What is Akkawi cheese?
A creamy style of cow's milk cheese from Palestine, akkawi has spread in popularity throughout the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea.
Easily spread, with a smooth constitution and salty flavor, this cheese is one of a few types of brined cheese made with a special process of pressing, salting and dipping. This cheese is named after the city of Acre in North Israel, which in Arabic translates to Akka.
According to the 2006 book Brined Cheeses by A.Y. Tamime, these types of cheeses are made using raw or pastuerized milk, from either a cow, goat or sheep as in akkawi, but usually a cow. Rennet and calcium chloride are added to the milk, along with sprinklings of salt, and then the cheese is drained after being placed in molds.
For akkawi, which also can be spelled akawieh or ackawi, curd is pressed several times to expel the whey. This is then stored in brine, a water solution highly concentrated with salt. The curds are wrapped in cheesecloth before being dunked in brine. Sporadically over the next eight or more weeks, the cheesecloth is squeezed to further tighten the curds and then dunked back in brine, which is stored in a cool, dark place.