The taste of Georgian cheeses will not leave indifferent either a sophisticated gourmet or an ordinary layman. The absolute leader (in terms of sales and popularity among the population) is Suluguni. It is best to buy cheese in the market, rather than in the supermarket, in order to feel the real Georgian spirit, and not the industrial scale of the cheese factory. Ideally, cheese should be cooked the day before: it is easy to determine by the color of the head (the lighter the fresher).
Cheese is eaten as an appetizer, main course, cooked, fried and even marinated. What really stands for a familiar taste and is it safe to diversify the diet with cheese?
Suluguni is one of the varieties of traditional pickled Georgian cheese. Geographically, the Suluguni belong to the Samegrelo region. The cheese has a bright, devoid of sour-milk taste, moderately salty taste and aroma, a dense structure that exfoliates, but retains the elasticity of the form. In the original recipe, a small number of voids and “eyes” are allowed, which are formed under the influence of air. Only irregularly shaped voids are allowed. The color palette of the original Suluguni ranges from pure white to a muted yellow hue. The color should be uniform and evenly cover the entire surface of the cheese.
Industrial production of suluguni is regulated by the GOST of a particular country. Pay attention to the country / manufacturer and check for compliance with national standards. So you protect yourself from fakes, low-quality goods and unpleasant consequences.
Features of etymological origin
The name of the cheese is directly related to its historical homeland - the land of Samegrelo. The primary name of the cheese in Mingrelian sounds like "selegin." The word is considered complex and is formed of two parts. სელე (selo) - “kneading”, “kneading”, გინ (gin) - cattle (reference to the main component of traditional cheese - cow or buffalo milk).
There is another version of the etymological origin of the word. It is believed that the word could go from the Digor dialect of the Ossetian language, in which the word "sulugun" is used to indicate whey. According to the doctor of philological sciences T.A. Guriev, the prefix "guns" indicates a peculiar belonging and dependence. In this case, "suluguni" means - made / made from whey.
The third version of Georgian philologists points out the connection between the words "suli" (soul) and "ghuli" (heart). A similar poetic version has taken root in folk culture, Georgian poetry and prose, but is loosely connected with the real origin of the word.
How to make suluguni
The main ingredient for cheese is pasteurized cow or buffalo milk (a mixture of the first and second species in equal proportions is allowed). The acidity of mature cow's milk is 20-21 ° T (Turner degree is a unit of measurement of the acidity level of dairy products), and when mixed with buffalo it reaches 22-25 ° T. In the traditional format, cheese is prepared on the basis of milk and natural rennet. Abomasum is part of the stomach of cattle, the so-called glandular stomach. The traditional option involves going through all the cooking processes manually, without the help of any improvised means.
In modern realities, when cheese production should be calculated in seconds, traditional methods have been replaced by innovative and technological ones. Calcium chloride, a starter based on special bacteria (consists of strains of aromatizing and lactic streptococci) is added to pasteurized milk. The resulting mixture is heated to a temperature of 35 ° C, then pepsin (or ferment from the abomasum) is introduced with the calculation of milk coagulation. After the initial processing, large clumps of cheese mass are obtained, which are divided into small cubes of 6-10 millimeters. The cheese is allowed to "rest" for 5-10 minutes, after which it is dried (10-20 minutes) and the next stage of processing begins.
For the second time, the cheese mass is exposed to high temperatures. This time the product is heated to 34-37 ° C for 15 minutes. After that, the cheddarization process takes place.
Cheddarization is the process of changing cheese mass. The product is exposed to lactic acid until it receives a fibrous-layered structure and a dense elastic consistency. Small cheese clots stick together in a single layer and, as a result of the intensification of the lactic acid process, turn into cheese, which we see on food stalls.
After cheddarization, the suluguni are melted, about 80% of the serum is removed, a single layer is re-formed and pressed. The pressed mass is left at a temperature of 28-32 ° C. Repeated cheddarization occurs, and then the ripening of the finished cheese. The average ripening time of Suluguni is 3 hours.
After lengthy manipulations, the cheese is squeezed out of moisture, given the necessary shape (pigtail, layer, slices, whole piece), packed in a container filled with acidic whey brine and left for several hours. Some cheeses are smoked, fried, boiled again or pickled in special brines / spices to enhance the taste. The finished product is vacuum packed and sent to points of sale.
The chemical composition of the finished product
|Calorie content||286 kcal|
|Alimentary fiber||0 g|
|Beta Carotene (A)||0,05|
|Ascorbic acid (C)||0,7|
|Microelements (in milligrams per 100 grams of product)|
|Macronutrients (in micrograms per 100 grams of product)|
Useful properties of the ingredient
Due to the high concentration of calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P), the cheese helps strengthen the skeletal system, prevents the development of pathologies of the musculoskeletal system. The use of cheese for a long time creates a certain cumulative effect:
- vascular walls are strengthened;
- blood circulation improves;
- metabolic processes are accelerated and digestion is normalized;
- the skin is cleansed, acne is minimized, allergic rashes.
