Bareni Sir

Milk and milk products - Serbia

In the municipality of Majdanpek, on Mt. Miroč and the Lower Podunavlje hills around Donji Milanovac, a white dried cheese made of cow's milk called bareni sir is traditionally produced. Curd is seperated from whey and pressed into a form for two hours, while the whey is heated to boiling. Albumin cheese is separated from the boiling whey (urda is a separate product). Square slices of the pressed fresh cheese are immersed into the boiling whey, which is then left to cool. The cheese is then removed from the whey and placed on a wooden board, traditionally placed so as to be exposed to the sun and the wind to dry. Then the slices are salted and packed into buckets. Then whey from the previous process is salted and poured into the buckets to cover cheese. For 1 kg of cheese, 7-8 liters of milk are needed depending of the season (and the cows' diet of hay or pasture). The production season starts in September or October, when calves are separated from cows, and the cheese is produced for a maximum of 8 months. The cows used are usually a domestic, spotted breed like Simmental.Bareni sir is served fresh, sliced into smaller pieces or grilled for a short period of time. It has a salty taste and elastic (but not gummy) consistency. Grilling releases a pleasant aroma that mixes with the smoke, giving a specific flavor which no other traditional cheese in Serbia posesses. A time consuming production method and inability to fetch high market prices in an area of economic difficulty make it difficult for bareni sir to compete against cheaper white cheeses on the market, which take less time to produce and contain more whey (and so are less expensive to produce).