Maltese Cheese – Gbejniet

Here’s the full step-by-step process of Maltese Gbejna, from the warming of the milk to the drying and storing. Although it takes a few stages to arrive to the final product, it doesn’t consume you any time and you can carry on with your chores whilst having your delicious gbejniet curing along the way!

Ingredients (makes 10 cheeselets)

  • 2 ltrs mik, we used unhomogenised cow’s milk and as creamy as possible. I you don’t find this kind of milk, you can use full fat cow’s milk.
  • 1.5 tsp Rennet powder
  • 22ml water
  • Salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Vinegar, preferably white

Equipment

  • 10 cheese baskets (qwieleb)
  • Food thermometer
  • Large pot to warm the milk
  • Tray or dish to store cheese baskets, a dripping tray is preferred

Method

  1. Warm the milk on a very gentle heat. Use your thermometer to check the temperature of the milk and remove off the heat immediately when it reaches 38C.
  2. Mix quickly the rennet powder and water. Gently stir into the milk. Leave aside for 3 hrs.
  3. After 1.5hrs cut along vertical lines with a knife. This helps the curds and the whey separate. Leave on the side for another 1.5 hrs.
  4. After 3hrs are completed, start scooping the curds until you’ve filled up all of your baskets. Place on the dripping tray.
  5. Sprinkle salt on top of each basket and place in fridge. Leave overnight.
  6. The following morning turn the cheese over and sprinkle some more salt again.
  7. Place in fridge for another 12 hours.
  8. Fresh gbejniet are now ready to eat!
  9. If you prefer dried gbejniet, continue the following steps.

Drying and Storing

  1. Take the tray out of the fridge and cover with insect screen. Put outside in the shade, avoiding direct sunlight. If this is not possible, dry them inside by an open window or a well ventilated room. We use a little fan to help the drying process. They should dry in about two days.
  2. After a day of drying, sprinkle fresh black pepper. This is better done at this stage as it helps the pepper to stick better. Cover again with insect screen and leave to dry to your desired consistency.
  3. Once they have dried to your liking (we normally leave them to dry indoors for 2 days in total) place them in jar full of white vinegar and refrigerate for 24hrs.
  4. After 24hrs, remove from the white vinegar and place them in an air-tight sterilized jar filled with oil and a little bit of vinegar. Make sure that all of the gbejniet get a good coating and keep stored in the fridge.

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