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Dairy products

Dairy products
Yogurt is an important element in Turkish cuisine. In fact, the English word yogurt or yogurt derives from the Turkish word yoğurt. Yogurt can accompany almost all meat dishes (kebabs, köfte), vegetable dishes (especially fried eggplant, courgette, spinach with minced meat etc.), meze and a specialty called mantı (folded triangles of dough containing minced meat). In villages, yogurt is regularly eaten with rice or bread. A thicker, higher-fat variety, süzme yoğurt or "strained yogurt", is made by straining the yogurt curds from the whey. One of the most common Turkish drinks, ayran, is made from yogurt. Also, yogurt is often used in the preparation of cakes, some soups and pastries.
Turkey produces many varieties of cheese, mostly from sheep's milk. In general, these cheeses are not long matured, with a comparatively low fat content. The production of many kinds of cheese is local to particular regions.
  • Beyaz peynir is a salty cheese taking its name from its white color ("white cheese"). It is similar to feta but not as strong. This is produced in styles ranging from unmatured cheese curds to a quite strong mature version. It is eaten plain (e.g. as part of the traditional Turkish breakfast), used in salads, and incorporated into cooked foods such as menemen, börek and pide.
  • Çökelek is one of two types of unsalted white cheese, made by boiling the whey left over from making beyaz peynir. There are many regional varieties of çökelek. Some are eaten fresh while others are preserved, either by storage in goatskin bags or pottery jars, or by drying in the sun. Kurut and keş are regional names for dried bricks of yogurt made from low-fat milk or from çökelek made from buttermilk.
  • Lor is the other type of unsalted white cheese, similarly made from the whey left over from kaşar manufacture. Lor is used in traditional desserts made from unsalted cheese like höşmerim.
  • Kaşar is Turkey's other ubiquitous cheese, a moderately fatty sheep's cheese similar to the Greek kasseri, sometimes marketed as "Turkish cheddar", being closer in consistency and taste to mild cheddar-style cheese than other Turkish cheeses. Less matured kaşar, called fresh kaşar, is widely consumed as well.
  • Kaşkaval is a wheel-shaped yellow sheep's cheese, similar to fresh kaşar. The name is probably of Italian origin.
  • Tulum is a sheep's cheese preserved in an animal skin bag. There are regional varieties of tulum peynir in such areas as İzmir, Ödemiş and Erzincan.[5]
  • Otlu peynir ("herbed cheese") is produced in many areas, chiefly in East Anatolia. Traditionally sheep's or goat's milk is used, but more recently cow's milk otlu peynir has been produced. The type of herb used varies by region: in Van wild garlic is traditional; Bitlis otlu peynir contains a damp-loving herb known as sof otu. In other areas horse mint (Mentha longifolia) and Pimpinella rhodentha are used.
  • Hellim is a salty, firm-textured cheese, generally with some mint added, made in Cyprus. In Turkey, it is common to fry hellim in a pan in some olive oil.
  • Gravyer (analogous to Swiss gruyere) is produced in Turkey as well. Among others, Kars is famous for its graviera.
  • Mihaliç peyniri or Kelle peyniri is a hard sheep's cheese that can be grated, like Parmesan cheese. Sometimes goat or cow milk is used. It is a specialty from Karacabey, a town in Bursa province which was called Mihaliç during Byzantine and Ottoman period.
  • Örgü peyniri, "braided cheese", is a specialty from Diyarbakır.
  • Çerkez peyniri, means "Circassian cheese".
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