Moreover, Suluguni contains a high concentration of salt. It is an essential nutrient from the compound of sodium and chlorine (NaCl). The compound comes exclusively from the outside and cannot be synthesized by the human body. Chlorine is responsible for the normal functioning of digestion, as it is part of the blood, bile and gastric juice. Sodium supports water, acid-base balance, promotes the formation of nerve impulses. The component is responsible for the supply of oxygen / liquid / nutrients to the cells and the maintenance of muscle tone.
Lack of salt in the body leads to impaired digestion, heart and blood vessels, the development of depressive states and mental illness. But excessive enthusiasm for salt can cost a person life, it is not for nothing that the product is called "white death". If you decide to abandon salt as a seasoning, then cheese will be a real salvation to maintain salt balance.
A few slices of suluguni will fill up the required amount of salt and cope with hunger for a long time.
Use of ingredient in cooking
Culinary experts call Suluguni universal cheese. It goes well with vegetables or fruits, as well as meat / fish components. Suluguni creates the best flavor combinations with:
- red onion;
- lean meats;
- sour cream;
- balsamic vinegar.
They serve cheese in all possible forms: cheese, smoked, baked, fried. By changing the type of heat treatment of cheese, you can radically alter the taste palette of a whole dish. The most popular dish with suluguni is khachapuri. This is a traditional Georgian tortilla with cheese filling. Also, the product can be added to salads, snacks, served in addition to the first and second courses.
Possible harm from using the product
Cheese is the fattest and most salted food product. A person is rarely limited to a small piece of cheese, and large amounts of suluguni consumption are fraught with serious consequences. Why can't we stop eating cheese? Researchers at Welcome Research Laboratories Research Triangle Park found the answer to this question in the 80s. A special chemical compound was discovered in the composition of the dairy product, the structure of which is very similar to morphine. This element is secreted in the liver of a cow and, accordingly, goes to milk / its derivatives. The component leads to overeating, which is fraught with:
- violation of the stool;
- violation of eating habits;
- increased cholesterol;
- the development of pathologies of the heart and blood vessels.
Several slices of suluguni contain about 50-70% of the daily norm of an adult. To avoid overeating, you need to correctly calculate the BJU, drink more filtered water (it suppresses hunger / stabilizes the functionality of the body) and eat more fresh vegetables / fruits.
Cheese production also raises many questions. Many manufacturers care more about the density of their own wallet than about the health of the consumer. In dairy products, pus, antibiotics, hormones are fed with cows to get more milk in a short time.
The human body absorbs this entire chemical kit along with food.
This is fraught with:
- serious hormonal imbalance;
- failure of the gastrointestinal tract;
- violation of the balance of microflora.
But there is no need to completely abandon the beloved Suluguni. As you know, the "forbidden fruit is sweet" and you will definitely want to break a fragile ban. Allow yourself a cheese meal 1-2 times a week. Choose a responsible manufacturer and monitor the quality of consumed products. If 6 of 7 days a week your diet is rational and balanced, then the pleasant joy in the form of a slice of cheese will certainly not be able to harm the body.
How to choose the right product
Suluguni sales places are the most diverse. Cheese is sold both in local markets and in chain supermarkets. Choosing a quality product in the store is much easier - you have a certified manufacturer, and all the necessary information is placed on the label. What you should pay attention to:
- manufacturing company and its details;
- implementation period;
- calorie content.
Moreover, the buyer can at least a few hours to examine the vacuum packaging of cheese for flaws or foreign objects. In the market all the necessary information should be obtained from the seller. Ideally, he should have a certificate that confirms the quality of the products. If there are no such documents, say goodbye to the seller and go in search of a more responsible manufacturer. In the market, give free rein to all your receptors: examine the cheese, smell, taste.
Aged suluguni is characterized by moderate bitterness, so do not be alarmed by the additional taste sensations, but try to enjoy them and feel every new shade.
Hue can vary from perfect white to yellowish (depending on the type of milk, the level of fat content, the presence of additional ingredients). Damage to the surface of the cheese is unacceptable (only small uneven bulges that are formed under the influence of air are possible). The surface should be moist and mucous due to coating with acidic serum.
Shape and structure
The consistency of the cheese should be dense and at the same time elastic. Try to easily press the surface with your finger - the cheese should spring up and fill with moisture (whey). Suluguni can have absolutely any form, so focus on your own aesthetic preferences.