Kasseri (Greek: κασέρι, Turkish: kaşer/kaşar) is a medium-hard or hard pale yellow cheese made from pasteurised or unpasteurized sheep milk and at most 20%, goat's milk. "Kasseri" is a protected designation of origin according to which the cheese must be made in the Greek provinces of Thessaly, Macedonia, Lesbos and Xanthi, but a similar type of cheese is found outside Greece, in Turkey, Romania and the Balkans where it is known as kashkaval. The same cheese is made with cow's milk, but in that case it cannot be legally sold as "kasseri" in the EU and is instead sold under names that are particular to each producer.
Kasseri is of semi-hard to hard consistency, smooth rather than crumbly, chewy and with a hard-rind. It belongs to the pasta filata family of cheeses, that includes fresh cheeses like Mozzarella and aged ones like Provolone or Caciocavallo. PDO kasseri is made by heating milk to 36 °C (97 °F) and adding enough rennet for a curd to set in 45 minutes. Once the curd has set, it is divided into maize size pieces and then cooked at 38–40 °C (100–104 °F) while stirring. Afterwards the curd is transferred to draining tables where it's ground to small pieces by hand, tightly bound in cheesecloth, topped with a small weight and left to ferment until its pH is about 5.2. The curd is then cut into thin slices, placed in hot water at 70–80 °C (158–176 °F) and kneaded until it becomes a malleable mass that can be spun into a smooth thread of at least 1 meter (3 feet 3 inches) in length. The kneaded cheese mass is put into forms and salted while being turned, over the course of two or three days. Finally, it is taken out of the forms and aged for at least three months at a temperature of 18 °C (64 °F).
The name kasseri comes either from the Latin caseus (cheese) or from the Turkish kaşer which in turn comes from Hebrew כָּשֵׁר (kosher). The lack of the use rennet[clarification needed] during its production makes the cheese fit for the requirements of the Jewish law, as the cheese was invented in Edirne, Turkey, by the Jewish community of the town. It is not to be confused with the Turkish province of Kayseri.
- Merriam-Webster Unabridged - kasseri
- "The Art of Making Kasseri", Epikouria Magazine, Fall/Winter 2006
- "kaşar". Nişanyan Sözlük. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
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