Typical WBC is made from sheep milk, which contains a large amount of casein, fat, and salts, and is comparatively poorer to lactose than cow milk. Nowadays about 60% of the total amount of white-brined, cheese is produced from cow milk due to the limited opportunities for sheep milk production in Bulgaria. Cheese from a mixture of cow and sheep milk, is usually produced in the early spring and autumn when the quantity of milk is low and its technological properties are not stable (Baltadjieva, 1993). The WBC with high quality can only be made from fresh and clean milk obtained from healthy and well-fed animals and when the technological requirements for its processing are observed (Gruev and Minkov, 1994). Its titratable acidity should be about 22-23°T for sheep milk and 19-20°T for cow milk. If the raw milk is not going to be processed immediately into cheese, it is heated for 15 s at a different temperature, then cooled down to 4-6°C and stored in a thermo-isolated tank for not more than 18 h.


Pasteurization of milk is earned out at 68-70°C with a holding of 20-25 min. Then the milk is cooled down to appropriate coagulation temperature. A required step is separating the milk into solid curds and liquid whey. Curdling is achieved by acidifying (souring) the milk and addition of rennet. The starter cultures (Lb. lactis ssp. Lactis-Lb. caseioi Lb. delbrueckii ssp. Bulgaricus-Str. thermophihis in a different ratio between the two groups) are also added. The quantity of starters (0.15-0.2% v/v) is determined by the level of the lactic acid fermentation in the cheese. In order to restore the damaged curdling capacity of the pasteurized milk, 0.017-0.03% v/v calcium dichloride and the same concentration of rennet are added so that coagulation starts in about 8-12 min and the compaction of the coagulum is accomplished in 1 h.


In Bulgaria, it is perceived that curdling, processing, draining, cutting, and salting of cheese should be earned out on metal vats with strainers in them.

Milk is curdled and initially processed into a polyethylene canvas which is stretched over a cloth of filter tissue. The obtained curd is cut into prisms (2x2 cm2) and then stirred at certain time intervals so as to separate enough whey. After cutting, the curd is left to stand for about 10 minutes after which the polyethylene canvas is gently withdrawn. Curd remains in the drainage tissue. The strainer is tied up by which a large amount of whey is separated. In order to accelerate the separation of whey, flat weights for pressing cheese are placed on the cheese curd. Curd is considered to be well-pressed when the water content reaches about 61-63% for sheep cheese and 62-64% for cow cheese. Pressing of curd is made for 3-3.5 h. The acidity of the curd increases to 50-70°T and the last quantities of whey must have an acidity of 20-23°T. The higher water content and acidity are indicative of an accelerated rate of the lactic acid fermentation, which leads to strong dehydration of the paracasein syringes by LAB end oproteases and production of a solid, brittle, and unspotted taste and aroma (Baltadjieva, 1993).


Salting is carried out in an aqueous solution of NaCl with a salt concentration of 18-22%, acidity 25°T, and temperature 14-16°C during the summer and 17-18°C-during the winter season for 12-15 h. At the end of salting cheese should contain 2.0-2.5% salt, and the fully-ripened cheese 3.5-4.5% salt. At a lower salt concentration cheese increases its water content, it becomes softer and has a shorter shelf-life, with a sweet taste due to the decay and the greater accumulation of amino acids (proline and oxyproline). Cheese is further salted by adding pure sea salt to individual rows and is poured with brine with a high salt concentration and acidity of 150°T. An optional method of salting the WBC is diy salting: very well-pressed, immediately after cutting cheese is packed and the required amount of salt is placed between the rows so that it can be salted to the standard limits. This method of salting requires a longer pressing of the curd, considering its water content at the moment of cutting to be not more than 60%.


