The making of Sirana Gligora Paški sir
After reading Max McCalam’s book ‘Mastering Cheese’ where he used the work of dairy science professor Frank Koikowski the founder of the American Cheese Society, we thought it would be interesting to write how these basic steps of cheesemaking are undertaken here at Sirana Gligora. As well as Paški sir, we also make several other award-winning cheeses but this series will focus on the production of Paški sir.
Step 2. Cutting the Curd
As soon as coagulation occurs, the curds naturally begin to expel the whey (sirupka) which is a liquid highly concentrated with albumin proteins. The larger the surface of the curd, the more moisture it will contain so cutting the curds will determined the type of cheese. As our Paški sir is a hard pressed cheese with a longer maturing period, the curds are cut quite small (about the size of a grain of wheat). If the cheesemaker wants to make a softer cheese with higher moisture content like Camembert, then the curds will be cut to larger pieces. The smaller the curd, the more whey is expelled and the harder the cheese becomes.
Each batch of milk that comes into our dairy has slightly different qualities mostly depending upon the season and rainfall levels etc. Our master cheesemaker (Suzie Starčević) uses all her artisan skills to keep a careful eye on the behavior of the milk, regularly checking the size, texture and even taste of the curds. The cutting must be done very slowly with razor sharp knives to get consistency in the size and shape. If the curds are not cut properly then the whole moisture content will be off and the finished product won’t be up to the high standards of Sirana Gligora.
Some curds are barely (or not at all) cut, but gently ladled into hoops or molds to make a very soft, high moisture cheese. For these types of cheese step 2 is not necessary.
How to make Paška Skuta
The whey is separated from the curds and pumped through to another room where it will be made into Paška skuta, a delicious and highly nutritious ricotta type cheese.
The whey has very high levels of albumin proteins and when heated to 85°C they begin to precipitate out and create flakes of ricotta which float to the surface. We then ladle them out into muslin cloth where the excess liquid drains overnight. The next day a delicious versatile soft cheese is ready for our shops.
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The next step
Step 3. Cooking and Holding coming soon