Qurut is a Central Asian cheese that is made from Iran and Turkey straight across Central Asia to Tibet.
To make Qurut, milk is fermented then dried, yielding round, sour curds. This process is an Asian steppes tradition, in contrast to the European tradition of preserving milk by curdling it with rennet and making cheese.
Qurut is meant for use when other cheese or dairy are not available, such as during food shortages, travelling, military operations, etc, or for use in winter, when animals aren’t producing much milk.
It can be made from cow or sheep milk. One method uses milk. The cream is first removed for using as cream or making butter, then milk is then converted to yoghurt. An alternative method uses the cream, putting it in goat skins hanging at least 8 feet (2 ½ metres) off the ground to keep animals away.
However the cream or milk is fermented and thickened, it is then boiled for several hours, then formed into small patties, and then dried on a raised platform covered with netting to keep birds away.
When dried, the cheese gets really hard. It is not particularly interesting to eat out of hand, and tastes very sour, but the process does stop the dairy from going rancid during long storage.
To use Qurut, you break it up and simmer it in water until it dissolves, then you can drink it, or add things to it to make a soup.
Yoghurt with some salt in it as a substitute for reconstituted Qurut.