sheep's milk. Typically, it is now made from a mixture of sheep's cow's, and even goat's milk, and stored in other receptacles than natural membranes.
A properly made brânza de burduf is neither acidic nor too salty, is yellowish-white, compact, creamy and does not crumble. It is perfect to spread on bread.
Traditional preparation of sheep's milk cheese
Producing brânza de burduf consists of two main phases: preparing the curd and obtaining the fermented cheese.
The preparation of the curd consists of filtering the milk, pouring it into a vessel, heating it, and adding rennet. It is very important that the milk is mixed at 32-35°C and for 30-40 minutes. The whey curd is subsequently separated using a sieve or gauze.
The curd must be well pressed, to prevent the remaining whey from spoiling and giving the end product an acidic taste that can be unpleasant.
The result is large wheels of approximately half a meter in diameter, which are stored in boxes or wooden barrels that allow optimal ventilation at temperatures of 12-15°C. They are kept in a cold, dark room to ferment, depending on the temperature, for 8 to 15 days. The crucial element during aging is ventilation, not temperature.
The fermented cheese is cut into small slices and then crushed, 2.5-3% salt is added, and it is kneaded well. Finally, the cheese is inserted into the bellows and sewn shut. The bellows are stored on the ground in the same rooms that house the boxes of cheese for up to two, three months. The ripening process gives the cheese a softer and oilier consistency. At this stage, it is stored at 7-8°C. The taste is slightly spicy. If stored at high temperatures, the cheese acquires a hot taste owing to the breakdown of fat.
Instead of bellows, in some mountain regions the bark of fir, cut and sewn into cylindrical containers, is used. This cheese is therefore known as basket cheese and has an aroma infused by resin. This flavor is also found in Vacherin Mont-d'Or cheese from the Jura Mountains area.
Burduf cheese producers: De la Ferma
Alina Iancu, 17/09/2019
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Cheese is a delicious product, which comes in an array of types, and can be constantly rediscovered. To enjoy it at its best, there are a few basic rules: Don’t try to taste too many different cheeses. Experts recommend five or six types in one sitting. Tasting should take place at...
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