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What is Kaseri Cheese?

S. Gonzales
S. Gonzales

A traditional Greek semi-hard cheese, Kaseri cheese is a famous alternative to mozzarella. Historically, it is one of the top two oldest cheeses in the world. While not as well-known outside of Greece, it is used extensively in local Greek dishes and it's called for in a number of Greek recipes. Cheese enthusiasts like to compare it with feta cheese and debate the characteristics and advantages of each. Those who enjoy ripe cheeses may prefer Kaseri, as it may get better with age.

Kaseri cheese can be made from 80% sheep's milk and no more than 20% goat's milk. It bears the flavors of both these milk types while creating a distinct flavor that is uniquely it's own. For example, one may expect a certain tasting experience when he first smells Kaseri cheese, as the cheese's odor is pungent and its taste is initially very salty. However, these qualities soon give way to a surprising sweetness. This is partly due to the high percentage of sheep milk that is used in its creation.

Kaseri cheese must be mostly made from sheep's milk.
Kaseri cheese must be mostly made from sheep's milk.

The color of Kaseri cheese is usually pale yellow. It's mild, palatable, buttery taste makes it a popular choice to entertain guests. Its texture is springy. Depending on the variety of cheese, it may be oily on the fingers or even dry in the mouth. Its variety and the creation processes that go into it will determine the cheese's specific properties. For example, its fat content can be anywhere from 24% to 45%.

Kaseri cheese can be used in Greek salads in lieu of feta cheese.
Kaseri cheese can be used in Greek salads in lieu of feta cheese.

While Kaseri cheese can be used in a variety of recipes and foods ranging from entree to appetizer, its properties make it suitable to be used as a table cheese. It is not uncommon for it to be eaten on its own at room temperature. It can be offered by hosts to guests who simply want a snack over a casual visit. Generally, it is considered to be a good cheese for sandwiches. It can even be used as a pastry cheese.

Kaseri cheese contains no rind, but its crust is white, creamy and springy to the touch. Additionally, Kaseri cheese undergoes an extensive maturation process. The cheese must mature at least three months before it can be consumed. When shopping for the cheese in a grocery store, one can usually identify it by its circular or near circular shape. It may come in any weight, but it's usually vacuum-sealed in plastic packets to protect its freshness.

Discussion Comments


@literally45-- I think that true Kaseri is made with sheep's milk and the ones in Greece are usually mostly sheep's milk. But I have seen ones made with cow's milk. Cow's milk certainly makes for a milder testing cheese with less fat and many people do prefer it.

As far as I know, a lot of Kaseri cheese is made from unpasteurized milk. So if you buy it from a farmer, it probably has raw milk. But the ones sold in stores are usually pasteurized. You can either check the label or ask the seller what type of milk was used. If you are pregnant, don't eat Kaseri unless you're sure that it contains pasteurized milk. Raw milk can be dangerous for babies.


Can Kaseri be made with cow's milk? And is it made with raw milk or pasteurized milk?

Kaseri cheese is well know outside of Greece, in neighboring Turkey, because that's where it actually originated. The name Kaseri comes from "Kayseri" which is a place in Turkey. It was part of the Roman Byzantine Empire before the area became a part of Ottoman Turkey, but it's still famous for Kaseri cheese and I think that the best is made there. So I guess we could say that it's Greek in origin, but the Turks have adopted it and continue to make it.

Kaseri is actually a type of "kasar" (pronounced ka-shar) or Turkish/Greek Mozzarella. Kaseri is the aged, oily, sharp and dry type. There are different varieties available in Turkey, the main difference among them being how long they have aged. Fresh kasar is only about a month old whereas the authentic, Kaseri (or Kayseri) kasar is aged for at least six months.

Kaseri is my favorite type of kasar. Young kasar is very good in panini type sandwiches because it melts beautifully. It's the main ingredient of Turkish paninis, simply called "tost." Aged Kaseri kasar is eaten with fresh bread because it doesn't melt. It's saltier, it has more oil content, but the flavor is richer and stronger than young kasar. It's just delicious.

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    • Kaseri cheese must be mostly made from sheep's milk.
      By: dinosmichail
      Kaseri cheese must be mostly made from sheep's milk.
    • Kaseri cheese can be used in Greek salads in lieu of feta cheese.
      By: Konstantin Yuganov
      Kaseri cheese can be used in Greek salads in lieu of feta cheese.