Serena cheese . The La Serena Cheese comes from Merino sheep milk from the La Serena grassland production area in the northeast of the province of Badajoz , which has an extension of about 300,000 ha. La Serena cheese is a Protected Designation of Origin.
[ hide ]
- 1 Ingredients
- 2 Elaboration
- 3 Morphology
- 4 Sources
There are three ingredients that set the characteristics of this cheese: merino sheep’s milk , feeding the sheep based on the aromatic pastures of La Serena and fermentation with native vegetable rennet .
Milking the sheep is done by hand. Dairy production of merina is scarce and typically it takes 12 to 20 sheep to produce one kilogram of cheese. The milk is mixed with a vegetable rennet that is the flower of the wild thistle (Cynara cardunculus). That is, the purple carpels of the wild thistle flower are responsible for the transformation of milk into cheese. Coagulation occurs slowly, separating the whey from the mass or curd. The maturation lasts about 8 weeks, in which the pasta is wrapped in the pleitas or cinch esparto, turning the cheese every one or two days for its regular production. At the end of this phase, the paste is very soft, creamy, almost liquid, ivory in color. On the contrary, the bark is hard and cracked, waxy in color. Keeping it longer hardens the inner paste, giving it a more yellow color, a stronger flavor, an intense smell and a cured cheese appearance.
The cheese is cylindrical in shape, the side convex in shape, with a greater base than height, with a hard, slightly oiled rind, with marks from the pleita, giving a normal weight of 1 kg (ranging from 700 g to 2 kg). The flavor is slightly bitter, which some attribute to natural rennet, it is not acidic, it is slightly salty and very fatty, with a spicy and persistent aftertaste on the palate. The creaminess depends on the maturation time, so they are called cakesthose that present the soft and fluid pasta, being the hard crust. Eating bark is discouraged. The liquid form of the pasta when the cheese is creamy or cake invites to serve it with a spoon and prevents the outer pasta from being cut from the side, as the dough would spill out. It has the texture and color of condensed milk. It is advisable to serve it by lifting the top cover, removing it and using a spoon. That is why this cheese, up to 60 days after its production, is one that is served with a spoon. The Regulatory Council of the Designation of Origin suggests that the pieces of hard or semi-hard pasta be called cheeses, while those of soft or semi-soft pasta are called cakes.