Ayib is a soft Ethiopian fresh cheese similar to cottage cheese. At meals, it acts as a simple, cooling foil to many of the complex and sometimes fiery tastes in Ethiopian cuisine.
It is usually made at home or through farmhouse production.
Like Western Cottage cheese, it is a by-product of making butter.
Cow’s milk for making butter is accumulated for several days, then, when there is enough for a batch of butter, it is put in a warm rise where the temperature can rise to about 86 F (30 C) for 1 to 2 days. Then it is churned (by shaking or other means, to make the butter.)
What’s left behind as a by-product is the buttermilk. This is heated to 105 to 120 F (40 – 50 C). The whey is then drained off overnight through a cloth. What’s left in the cloth is the Ayib cheese.
About 1.5 to 2 US gallons (6 to 8 litres) of buttermilk will make 2 1/4 pounds (1 kg) of Ayib.
About 2% fat.
National Research Council (U.S.). Panel on the Applications of Biotechnology to Traditional Fermented Foods. Applications of biotechnology to traditional fermented foods: report of an ad hoc panel of the Board on Science and Technology for International Development. National Academies. 1992. Pages 71 to 74.
Yilma, Zelalem, G Loiseau* and B Faye. Manufacturing efficiencies and microbial properties of butter and Ayib – Ethiopian cottage cheese. Dairy Technology, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Holetta Research Center, PO Box 2003, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 2007.