Suluguni: cheese of the Caucasian nationality
Earlier the Caucasus for us, northerners, was an embodiment of pleasure of life, and suluguni - his integral sign, attribute of an indispensable feast. Food of almighty mountain and at the same time sea gods.
For the first time I got acquainted with this Caucasian cheese long ago, in that far prospering Abkhazia, in the market of New Athos. Then still suluguni did not receive a registration in our Petersburg epicures and we managed the Russian cheese, preparing from it the only dish - sandwich. And I did not pay special attention to white vlazhnovaty washers.bought
Ya wines (behind it, actually, and went) and directed feet to the house on a hill where I was waited by the friend who was more tempted on travel across the Caucasus. He captiously examined bottles, approvingly nodded and laid out a flat round cheese, a bunch of greens and an unleavened wheat cake on a table. First “sting“ threw me into some confusion - taste of cheese was unusual, but pleasant. Bread and wine completed impression - we with suluguni made friends. I bought the whole remained days of holiday and ordered it everywhere, having felt that in this cheese circle the part of a secret of cheerfulness, cheerfulness and longevity of Caucasians is concealed. Most of all it was pleasant to me in the Abkhazian apatskha where its white wedges - daggers stuck in the hot hominy casting gold. Suluguni from heat thawed, and his saltish tenderness mixed up with fresh thoroughness of a hominy in something ingenious. However, it is time to pass from lyrics directly to a subject of our conversation …
of Suluguni, as well as sheep cheese, belongs to the category of the brine cheeses without crust ripening in a brine - solution of table salt. This ancient way is still widespread in the east where cheese is stored in jugs or wineskins with salty water or grape juice. It is the main thing. For the rest suluguni, as well as is necessary to the free son of the Caucasus, has no rigid framework, and any especially strict regulations on its production do not exist.This cheese is made by
practically of any milk - cow, sheep, buffalo and even goat, and sometimes of their mix. Classical mingrelian suluguni has to be only from sheep, but on all, as they say, will not save enough sheep. Therefore the industrial option is made from cow, and by the most tasty, slightly yellowish, it turns out from fat milk of buffalo cows.
In - the second, unlike sheep cheese (skvasit, podpressovat and - in a brine) the manufacturing techniques of suluguni are more difficult. By the way, it is well-known also in the Southern Italy where it is applied by production of fibrous cheeses like provolena. This technology (cheese weight is heated, extend or knead and only then form) is connected first of all with milk transportation problems. From - for hot climate the turned sour milk often came to syrodeln, and the cheese clot from it turned out unstable quality. If to such clot to allow to lie down several hours in the warm place or it is even better - to ship in hot water or serum, then it becomes plastic. And if after that cheese weight to extend or knead, then it is stabilized, forming fibers or threads.
So, milk for suluguni at first is heated approximately to 31 - 35 º With, and then in 30 - 35 minutes skvashivat lactic bacteria (sometimes with an additive of abomasal enzyme). As a result quite dense and elastic cheese clot turns out. It is crushed on pieces of 6 in size - 10 mm, delete about 2/3 serums, weight is slightly podpressovyvat, trying not to delete all serum which is necessary for maturing of cheese, and leave to reach for about five hours, several times during this time overturning. When future cheese ripens to the necessary standard, on its surface there are eyes. And full readiness of a semi-finished product is checked so: from cheese pinch off a piece weighing 25 - 30 g, immerse it in the water heated to 70 - 80 º With, for 3 - 5 minutes, then weight is stretched - the ripened “dough“ has to last and stick together well.On it tortures of suluguni do not come to an end in
- there comes the most responsible moment. The ripened cheese weight is cut strips about 1 cm thick and spread for melting in a copper with heated to 70 - 80 º With water or with fresh, exempted from proteins, serum. Cheese strips melt, and the cheese maker begins to knead them in homogeneous mass (in house conditions manually - a wooden mixer).
viscous layered weight is spread Then on a table, cut off from it the piece corresponding to the form size, the outer edges turn inside and a hand (hotly, of course, and what to do!) round a surface. The ready cheese is lowered for a couple of minutes in cold water that cooled down and hardened, and then stack in the form salted. When formation is finished, “washers“ of suluguni carefully immerse in pools with the cold brine prepared on water or serum and let in free floating.