WBC is packed in barrels or metal cans with a mass of 16, 8, 4, and 1.0 kg. The rectangular pieces of cheese should be aligned tightly to the full capacity of the package where after cheese is closed hermetically. Then the cheese is left to mature in the following conditions: (i) at 14-15°C for 2-3 days, whereat the titratable acidity should reach 180°T and the water content-about 54%, and (ii) at 10°C and relative moisture of 75% for cheese in cans and 85-97% in barrels, matured in brine with a salt concentration of 10-12% and an acidity of not less than 120°T.

Maturation of cheese under these conditions lasts for about 60 days. During that time, the titratable acidity is increased to 250-300°T. The lactose is fermented completely and lactic acid is produced during the first 10-15 days. The homofermentative species Lb. lactis ssp. lactis plays a main role in the fermentation. Initially, paracasein in cheese is partially hydrolyzed to peptones by introduced rennet and enzymes, produced mainly from mesophilic Lb. lactis ssp. lactis. During the second stage of maturation, active participation takes the mesophilic species Lb. casei. The contribution of thermophilic LAB in the ripening is limited and causes high salt concentration and relatively low ripening temperature. Due to the low pH of the brine, the decomposition of paracasein in the depth is lower, compared to this of hard cheeses. As a result of ripening about 20-25% of the total amount of proteins, pass into a soluble form. After ripening WBC from sheep milk is stored at 2-4°C for up to one year, and cheese from cow milk-up to 10 months (Baltadjieva, 1993).


The types of white cheeses in brine are often prepared according to traditional recipes, based on accumulated empirical knowledge for centuries (Alichanidis and Polychroniadou, 2008). The reason for the wide spectrum of consumption of these dairy products in the Balkans is due to the typical acid-milk taste and aroma. They are formed during the maturation process of the cheese in brine and can be preserved easily, without changes for up to 10-12 months of storage, under proper conditions (Baltadjieva, 1993). Due to the specific taste this type of cheese is highly consumed (Alichanidis and Polychroniadou, 2008) in many ways, e.g., for breakfast, as a snack or as an essential ingredient in some traditional meals and even in sweets (Abu- Alruz et al., 2009). Presently, consumers highly estimate the cheese from different types of milk (sheep, cow, goat, and/or buffalo milk), because of its proven functional characteristics. It possesses caloric and physiological completeness, due to the high protein and fat content (10-30%), the presence of easily digested peptides, free amino acids, vitamins (A, D, Br B12, and E) and microelements (Baltadjieva, 1993). The consumption of WBC favors digestion and avoids the growth of putrefactive bacteria in the gut. Moreover, different compounds from proteins, lactose, fats, and mineral substances are formed, during the maturation. They contribute to a very good nutritive balance and healthy homeostasis of the gastrointestinal tract.

The mineral composition of this product is characterized by a good content of calcium, potassium, and beneficial microelements. A major part of the calcium is in an ionized form and plays an important role in the construction and preservation of the teeth and the skeletal system in general (Baltadjieva, 1993). The high level of calcium also favors the stability of bones and protects from rachitis and osteoporosis (Dabevska-Kostoska et al., 2015; Barac et al., 2017).

Unlike Feta cheese, the WBC is characterized by a higher fat content. This cheese adds extra taste when crumbled onto fresh vegetables, salads, chicken, and seafood. While some use white cheese to enhance entrees, Bulgarians make a great table with cheese, paired with olives, crusty bread, and cured meat such as ham and salami or they complement its tart, salty flavor with light red and sweet white wines, tomato juice, and citrus drinks. Spiced up, this appetizing cheese fills a sauteed fresh roasted sweet red pepper or is found in savoiy pepper byurek (breaded and fried pepper). It can also be used as topping on chopped cucumbers, sweet peppers, onions, and tomatoes in the refreshing shopska salad that accompanies many traditional Bulgarian meals. Popular Feta cheese now hails from many Mediterranean and Eastern European countries as well as the USA where one variety, like WBC is made with cow milk. It is perfectly crumbled on salads and can also be used in cooking or on crackers as well. This cheese develops a quite strong flavor and if you like “hearty” cheeses; you must give it a try.

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