The Story of Pule the Serbian Cheese!

Freda Savahl
3 min readMay 24, 2022

It is rare, pricey & tasty!

Photo by Klara Kulikova on Unsplash

The Zasavica special nature reserve in Serbia is the only farm that produces Pule donkey cheese globally.

Pule cheese, or magareći sir, is a Serbian cheese made from 60% Balkan donkey milk and 40% goat's milk.[1][2]

One kilogram of Pule cheese costs $500 to $600.

So why is it so expensive?

It is a long and arduous process that requires 6.6 gallons of donkey milk.

Slobodan Simić founded the reserve 24 years ago in Serbia. The nature reserve protects the endangered breed of Balkan donkey.

Farmers make Pule with 60% donkey milk and 40% goat milk. The process requires months & many donkeys to produce this unique, delicious cheese.

They milk each of the twenty milk-producing donkeys by hand three times a day.

Milking by machine failed because donkey milking is different from cow milking.

When can the donkey be milked?

The jenny or female donkey will only produce milk once it's had a baby. The pregnancy lasts one year & two weeks. Then the farmer waits another three months for the baby to wean.

They need 6.6 gallons of milk to make one kilogram of cheese. And the donkey produces under a gallon of milk a day. Also, a donkey will only produce milk for six months.

Photo by Brian Wangenheim on Unsplash

The farm produces 50 to 70 kilograms of cheese per year.

The Recipe:

Pule requires a specific recipe only known by two farmers at the Zasavica nature reserve in Serbia.

Donkey milk contains less fat & casein than any other animal milk.

Therefore, they mix it with goat's milk & a mix of additives plus bacteria to allow the milk to form curds.

It is the essential stage of any cheese-making process.

Freda Savahl

Retired Nurse Practitioner WHC /Contract Provider Deployment Military Services. US Citizen. Immigrant from South Africa 1978.