Traditional Cheese Maturing in Lambskin Sacks from Dalmatian Region
Pp. 71-83 (13)
Jadranka Frece, Deni Kostelac, Marija Vrdoljak, Iva Čanak, Željko Jakopović, Marko Jelić and Ksenija Markov
Sack cheese is a highly regarded traditional cheese matured anaerobically in
lambskin, still produced in local communities in the south of Croatia (Dalmatian
region). Even though the production has been adapted to new technologies, the basic
production parameters and cheese properties remain unchanged and unique. Lambskin
cheese is prepared from unpasteurised sheep's, cow's and goat's milk and their
mixtures, according to the technology of semi-hard cheese production, without the
addition of starter cultures. Milk is acidified with its natural microflora. The specific
characteristic of this cheese is an anaerobic maturation that takes about 2 months in
lamb or goatling skin locally called a sack. Due to the intense processes of lipolysis and
proteolysis during ripening, mature cheeses have a specific and highly appreciated
spicy flavour and aroma. According to the moisture content in the non-fat dry
substance, these cheeses may belong to a group of hard or semi-hard cheeses, and by
the fat content in the total dry matter, they may be full or reduced fat cheeses.
Production of sack cheese takes place in small batches on family farms and has a
mostly local character. The best way to preserve specific quality of traditional cheese is
to use an indigenous starter culture, however, lambskin cheese is traditionally produced
without adding one. Biochemical analysis of milk, used for lambskin cheese, identified
indigenous bacterial species, among which the most important are Lactobacillus
plantarum, Lactococcus lactis, Lactobacillus curvatus and Staphylococcus xylosus.
LAB, Lambskin, Ripening, Sack cheese, Starter culture.
Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, Department of Biochemical Engineering, University of Zagreb, Pierottijeva 6, HR 10000 Zagreb, Croatia.