Monday, March 15, 2010

Feta Cheese


Flicr photo by: Betsy Weber


1 gallon fresh goat’s milk (You can use store-bought cow’s milk as well.)
1 Tbl fresh yogurt
½ tablet rennet, dissolve in 1/4 cup water
1+ gallon pot with lid
1 long bladed knife
2 clean sterile handkerchiefs
cheese mold: Cut the ends out of a smooth-sided 4 x 5 inch tin can, save one of the cut ends.
table salt


Warm milk to 30°C (86°F) . Stir regularly so that it does not burn on the bottom. (Less stirring is required if the pot has a thick heat dissipating bottom.) Remove from heat.

Mix 1 Tbl yogurt with equal part milk to blend, then stir the blended yogurt and milk into the warmed milk to thoroughly mix. Cover and let inoculated milk sit for one hour at room temperature.

While the inoculated milk sits, dissolve 1/2 tablet rennet in fresh cool water.

After the inoculated milk has sat for one hour, add dissolved rennet to the inoculated milk, stir to mix thoroughly.Let the inoculated, renneted milk sit covered overnight at room temperature.

The next morning, the milk should have gelled. Some of the whey will have separated. Check for a clean break.

Cut curd as per basic cheese : start at one side, cut straight down to bottom. Make the next cut ½ inch from and parallel to the first, but sloping slightly (the sliced curd will be wider at bottom than top). Repeat increasing angle with each cut . Turn pot 90°, repeat cuts . Repeat cuts and turning two more times. The curd pieces should be about ½ inch cubes.

With very clean hand and arm, reach to the bottom and gently lift the curds to stir. Cut large pieces which appear with a table knife so that they are ½ inch cubes . Let the cut curds sit, with occasional stirring, for 10-15 minutes until curd is somewhat contracted.

Decant off the whey through the strainer lined with the handkerchief, pour curds into handkerchief. Save the whey to make whey brine. Let drain until no more whey drains out (about 2-4 hours). It may be drained at room temperature, or in the refrigerator.

Place drained curds into a bowl, mix in a ½ tsp salt, breaking up the curd.

Press into mold as per basic cheese: Line can with handkerchief, place curds inside, fold over ends of cloth, place end on top, and place weight on top of that. Let sit overnight.

Prepare pickling whey brine (12.5% salt): 20 oz of whey plus 5 Tbl salt. Stir to dissolve. The brine must be acidic or else the cheese will melt on the surface

Cut cheese into 1.5 inch cubes, place into wide-mouth jar. Pour brine over to cover . Let pickle for several days in the refrigerator. The cheese will become drier and more easily crumbled with time. Store in the frig.

Rinse before use to remove excess salt .