Monday, 28 September 2009

Galotiri (Γαλοτύρι)

Galotiri (galo=milk, tiri=cheese, therefore: milky cheese) is a curd cheese made by combining feta cheese, yoghurt and milk. It's a product of Central Greece, and is used as a table cheese or added to pies and pasties. because it is a fresh curd cheese, it doesn't travel well, so it isn't well known around Greece outside its local origins. We were introduced to it on our recent trip to Pelion.

local pita and galotiri at pelion
My first taste of galotiri, Pelion, Central Greece

Galotiri can take the place of feta cheese, tzatziki or fresh mizithra; it is used in a similar way as a spread or accompaniment to other foods. It is lighter in calories and not as salty as plain feta cheese, making it a healthier alternative. It can be made at home and keeps about the same amount of time as fresh curd cheese, ie about two weeks, before it starts to take on a more sour taste.

There are many recipes for galotiri (γαλοτύρι) available on the internet. Here is the basic preparation method.

My home-made version of galotiri. This cheese is available ready made from supermarkets, but not in Crete as there is no demand for it (nor is it known at all).

You need:
200g feta cheese (use good quality barelled feta if you can get it)
100g strained yoghurt
half a cup of milk
salt - feta cheese is inherently salty, but this dip could still use some more...
freshly ground pepper - you can also spicy pepper, eg paprika, or peppercorn mixtures or even garlic to give it a tzatziki taste; some people add light tasty herbs like dill.

Crumble the feta cheese in a bowl. Add the other ingredients and mix everything well, taking care not to melt the feta cheese - it should be crumbly while all the other ingredients should look like thick soup. Some people heat the ingredients together, but I think this is unnecessary - you can simply stir the mixture till it takes on a smooth blend.

galotiri cottage cheese
Week-old galotiri resembles cottage cheese

The mixture is ready to use as is, but will acquire a better taste in a closed container over the next week. Just shake the container (without opening it) a little every day - open it after a week, and the galotiri is ready to be consumed - if you hadn't already consumed it soon after you made it. If you do manage to let the mixture stand in the fridge and work its magic, you will realise that you have created a good Greek substitute for cottage cheese.

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