Village Cheese

Köy peyniri

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes approximately

    12 oz

    of köy peynìrì

Appears in

Classic Turkish Cooking

By Ghillie Basan

Published 1995

  • About

This is a recipe for the soft white cheese that is made every week in the villages of Anatolia.

The standard beyaz peynir, made in a similar way, is left to dry out before it is stored in salty water for six months to a year to mature. To determine the correct quantity of salt required, bring water to the boil in a pan, add salt, then crack a fresh egg into the water. If the egg sinks more salt is needed; if it floats, leave the liquid to cool before pouring it over the cheese in a container for storing. Then keep it in a cool place to absorb the salt, which also hardens the cheese.

If you have difficulty obtaining liquid rennet, it is just as easy to make this cheese by using the same quantity of lemon juice added to boiling milk to curdle it. This method is quicker, as you can strain the curdled milk immediately and leave it to drain overnight ready for breakfast.


  • 4 pints/2.4 litres milk
  • 1 tablespoon salt (more if you like a salty cheese)
  • 4 tablespoons essence of rennet


  • Pour the milk into a deep saucepan and heat it gently without a lid on. Stir in the salt and rennet and continue to heat gently until the milk is hot to the finger. (Be careful not to boil it.)
  • Turn off the heat, cover the pan with a cloth and leave it undisturbed for at least 6 hours (or overnight). In this time the milk will separate into curds and whey.
  • After 6 or more hours place a sieve or colander over a sink or bowl, line the colander with a piece of muslin and pour the milk mixture into it. Leave it to drain for another 6 hours (or overnight). When the mixture has completely drained you should be left with a lump of soft creamy cheese, which is perfect for cooking and delicious to eat just as it is.
  • Store the cheese in a cool place.