All you need to know about kashkaval cheese
Particularly popular in the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe region, kashkaval is a semi-hard yellow cheese. It derives its name from the Italian cheese “Caciocavolla”. Kashkaval cheese is made from cow’s milk or ewe’s milk. The version made from cow’s milk is called Kashkaval Vitosha. The one made from ewe’s milk is called kashkaval Balkan. There is also a variety that uses a mixture of both of these types of milk. The cheese made from the mixture of these two kinds of milk is called kashkaval Preslav.
The different names of kashkaval:
Kashkaval is very popular in countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, and Macedonia. This variety of kashkaval cheese is also to be found widely in countries such as Turkey, Hungary, and Croatia. Each country has a different name for this variety of cheese though. While the Turkish refer to this cheese as “Kasra”, the Greeks call it “Kasseri”. The Romanians, on the other hand, call it “Cascaval”.
Kashkaval belongs to the pasta filata cheeses. This means that the curd is given a hot bath during the production process. This semi-hard yellow cheese or Kashkaval cheese is allowed to age for a good six months. This lends it a piquant and spicy flavor on the one hand and salty flavor on the other. In taste, it is very similar to the cheddar cheese that is widely popular in the United Kingdom. The Kashkaval cheese is also famously referred to as “the cheddar cheese of the Balkans”.
Popular kashkaval recipes:
The slightly hard texture of this yellow cheese makes it perfect for grilling and grating. It is thus generously used in salads, pizzas, appetizers, and lasagna. One of the famous Eastern European street food made with the kashkaval cheese is kashkaval pane. It is favored for its portability and thus preferred as an appetizer or served in clubs and bars.
It is essentially fried cheese made with simple and easy to find ingredients such as flour, breadcrumbs, and eggs apart from the kashkaval cheese itself. Served hot right off the pan it is known for its crunchy, melty goodness! Another popular Bulgarian recipe made with Kashkaval cheese made in Eastern European homes is the Bulgarian cheese banitza or banitsa that is also served as an appetizer. It is can also be served in the main course alongside other dishes.
It is similar to a Greek cheese pie or a Serbian burek. To make this you will need two cups of crumbled kashkaval, 2 eggs beaten, 16 sheets of filo dough, 6 tablespoons of plain yogurt, two sticks of unsalted butter and chopped green onions and sea salt for garnishing. To make this recipe, you will need to combine the cheese, yogurt, and eggs in a large bowl and beat them until they are smooth.
The next thing to do is fold one filo sheet in half and brush it with melted butter. Portion out the filling in the sheets making either a cigar-shaped roll or an S-shaped scroll. Remember to fold up the bottom edge first and then roll it up until you are looking at a tight cylindrical shape. Repeat the process with the remaining sheets. Sprinkle with chopped green onions and sea salt if desired and place on a parchment-lined pan.
The next thing to do is bake these goodies in a pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes until they are brown and crisp. Serve hot with your favorite wine and your recipe is bound to be a hit among your guests in gathering or with your family when you are gearing up for a fun evening with food and wine! The bottom line is kashkaval is a popular cheese and can be replaced with cheddar for a slightly exotic dish or simply whipped up in an omelet!