The Lebu family – sheep farmers

by admin on 13/06/2013

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We met Constatin Lebu as he was receiving fresh milk brought by car from the three sheepfolds of his family. As usual, the milk was filtered and poured into big containers. then heated up to about 40°C, and his wife Lucretia added rennet to separate the liquid from the cheese mass.

They have about 2000 sheep, which are split into three sheepfolds, and their two sons are helping with shepherding the sheep.

Constantin worked for many years during the communist regime as a mechanical engineer in Sibiu. After the Revolution he lost his job, returned to his village, Saliste, and started to raise animals. He had always used to keep a few animals at home. Now, he is dedicating all his time to doing this. His wife, Lucretia is helping to make the cheese, and she is in charge of doing this twice a day, a process which takes around 3 hours. After having separated the cheese mass from the liquid in a porous cloth and put some weights on top in order to squeeze out the remaining liquid, she was finished for the time being.

Cheese, which had already passed this stage, was put in salt water. First, they put a raw egg in the water. If it rises to the surface, the water is salty enough for the cheese. The salt is used to drive out more liquid, add taste to the cheese, and finish off bacteria.

Afterwards, bits of sheep’s cheese, called telemea, was put in big, wooden barrels covered on the inside by plastic. When all the cheese had been put in the barrel, they closed the plastic by means of a knot. The barrels are made by a cooper in the Western Carpathians where people are well-known for producing them.

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