Do you know that your favorite cheese can also be made with mare’s milk? Now, you must be wondering what exactly is horse cheese? How is this possible? Let’s unveil the truth together!
Horse Cheese is famous in Central Asia and is primarily used by nomadic families. The horse cheese is popularly known as Airag. Lactating mares make horse cheese during foaling season.
Fresh or dried, they can be eaten either way. The dried variety is popular among Mongolians. They are usually softened by soaking them in tea or warm water.
Despite not being so popular throughout the world, they have become a staple food within the steppes. This is because of its various nutritional benefits.
Can you Make Cheese from Horse Milk?
As we already know, goat, sheep, cow, and buffalo milk can be used to make cheese, but can we also use horse milk? Or what is the process involved in this? Let’s find out.
An agent such as last season’s Airag is stirred into milk during foaling season to make Airag (cheese), which is done after milking a mare during the foaling season.
In Fact the studies suggested that it cannot be made using bovine rennet but a camel rennet. This shows how complicated it is to make horse cheese. And this is probably the reason why it is not available in every part of the world.
What are the Nutritional Benefits of Horse Cheese?
We all are aware of the nutritional benefits of cheese made of cow’s milk. But do you know cheese made of horse milk is even more beneficial for your health? Let’s explore how.
Horse cheese is Known for its high vitamin and mineral content and is rich in vitamins A, B, C, and D. Horse milk also has a good calcium to phosphorus ratio, which allows for improved absorption.
Due to their immense nutritional benefits, they are an ideal alternative to cow milk for babies with allergies. In Fact, their high nutritional value helps to treat various diseases like eczema, high blood pressure, tuberculosis, and much more.
What Kind of Cheese is Made from Horse Milk?
It has now been proven that cheese made from horse milk is beneficial to a human’s health. Now let’s explore what kind of cheese is made from horse milk that makes it unique.
Fermented dairy products or Airag are made from horse milk. People from Central Asia, specifically from Huno-Bulgar, Turkic and Mongol backgrounds, drink it as a cultural tradition.
The fermentation process usually takes three to five hours at around 70°F, followed by aging at a lower temperature, thus making horse cheese is a more complicated and time-consuming process than cow’s cheese.
Horse Cheese Taste
Cheese made of horse milk is quite tangy and salty. However, horse cheese has a different taste from regular cheese. Let’s explore how it tastes.
Horse cheese usually tastes more sour than regular cheese. Although horse milk is a bit sweeter than cow’s milk, it goes through the fermentation process to make cheese or yogurt. This might be the reason for the sour taste of Airag.
It somewhat tastes similar to aged Provolone cheese from southern Italy, with an edible rind. A large part of the differences in the taste of horse cheese is attributed to the milk, which one group compares to almond milk, while the other claims it tastes like chicken.
Is Horse Cheese Expensive?
Horse cheese is among the rarest cheeses available in the market. Let’s examine if they are really expensive.
Airag horse cheese is among the world’s most expensive cheeses. It usually costs you around $50/pound, which is much higher than the price of a cow’s cheese.
Mongolian Horse Milk Cheese
It is usually said that Mongolia has more horses than people! Let’s see what the relation is between Mongolia and horse cheese.
Horse products remain a significant part of Mongolian cuisine, a country famous for its horse culture. Mongolians are supposed to have been the first to invent horse milk cheese, and until today, it is their favorite staple food.
The fact that Mongolia has around 3 million horses makes the country famous for dairy products and meat. In Fact, they are the world’s largest exporters of horse meat and horse cheese.
Invented by Mongolians, horse milk and cheese have now grown in popularity in other parts of the world as well. This fermented milk is also enjoyed as a drink which is popularly called kumis. People in Russia and Asia have been drinking mare’s milk for quite a long time now, and considering its various health benefits, its usage will increase in coming years.