This study was performed to investigate the microbiological and chemical characteristics of Kashar cheese produced from raw milk according to traditional techniques. The counts of total aerobic bacteria, lactic acid bacteria (LAB) on MRS and M 17 agar, psychrotroph organisms, yeast and molds, coliforms and the presence of Escherichia coli were determined during the manufacturing stages and ripening. The chemical properties determined were dry matter, fat in dry matter, pH and salt content. The stretching process, which appears to be the main method of destroying microorganisms, did not efficiently eliminate all the microorganisms but was sufficient to destroy E coli that was present in 2 (16.7%) raw milk samples. No coliform bacteria were found during the ripening, whereas total aerobic bacteria, LAB on MRS and M 17 agar, psychrotrophs, yeast and molds were present at levels of 5.36-6.44 log cfu g(-1), 7.08-7.40 and 5.25-5.76 log cfu g(-1), 5.04-5.59 log cfu g(-1), 3.41-3.91 log cfu g(-1), respectively. The data obtained from the present study suggest that specific manufacturing stages and ripening applied for the production of Kashar do not constitute an effective barrier to microorganisms.