February 10, 2012

Kashkaval Cheese Production in AREC

"Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality" Clifton Paul Fadiman

I have been always fascinated by cheese. Its hundred varieties, hundred of flavors and odors...Its texture , the way it melts , the way it squeezes between our teeth. 
And I always thought what had occurred to our ancestor's mind to get the rennet from the stomach of the calves and put in milk to do cheese. It was a Magical moment.

And truly as one said “I just don't see the point of not eating cheese. I mean, if God didn't want us to eat cheese, would he have let man invent it?” 

Even Charles de Gaulle , president of France after World War 2:" "How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?”  

Cheeses might be a mystery indeed. But not if one understands them.
Actually , cheeses with their different varieties are due to different processing methods. This post will be about Kashkaval ( Bulgarian) , which is commonly known in Lebanon as "Kashkawen".
Kashkaval is from the "Pasta Filata " style Cheeses . That is it is  basically like Mozarella, Cheddar cheese, ...etc
First, It was the Romans wanted a kind of cheese that can stretch , and the way they did it was through adding hot water to the cheese curd.
Mr. Samson Atamian* organized the workshop in cooperation with Farmer to Farmer (ftf) NGO and the Nutrition and Food sciences department of  Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences and hosted by AREC .  FtF had already invited Mr. Johnathan Metzig** for training other dairy companies . Mr. Atamian was given the chance to invite and host him for one day at the American University of Beirut. 

 The purpose of the workshop was broadening the knowledge of  the food technology graduate students in the field of  cheese making. Thus, to improve their skills and knowledge, inorder to be able to improve the local food industry .

The bus left from Beirut around 8 am , we stopped on Dahr EL baidar to see the snow and continued to AREC in Bekaa  , which belongs to the premises of AUB campus.

Here is the view of the campus there:

Process following the Hungarian Style in a summarized graphical way , with no time to make my readers wait as we did !!
Getting the Milk from the Cows :

Heating the milk to the preferred temperature:

Adding the bacterial culture when reaching the adequate temperature.

Adding Rennet , the enzyme that coagulates the milk proteins.

Curd formation ( Coagulation) and syneresis :
Checking if it is solidfying


 Drain Curd to separate Whey ( liquid part)

 Curd is ladles into a cloth

Pressing the Curd under 1 to 4 kg

Checking the pH of the cheese

Cutting the Curd into Cubes
Jon Teaching us to cut the curd 

Ruba and I cutting the curd

Putting the Cheese Cubes in heated Brine solution

Jon teaching us how to collect the curds
Stretching the cheese

Nathalie streching the curd

Forming and Pressing

Francine putting the cheese in the forming containers

Brining and Ripening : Leaving the cheese for maturation for 2 months!!! No we didnt taste it! :(

For more photos . If you need more details, hit me up with your questions!

Hope you enjoyed the overview of how Kashkaval cheese is done!

Bon Appetite,


*Mr. Atamian is the Food Pilot Plant Manager at the American University of Beirut , NFSC, FAFS. The pilot plant  is a food processing laboratory where students learn how to can, preserve, and prepare various products seen in the food market such as canned fruits and vegetables, jams, powdered milk, and ketchup.

**Mr. Metzig is a volunteer Cheese maker from the state of Wisconson who already has good experience in the field on behalf of the two dairy factories that his family owns in USA . He is a graduate from Wisconsin University. He has the " Cheesemaking" License. You can check his blog the Cheese Maker Journal 


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Mustapha! Yes it was cool . oh & well The weather was actually freezing there :P

  2. Now i'm interested to make some cheese! Good job writing this one, very interesting loul!

    1. yes u just need to get the rennet and the bacteria and Voila!
      Besides havent u had enough of cheese in france?? :P

  3. good job, i enjoyed the cheese stretchn part!!!!

    1. Thank you ROua!Sorry ur name couldnt show! hehehe
      Glad u enjoyed it! it is worth doing it!