How to Make Feta Cheese
This article will show you how to make feta cheese from fresh milk. Traditionally, feta is made from either sheep milk, goat milk, or a combination of the two.
Both sheep and goat milk have higher proportions of the "goat" fatty acids known as capric, caprylic and caproic acid, than does cow's milk. These fatty acids give feta cheese its distinctive sharp taste and smell.
For even stronger feta, though, you can add 1/8 tsp. lipase powder for every gallon of milk.
As you'll see, the process for making feta cheese begins much like that for making quark or making cottage cheese.
The difference is in the addition of rennet to produce a firmer curd, along with a short drying and aging process.
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To make feta cheese, you'll need:
- 1 qt. goat milk
- 3 Tbsp. fresh buttermilk
- 1/8 tsp. liquid rennet
- coarse, non-iodized salt
Begin by warming the milk in a saucepan to 86° F. Add the buttermilk and stir well. A slotted spoon or skimmer works best for stirring when making cheese.
Cover the pan, and let the mixture rest for about an hour.
Add the liquid rennet to a small amount (about 2 Tbsp.) of water, then add to the buttermilk mixture. Stir gently, but thoroughly, for a minute or two.
Cover again, and let the mixture sit, undisturbed for an hour. At the end of this time, the rennet will have caused the milk to congeal into a gelatin-like texture, such that when you tilt the pan slightly, the milk remains in place.
Using a knife that will reach to the bottom of the pan, slice the curds into 1/2" cubes, cutting lines first one way, then again at a 90° angle to the first set.
Let the curds rest for 5-10 minutes. You should notice the almost-clear, liquid whey seeping out from the cuts.
Check the temperature of the curds. If necessary, heat slowly to bring to 86° F. Stir gently for about 15 minutes, keeping the temperature steady.
Pour the curds into a cheesecloth-lined colander.
When most of the liquid has passed through, gather the corners of the cheesecloth, and hang (a heavy rubber band works well for this) over a bowl to drain at room temperature for about 6 hours.
Remove the curds from the cheesecloth, and place in a bowl or other container. Slice into 1" slices, and sprinkle both sides of the slices with coarse salt. Cover, and leave at room temperature for about 24 hours.
Drain any additional whey that has separated, cover, and refrigerate. The feta will be best if allowed to age for 5-7 days. At that time, you can cut it into cubes or crumble it, and add herbs or spices if you like.
If the feta is too salty for your taste, try soaking it for a short time in fresh milk before using.
A great way to preserve feta cheese, or to give it as a gift, is to use it to make marinated cheese, which is also the main ingredient in this Greek salad recipe. As a bonus for your gift recipient, print and attach these instructions for how to make feta cheese, so that they can enjoy fresh feta whenever they like!
Articles are updated frequently, so check back here for any new information on how to make feta cheese!
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