Good sirene is like a good wine: they both need time to mature and ripen.
Of course, before reaching this final stage, some complicated spells are required, known only to experts in the craft of sirene-making. Since we are lucky to know some of them we were able to get to their secrets and now we are eager to share them with you!
We start with the most important, the basis of every lump of sirene and each piece of kashkaval –
One kilogram of harmonica’s sirene is produced from as much as 6.5-7 liters of pure and delicious organic milk. We always use whole cow’s milk, whose texture and taste (and respectively that of the sirene) varies during the different periods of the year. This comes as a result of the different types of food the cows consume during different seasons – fresh grass and herbs during spring and summer and a more caloric mixture of dry food (produced by the farmers themselves, without hormones or artificial admixtures) during the fall and winter.
Milk is heated up to a maximum of 72 degrees – just enough to eliminate dangerous microorganisms, but to retain nutrients and flavor. We then add traditional Bulgarian yeasts (starter cultures), which enrich the sirene with a remarkable taste and flavor, adding probiotic characteristics. When all this is done we leave sirene to mature for at least 60 days to bring the best out of it.
As for kashkaval things are a bit more sophisticated.
The first difference is that in order to make one kilogram of kashkaval we use almost twice as much milk as with white cheese – about 10-11 liters. It is heated up to 74 degrees, avoiding pasteurization and providing it with a typical structure of kashkaval. Then the kashkaval is left to mature for between 60 and 90 days, depending on the season of production – kashkaval requires different time to reach its best taste during the different periods of the year.
Ripening is a very important process for kashkaval.
It endows the kashkaval with a delicate and romantic milky flavor, which is exclusively due to the pure and tasty raw milk. This is why we don’t try to save even a single day from this important period.
And since sirene and kashkaval have matured completely and taste at their best all that remains for us is to enjoy them!