Sürk and Carra Cheese

Sürk and Carra Cheese

“Sürk”, meaning cottage cheese in Arabic, is a taste specific to Hatay, and has a peculiar making process. Ingredients of the blue cottage cheese are; fresh cottage cheese, olive oil, black pepper, basil leaves, flaked pepper, clove, thyme, pimento, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, garlic and hot pepper paste.

There are regional cottage cheese types such as Hatay Tumulus cottage cheese and Antakya Thyme Carra Cottage Cheese (ÜNSAL, 2000). Cottage cheese is stored after being a little salted so that it endures for a long period of time. Cottage cheese is more made at homes with traditional methods, and thus there isn’t a standard in cottage cheese.
Cottage cheese making method is this; milk obtained through normal ways are left to souring a day before making the cottage cheese.

Soured milk is left for settling on the oven at a moderate temperature (40-45°C). A lemon is squeezed or lemon salt is added in order to accelerate the process. The water inside slowly evaporates, and sediments subside. Sediments formed are taken into filter clothes and let the water be filtered by hanging on a high position.
After being well-filtered, cottage cheese is taken out of the clothes, salted and generally consumed fresh. Sometimes, it is salted and stuffed into air-tight jars or animal skins to be consumed later on, and consumed after being kept in a cool place for 3-4 months (KAMBER, 2005).

It is consumed in breakfasts, in salads or solely minced in extra-virgin olive oil. The mixture prepared is shaped by hand, laid on a tray with gaps between them, and dried for 3-4 days in a shadowy place with a cheesecloth on it.

Storks prepared are consumed fresh or after molded for 20-25 days in a shadowy place at the ambient temperature (BERKAY-KARACA and GÜVEN, 2009). Suleiman the Magnificent fed his army with the antiseptic and antibiotic featured blue cottage cheese in 14th century so that soldiers have resistance and a strong immune system.

Carra Cheese is more often made of goat’s milk, and when there is inadequate or no goat’s milk available, cow’s milk is also used. It is a cheese type that is made of 1 kg cottage cheese, 1 kg salt-free fresh cheese, and black sesame. Fresh cheese is cut into pieces just a bit larger than a matchbox, and salted a lot.

It is kept for a day so that it releases its water. Cottage and cheese are separately mixed with the desired amount of black sesame. Firstly some salt, and than a handful of prepared cottage cheese is added into the pottery jugs called “Carra”, and the cottage cheese is pressed down with a fist. More cottage cheese is added after a layer of prepared cheese added on top of the pressed cottage.
This must be repeated until the jug is air-tight full. Fully loaded jugs are turned upside down in a suitable place, and kept there for 3-4 days so that excess water is leaked. Then, a handful of salt and thyme must be added on top of the jug, and the jug must be closed with a cloth.

Some salt, wood ash, some olive oil and water must be mixed in a pot, and the opening of the jug must be fully covered with this mixture. After this mixture dries up, just must be buried in a cool place upside down, or kept in a fridge for 3 months, so that it becomes mellow (BERKAY-KARACA and GÜVEN, 2009).