HOME-MADE FETA CHEESE

 

  • Cooking Time:
  • Servings:
  • Preparation Time:

Ingredients

  • 2-3 liters fresh goats' milk (see Note)
  • 1/2 to 1 tbsp. Pitia (see Note)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 to 1 tbsp. salt
  • Brine / almi
  • water
  • coarse salt (fine will work too)
  • 1 raw egg, washed thoroughly
  • Extra Supplies:
  • cheese cloth or fine tulle/netting
  • fine weaved basket or strainer
  • clean and sterilized wide mouth jar or container
  • a dish that will fit inside the jar
  • a heavy rock that will fit into the jar

Directions

  • Begin by making sure that all your utensils, pots and supplies are very clean.
  • Put the milk into a pot over medium heat.
  • Heat it to a low boil, but keep careful that it doesn't scorch.
  • Cook it for about 5 minutes then set it aside to cool down until 'warm to the touch'.
  • Dilute the Pitia in the water and stir it into the warm milk.
  • Stir in the salt and cover the pot with a clean, cloth towel and set it aside to thicken and curdle in a warm place. This can take anywhere from 6 to 12 hours.
  • Pour the thickened milk into a basket or strainer that has been lined with cheese cloth or fine tulle/netting.
  • Cover the basket with another piece of net to keep the insects off and hang it over a sink, or outside so it can drain thoroughly.
  • Check on the draining cheese.
  • If it seems that the chunks of curd are too big, you can slice through them with a knife to break them up so more of the water will drain out. It takes about a full day for the cheese to drain to 'Feta' consistency, but if you prefer a harder, dryer cheese, you can let it drain longer.
  • You can also weight down the draining cheese with a dish and a heavy rock placed over it to aid in squeezing out more water and will also give you a thicker cheese.
  • Make the Brine: You will need enough brine to cover the cheese completely so put an adequate amount of water into a pot and bring it to a boil.
  • Boil it for 5 minutes, then remove it from the heat.
  • Add some salt to the water.
  • You will be using the egg as a gauge for the salinity of your brine.
  • Float the egg in the brine.
  • Some of the shell should float above water level, if not, remove the egg and add more salt to the brine.
  • Put the egg back in to test it again.
  • You want 1-2cm of shell to be exposed at the water level.
  • The more shell that floats, the saltier the brine. Keep floating / adding salt until you get the salinity that you want.
  • Cover the brine and set it aside to cool down completely.
  • Invert the basket with the drained cheese onto a clean work surface and remove the cheese cloth. Cut the cheese into large blocks and put them into a clean and sterile container.
  • Pour the cooled brine over the cheese.
  • Keep in mind that Feta has to be completely submerged in the brine or else it will go bad. Use an inverted plate with a heavy rock placed on it to keep the Feta under the brine level.
  • Note: Fresh cow's or sheep's milk can be substituted for the cheese but it will give you a different flavor and consistency.
  • Pitia is a lactose starter that is used in cheese making to get the milk to separate into whey (liquid) and curd (solids).
  • Cultured Buttermilk or some other lactic culture (such as milk that is in the process of turning sour) can be substituted (although you'll need a larger quantity - perhaps 1/2 cup to 2 liters of milk) or you can use commercial coagulants that are available .

Notes

Categories: Dairy  Mediterranean 

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