Sirene ('sirene) (Bulgarian: сирене; Macedonian: сирење, sirenje; Serbian/Croatian: сир, sir) is a type of white brine cheese made in Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia. It is a very popular cheese not only in Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia, but also in surrounding countries. It is usually made of cow's milk, but it can be also made of sheep milk or a combination of milks. It is crumbly with a fat content of 40-45%. It is commonly produced in blocks, and has a slightly grainy texture. It is used as a table cheese, as well as in salads and in baking.

Sirene originates from Southeastern Europe. Bulgarians also refer to sirene as "white brine sirene" (Bulgarian: "бяло саламурено сирене"). It was originally made with goat's milk, but the predominant variation today is made with cow milk.


Sirene, together with yoghourt, is a national Bulgarian and Macedonian food. Many Bulgarians and Macedonians regularly eat some sirene or yoghourt in some form. Traditional dishes using sirene are:

Soups: Potato or vegetable soup with sirene (сиренява чорба).

Salads: Shopska salad with tomatoes, peppers, cuccumbers, onions and sirene. Ovcharska salad ("shepherd's salad") with the above mentioned vegetables, cheese, ham, boiled eggs and olives. Tomatoes with sirene is a traditional light salad during the summer.

Eggs: Bulgarians and Macedonians often eat fried eggs and omelettes with sirene. There is also a popular kind of boiled eggs over mashed sirene with a sauce of yogurt, garlic, parsley and walnuts (яйца по панагюрски; eggs a la Panagyurishte).

Pasta and cornmeal: Bulgarians often eat spaghetti with sirene and tomato sauce or ketchup. For breakfast makaroni or flat noodles (юфка) with sirene and sugar are popular. Kachamak (the local variant of cornmeal, polenta or the Romanian mămăligă) is always eaten with sirene.

Pastry: The traditional banitsa and other kinds of pastry are also made with sirene.

Stuffed peppers: Stuffed peppers are more often made with rice filling but there is a very popular recipe with sirene-and-eggs filling.

Sirene (and similar cheeses) in other countries

Bulgarians refer this cheese as "white brine sirene" (Bulgarian: "бяло саламурено сирене", ). Macedonians simply call it "sirenje". Sirene is known in other countries by different names but due to slight variations in recipes some people consider them different cheeses:

See also

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