|Place of origin||Poland|
|Region or state||Podhale|
|Main ingredients||salt, sheep milk|
|Variations||With cranberry jam|
|369  kcal|
Oscypek (pronounced Os-tzipeck, Polish plural: oscypki), rarely Oszczypek, is a smoked cheese made of salted sheep milk exclusively in the Tatra Mountains region of Poland. Oscypek is made by an expert named "baca", a term also denoting a sheep shepherd in the mountains. The cheese is a traditional holiday cheese in some European countries and is often pan fried and served with cranberry jam on the side.
A similar cheese is made in the Slovak Tatra Mountains under the name oštiepok. The cheeses differ in the ratio of their ingredients, the cheesemaking process and the characteristics of the final product. Oscypek needs to be made from at least 60% sheep's milk, and must weigh between 60 and 80g and measure between 17 and 23cm. It can only be produced between late April to early October, when the sheep used is fed on fresh mountain grass.
Oscypek is made using salted sheep's milk, with the addition of cows' or goats' milk strictly regulated by the protected recipe. Unpasteurized salted sheep's milk is first turned into cottage cheese, which is then repeatedly rinsed with boiling water and squeezed. After this, the mass is pressed into wooden, spindle-shaped forms in decorative shapes. The forms are then placed in a brine-filled barrel for a night or two, after which they are placed close to the roof in a special wooden hut and cured in hot smoke for up to 14 days.
The first mention of cheese production in the Tatra Mountains dates back to the 15th century, in a document from the village of Ochotnica in 1416. The first recorded recipe for Oscypek was issued in 1748 in the Żywiec area. There is also a smaller form called redykołka, known as the 'younger sister' of oscypek.
- Bundz – Polish sheep's milk cheese
- Gołka – Polish cheese similar to oscypek, but made with milk from cattle
- List of cheeses – List of cheeses by place of origin
- List of Polish cheeses – Wikipedia list article
- List of smoked foods – Wikipedia list article
- List of stretch-curd cheeses – Cheeses prepared using the pasta filata technique
- Polish cuisine – Culinary traditions of Poland
- Redykołka – The "younger sister" of oscypek
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