- Cooking Time:
- Preparation Time:
- 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
- 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
- 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 .
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