Banitsa with homemade cheese and butter

Author: Margaret Ralyakova – thyssenkrupp Materials Bulgaria


  • 370 g of flour

  • 250 ml of water

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tablespoon butter + more 150 ml butter

  • 1 tablespoon vinegar


For the stuffing

  • 4 eggs

  • ½ jar of homemade “kiselo mlyako”

  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda

  • 500 g cheese


A brief introduction to what a banitsa is. Banitsa is a traditional Bulgarian dough dish. It consists of rolled or layered sheets of rolled dough. It is usually baked in an oven. Various fillings are used – most often cheese or “извара“, with or without the addition of eggs. Banitsa are also made with vegetables, meat, fruits. This is the symbol of Bulgarian kitchen. Unfortunately, there is no information about the early history of the banitsa, but we can definitely be sure that it has been consumed in our lands since the distant past. Proof of this is the presence of the banitsa at almost every festive table of a Bulgarian woman, connected to the national calendar. For example, few of us know that before the appearance of kosunaka as a traditional food for Easter, sweet banitsa and banitsa with nettles were prepared. On St. Peter’s Day, the hostess was obliged to prepare a banitsa with fresh cheese. The more famous holidays, when a banitsa is present on our table, are Christmas and New Year. On one of the two holidays (depending on the traditions of the family) the fortune banitsa is also prepared. In the past, according to customs, dogwood buds were placed in it, which were called for health, luck, well-being, success and fertility.


1. Domestic cow’s milk is heated to a certain temperature, after which is poured into another vessel.
2. We check how many degrees it is heated to and add cheese yeast. We’re messing around.
3. We let it rest for 3 hours, closed with a lid.
4. Strain through cheesecloth.s. With the strained liquid, “izvara” is made. We tie two by two opposite ends of the cheesecloth and let the cheese drain.
5. We put the cheese in a specially made wooden container so that it can take the shape of a rectangle. It is pressed with a large stone. The vessel is specially designed so that the fresh cheese can be squeezed out completely.
6. Since we did not use salt anywhere, and it depends on each individual taste, at home we salt the bottom of a cheese box and put the production inside.
7. After this long procedure, our homemade Bulgarian cheese is completely ready to be added as the main ingredient of our traditional banitsa.
Now is the time to quickly explain  about homemade butter. This is the other important ingredient for our delicious pie. Here, home-made cow’s milk is no longer heated, but boiled. Separate “kaymak” with the help of a spoon. We cool it, after which „kaymak“ is „whipped” and the butter is obtained.
1. Mix the water with the salt, butter (1 tbsp) and vinegar. Stir until the salt dissolves.The addition of vinegar – you will find it in most recipes for banitsa. This is because the flours in Bulgaria are mostly made from soft and lower quality wheat. It acts as a catalyst in breaking down the gluten molecule. In industrial conditions, powdered ascorbic acid is used, in household vinegar.
2. Adding fat makes the dough crispier. Professionals like grandma do it with lard, I opted for butter.I add the flour in parts and knead a soft, very pleasant to the touch dough. Pour the butter (150 ml) into a tray.
3. Photos of how the flour is gradually added and then kneaded. The more it is kneaded, the more air enters the dough and the nicer the pie becomes.
4. The flour for the cheese pie, as with any pie, must be high in gluten. The gluten content allows a high elasticity of the dough and, accordingly, helps to roll out the crusts super fine without them breaking. We can tell when the kneaded dough is readywhen it starts to come off our hands.
5. I divide the dough into 6 equal parts. I flatten them slightly and put them in the tray. I turn them so that there is oil on all sides.
6. I leave them like that for half an hour.
7. In a small bowl, mix the “kiselo mlyako” together with the soda. Stir until bubbling. As you can see next to the eggs. In a larger bowl, break the eggs and mix them until a homogeneous mixture is obtained.
8. Add the foamed “kiselo mlyako” to the eggs, mix again until a homogeneous mixture.
9. Add the cheese at the end. 
10. I also prepare a suitable baking tray for the pie. We smear it with oil on the bottom. I also clear a large space on the table. We place a suitable large cotton cloth under the crust so that it is easier to roll the dough into a „snail” and so that air can enter our banitsa.
11. I take one peel and start pulling it in a circular motion, then place it on the table and gently pull from the middle to the edges. I pull until a transparent crust is obtained.
12. We spread the crust with butter and put the stuffing.
13. And twist into a „snail”, trying to get as much air as possible into the dough.
14. Mandatory, in order for the  pie to be nice, we spread it abundantly with butter  on top and let it stand for 15-20 minutes  (or until the oven heats up to 200 degrees).