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Balkan kashkaval cheese starter culture


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Kashkaval is a cheese that is eaten in Bulgaria, but also in the rest of the Balkans up to Israel. It is somewhat similar to cheddar but has a very specific taste and a great aroma thanks to the presence of lactobacillus bulgaricu

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Kashkaval is a cheese that is eaten in Bulgaria, but also in the rest of the Balkans up to Israel. It is somewhat similar to cheddar but has a very specific taste and a great aroma thanks to the presence of lactobacillus bulgaricus lactic acid bacteria.


  • 4 grams of Bulgarian Kashkaval culture enough for 10 liters of milk (approx. 2 kg of cheese).
  • Strength: 1 gram starter contains more than 25 billion cfu of lactic acid probiotic bacteria. 100% potency guaranteed.
  • The starter is organic and completely natural without preservatives, additives, artificial colors or flavors. It contains no GMO ingredients and it is gluten free.
  • Store in the freezer. Use everything at once.
  • Origin: produced in Bulgaria.
  • Allergens: milk
  • Contents: milk, starter cultures

Micro organisms

Lactobacillus bulgaricus, streptococcus thermophilus, lactococcus lactis, lactococcus cremoris, lactococcus dyacetylactis, lactococcus helveticus

Storage instructions

In the freezer. After use, store the yogurt starter in the freezer in a Ziploc bag or in a vacuum. The starter is very hydrophilic – if moisture gets into the package, the quality will deteriorate. Shelf life is 2 years in the freezer.


It is not difficult to make Bulgarian Kashkaval using this starter culture. You have to take the time for it.

Ingredients and materials

You can use any kind of milk you want – cows, sheep, goats, skimmed, whole, raw, or pasteurized milk. In all cases it produces a great Kashkaval! Simply avoid using ultra-pasteurized or UHT milk because it does not curdle well and because it affects the taste. We recommend using whole milk for the best results. This is a Direct Vat Inoculation (DVI) culture, meaning you can add the starter straight from the freezer to the milk.

The instructions below are for handling 4 liters of milk, so you must adjust them for other quantities accordingly. 4 liters of milk to make approximately 800 grams of soft yellow (kashkaval) cheese.

  • 4 liters of milk
  • 1 packet of the kashkaval starter culture (it’s best to use the whole packet, so make sure you have a packet for the amount of milk you treat)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of liquid rennet diluted in 1/4 cup of cold water (Turkish supermarkets sell this)
  • When using pasteurized milk: 1/4 teaspoon of liquid calcium chloride diluted in 1/4 cup of cold water (breweries)
  • cheese mold
  • sea ​​salt
  • a simple kitchen pH meter to measure the pH of the curd and the whey
  • thermometer – can do without, but it’s always handy to have one


  1. Prepare the milk: heat the milk to 74-78 ° С. You do this to kill existing bacteria in it, which can react with the culture.
  2. Cool the milk to 34-37 ° C.
  3.  add the starter culture to the milk.
  4. Let it hydrate for 5 minutes and then stir it into the milk with a gentle up and down motion to distribute it well.
  5. Stir occasionally in the next 30 minutes.
  6. Add the diluted calcium dichloride solution and stir it slowly into the milk for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the rennet in droplets while you keep stirring, stir for another 3-5 minutes.
  8. Cover the pan and let it stand for about an hour. The milk will aggregate into a curd.
  9. Check for a clean break after one hour. If the break is still messy, cover the pot again and let it stand for another 15 minutes and then test again.
  10. Process the curd: cut the curd into 1 cm squares with a knife. Try to cut so that the pieces are more or less the same size.
  11. Then let them rest for another 5 minutes. This helps to separate more whey.
  12. Now you have to slowly heat up the pan with the curd. Allow the temperature to rise very slowly, for example every 5 minutes by 1 degree.
  13. Start heating while stirring the curd and whey while slowly and steadily raising the temperature to 35-38 ° C over 10 minutes.
  14. Then continue to heat up even more slowly to 40-42 ° C over 20 minutes (total heating time is 30 minutes).
  15. Now try to keep the temperature between 40-42 ° С until curd is pH 5.6-5.7 (approximately 2 hours).
  16. Then we have to drain the curd. At the end of the previous heating step, curd grains must lie on the bottom of the pan. Drain all the whey in a colander, but keep it, because you will need it later.
  17. Squeeze the curd into a block to form a doughy mass while draining off excess whey.
  18. Drain for another 1 to 2 hours and remove the oozing whey.
  19. Now comes the characteristic cheddaring section. For this you need to store the curd block in a colder place (20-22 ° C, room temperature) to mature until a pH of 5.2-5.3 is reached. This usually takes between 2 and 10 hours – you can just leave it overnight.
  20. The curd must now be ready to stretch. Do a stretch test to determine if this is the case – take a few small pieces of curd and immerse them in 75 and 80 ° C water for a few minutes, then knead them together for a few seconds and check that you are turning the curd into a can pull shiny thread, a bit like melted cheese. If the curd is not ready, you can reheat it to allow bacterial growth to continue and lower the pH.

Stretch and shape the kashkaval.

  1. Then we form the kashkaval. This is done in a hot bath. Cut the curd block into thin strips and place them in hot brine – 72-75 ° C made from water with 16-18% salt, and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Take them out, roll them together and carefully knead them into a homogeneous mass. If the pieces do not stick well together, immerse them in the hot brine for 2-3 minutes. After kneading for a while and when you have reached a smooth and shiny surface, transfer the curd dough into a cheese mold (each mold is sufficient).
  3. Press it really well, it should be homogeneous at this point. Now you have to cool the curd cheese curd in a water bath of 10-15 ° C for about 40-60 minutes or let it cool overnight in a cool room (12-18 ° C).

Salt and save the Kashkaval

  1. Dissolve 18 – 20% salt in warm water, and allow it to cool to 10-15 ° C if necessary.
  2. Place the kashkaval 2 hours in this brine.
  3. Then add a spoonful of lemon juice (or a pinch of citric acid) to the brine, dilute the lake with water and use this brine to keep the kashkaval in the fridge for another week at about 4 ° C.
  4. Ready!

Buying a Balkan cheese starter culture?

Order your Balkan cheese starter culture at startercultures.eu, the European webshop for all your fermentation needs’. By Meneer Wateetons, renowned Dutch fermentation expert and author. Order on weekdays before  3 pm and we’ll ship the same day.  Questions on the usage of the vegan cheese starter kit? Ask them in our chat, we’ll here to help!

Online on demand workshop ‘how to make vegan cheese at home’ (subtitled)

During this English subtitled workshop you will learn the theory and practice of making vegan cheesevegan blue cheese starter kits at home, with a focus on vegan camembert and vegan blue cheese . Foodwriter ‘Meneer Wateetons’, author of several books on fermentation and alternative food preparation techniques,  will teach you all about fermentation, curing salts, food safety, pH, starter cultures, molds and drying conditions. Click here for more info.


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