Feta Cheese Making Recipe

Cheese Making photo for Feta Cheese Making Recipe

Feta (slice in Greek) cheese is a classic Greek curd cheese whose tradition dates back thousands of years. It was originally made with goat's or sheep's milk; however, today it is often made commercially with pasteurized cow's milk. The milk, curdled with rennet, is separated and allowed to drain in a mold or a cloth bag. It is then cut into large slices that are salted and then packed in barrels filled with whey or brine. This recipe will work with either mesophilic or our special feta cheese starter, the dose is the same for either culture.

Ingredients

Procedure

Dissolve lipase powder in 2 Tablespoons distilled water. Combine milk with calcium chloride and lipase powder in a 6 quart or larger pot. Gently stir milk and heat to 90° F. Remove pot from heat. Sprinkle culture over milk surface and let rehydrate for 1 or 2 minutes. Gently and thoroughly stir culture into milk.

Note the time and add rennet by mixing it into milk with an up and down motion for about 1 minute. Monitor gel development. (See: Test for gel development)

Cut curd into ½ inch pieces. It is okay if they are not perfect cubes. Let the curds heal for 5 minutes. (See: How to Cut Curd)

Maintaining a temperature of 90°F, stir the curds gently for 20 minutes. Allow the curds to settle for 10 minutes.

Drain the whey into the sink, keeping the curd back with your free hand.

Divide and scoop the curds into two small ricotta baskets or berry baskets (like the green pint–sized in which strawberries are packaged).

Place one basket on top of the other and place on a tray to catch the whey. Press for 30 minutes. Remove the top basket, turn the cheese over in each of the baskets and switch baskets, placing bottom basket on the top this time. Press 30 minutes. Repeat this sequence 2 more times, allowing 1 full hour between switches this time (for a total of 3 hrs. of pressing).

Remove the cheese from the baskets and place them on a draining mat overnight at room temperature with cheesecloth loosely covering them.

Prepare a heavy brine solution of ½ gallon of water, 1 lb. flaked salt, 1½ teaspoons calcium chloride solution and 1 teaspoon vinegar. Heat and stir until salt is dissolved. Cover and allow to cool to room temperature until needed.

Next day, cut the Feta cheese into 1 ½" - 2" cubes and place into cooled brine. Place the brine into your aging refrigerator for 6 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare a pickling brine of 1 quart hot water, 3 oz. flaked salt, ¾ teaspoons calcium chloride solution and ½ teaspoon vinegar. Stir until dissolved and refrigerate at your aging temperature.

After 6 hours, remove the cheese from the heavy brine. It will have formed a firm rind.

Place blocks of cheese into a clean 1 quart jar and fill with the pickling brine to the top. Place a lid on and store in your aging refrigerator up to 1 year. The temperature for aging can be anywhere from your regular refrigerator up to 55°F.

If the cheese is exposed to air in the jar, it may mold. Just cut the mold off and make sure the cubes stay submerged in the pickling brine.

homemade cheese tray

Cheese Making

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