Egyptian mish cheese

February 3, 2014  •  Category:

I was gifted a unique and homemade Egyptian mish cheese from Salah, an Egyptian farmer who recently returned from a visit to his family’s farm in Mansoura, Egypt; the cheese is called mish and is sharp, pungent and salty; Salah told me that President George Bush senior, upon his arrival to Egypt a few years back, had requested it and (apparently) really likes it. 

Mish is made from buffalo’s milk and in their farm, there are about forty buffaloes from which they get milk, cream (ashta)-the best cream in the world-, cheese, and of course meat on occasion. Mish is fermented in whey for a long time, in fact, it is also called old cheese (jibneh qadima); the way to eat it according to Salah is grated with tomatoes and onions. 

On a side note, according to Charles Perry, halloumi cheese originated in Egypt; in fact, it is the word for fresh cheese in the Coptic language (and the Copts were the original inhabitants of Egypt); this bit of cheese trivia surprised me, as I always thought halloumi was from Cyprus originally. 

I am afraid you (and I) are not likely to find this mish in our neighborhood supermarket. It is authentic Egyptian peasant fare and goes back most probably to the times of the Pharaohs or Cleopatra (I wonder if she liked it). 

dup mish



18 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    That is an interesting cheese. It must taste wonderful.



  2. Nadege says:

    Reading you blog makes me aware of so many wonderful meals, ingredients… I don’t know anything about. This cheese looks really appetizing!

  3. PJ says:

    I love any vegetarian food from Egypt. I usually prepare them at home as we do not have ethic restaurants here

    The cheese sounds very intersting . Would love to eat this cheese and one day when I visit Egypt I will try this for sure 🙂

  4. perla massoud says:

    hello ! lovely photos !
    I would love to introduce you to a website that I found not too long ago . I’m sure you will love it :))
    here’s the link

    • Joumana says:

      @perla; it turns out I know the mother of the man who owns the site! she is married to one of my mom’s relative, so I am sure I will get to meet him at some point; thanks for your thought 🙂

  5. Elena says:

    Joumana, what it’s like a taste of this cheese?

  6. perla massoud says:

    oh really ! what a coincidence !! 🙂
    this man is doing an amazing job by posting these photos and articles ! would love to meet him too 🙂
    have a great day

  7. sami says:

    my mother has mish that is older than me, and i am 57. i took a small jar many years ago and started my own. i never open the new “Mish” jars before 3 years. it is exceptionl except for the smell. Sprinkle hot red peppers to prevent the formation of worms. i also add Tangerine peal for flavor and aroma. the longer it stays closed the better the outcome.

  8. Joe L says:

    Being coptic I love mish!
    My father in law had a tin of fetta cheese that was forgotten in the shed. Long story short, ten years later… mish.
    There is actually another tin that I have been meaning to bust open. Fingers crossed. 17 years on!

    Mish is kind of like sourdough in that it develops from the cultures in the cheese mix in over years. Here in Aust. we often add a little vegemite to as a starter or booster.

  9. Big Daddy says:

    I found this today at (coincidentally since it is mentioned above) a neighborhood supermarket (full disclosure it is a neighborhood supermarket in a predominately muslim section of town)–and I had to try it. Very unique. Huge umami flavor and strangly addictive. Overwhelmingly salty. Not palatable to eat straight due to salt content. Will try sprinkling on fresh tomatoes. I have a huge tub of it so need to figure out something!

    • Joumana Accad says:

      @Big Daddy
      Unbelievable find! OK you can eat it on bread with tomatoes, onions, and some chopped herbs like parsley or cilantro. You can also sprinkle it on fuul mudammas. or any other way to use cheese such as scrambled eggs or even a salad like a Caesar.

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