Everything, it is possible to go to have a rest. Cheese will not drown, and will only properly be salted then it will be sent for drying. And on a counter its flat heads - disks will appear or fresh - in 2 - 3 days after production, or sustained - in 1,5 months. But there is more to come. Some cheeses suspend for 10 minutes to be smoked in the damp chamber impregnated with a smoke at a temperature of 40 - 50 º C. And Abkhazians just spread heads on a wattled flooring, hang up it over the center, kindled on wood of an elm, mulberry or alder, smoke until a crust it does not become reddish - brown. They have also a suluguni “with a surprise“: cheese dough is located in a superficial bowl with a wide bottom, is leveled, and in the center the crushed fresh sour-milk cheese stuffing (it is more similar to cottage cheese), seasoned with pounded mint with salt is put. Edges of suluguni turn upward, pinch, cut off superfluous, smooth a head. Further - everything, as usual. Before giving cheese is cut, filled in with hot sauce from sour milk with adjika, strewed with cilantro and given.Try
- of the Souffle from suluguni with tomatoes and peperon
- suluguni haricot Salad
- the Baked pepper with suluguni and spicy herbs
- Very fast khachapuris
Roasted and burned
Now before you - suluguni for every taste. At first it seemed to me that it is the best of all fresh - soft, fragrant, melts in the mouth. With age I estimated also sustained: you take a thin Armenian unleavened wheat cake, you put on it grasses - muravka, from above - a piece of suluguni, still a grass, you turn in a tubule, strong you clamp in the left hand, in right - a glass of wine, and greedy you look over a plate with the smoking shish kebab, regretting that hands only two … (Recently kindled a brazier on a balcony, clamped several such cheese tubules in a grilny lattice and warmed up them on coals - perfectly!) Then I made friends with smoked suluguni - it perfectly melts on hot sandwiches, is good and just like that. Cut off a piece, chewed, jammed an unleavened wheat cake crust, washed down kindzmaraul - tsinandal - mukuzan - and started singing about Suliko.
Somehow, during travel across Crete, we with the wife decided to have a bite in a roadside tavern. In the menu I saw “saganak“ and understood: I want. The waiter put on a table two plates with big flat cakes of the sheep kasser cheese (the Greek relative of the suluguni) strewed with a dushitsa and generously flavored with lemon juice roasted on olive oil brought white porous loaf and a jug of ice “Retsina“. It was the tourist`s breakfast in paradise. Cheese was not too sharp, gentle, but nevertheless rather dense, and the white wine which is slightly tasting bitter coniferous pitch was ideally suited to it. By the way, to strong brine cheeses it is good to give young red, but not too tart …
Ya was remembered then by Cyprus where already the Cyprian halum cheese the chef of our restaurant in Limassol publicly poured over brandy, set fire for a minute - another, and then effectively extinguished a flame lemon juice, breaking a storm of applause of the yearned tourists … It is a lot more - much earlier, at “cave“ restaurant under Sukhumi, I ate fried suluguni, washing down it slightly sweetish and moderately cooled with “Psou“.
Something similar was also in Tbilisi, only wine was poured kakhetinsky house, “worked“ in due form - in cone-shaped jugs, vryty in the earth, where this nectar wandered, it was maintained, and then and stored probably specially to my arrival …
everything Outdoors becomes primitively. You take cheese, you cut pieces, you get on a skewer, you roast over the heated coals and you eat. - it is slightly more difficult than the house. At first you take a frying pan - best of all clay “ketsa“ on which the Georgian cooks fry and bake khachapuri. It can be established safely directly on naked flame or in an oven - nothing happens. Established, put couple of tablespoons of butter - the frying pan is heated, oil thaws. Now you take a circle of suluguni - grams six hundred, you cut on quarters. You roll them in flour (it is possible to dip previously into an egg lyezon), you put on the warmed frying pan, you powder with flour, you cover with a plate and you fry at first 3 - 5 minutes on the one hand, and then slightly less (do not forget about flour) - with another. You spread fried cheese on plates, from above you throw greens (cilantro, Reagan, an estragon - at choice or everything), you squeeze out a floor - a limonchik - and forward!
Fans of fried eggs or an omelet with cheese can cut cheese more thinly, fry on a frying pan to an easy zolotistost, fill in with the eggs which properly are shaken up together with mineral water, and then to bring to readiness in an oven. On 200 grams of suluguni 6 - 7 eggs, couple of spoons of butter, salt to taste and “Borjomi“ are required. How many? Experiment - I have enough quarter of a glass.
the Omelette leaves unusually air. And, believe, it is not mineral water - the main thing, of course, cheese as now it is accepted to speak, “the Caucasian nationality“. And in the best sense of this strange phrase.