Xynomyzithra Kritis is a curd cheese that is produced in Crete from sheep milk, goat milk or a combination of both. It has a 55% maximum humidity and 45% minimum dry fat content. Milk used for its production comes exclusively from Crete, from herds of sheep and goats traditionally raised and adapted to the particular region, whose diet is based on locally found plants.
It is a soft, creamy cheese with grains in its mass. It is white, shapeless and without any cuts or external rind.
For its production, producers use curd; this is centrifuged to eliminate any grains and then warmed and constantly stirred at 92 oC for approximately 30 minutes. When the temperature reaches 68-70 oC, producers add a small portion (15% of its weight) of full-fat sheep or goat cream from the region of Crete. The curd is constantly stirred until it reaches 80 οC, whereby flakes appear in the curd. The process of heating is accelerated until a temperature of 92 oC is reached, while simultaneously the stirring process is decelerated. Under these circumstances, a fat layer of curd forms on top of the cheese. This is allowed to rest for 30 minutes, and is then transferred in moulds and drained for 3 to 5 hours. After the draining process, 1.5-2% of salt is added carefully, in order to obtain a uniform consistency. The cheese is placed in cloth sacks and pressed for about a week. During this time its acidity increases and it gets its acescent taste. The pressed curd is then placed carefully in barrels so as to avoid gaps in its mass, and is transferred in booths with a temperature of less than 10 oC, where it remains for at least 2 months until it matures. During the maturation process, the barrels are placed upside down and the top is slightly loosened, so that any extra humidity is removed. After this period, the cheese is ready for consumption.