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How to Make Feta Cheese  RSS feed

 
r ranson
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Yesterday I made feta cheese using the recipe from The Art of Natural Cheesemaking by David Asher. It was a huge amount of fun and incredibly easy.

What I love about his method is that we don't require fancy tools or fancy ingredients. His recipe calls for good quality milk, kefir, rennet and salt. I used two buckets to make a cheese press - the bottom bucket I drilled holes in, the top one was filled with warm whey.

The feta is aged in a brine. This makes life really easy. Most aged cheese needs to be kept at very specific humidity and temperature, but not feta.

Right now my cheese is drying and in a few hours I'll pace it in the brine I made from the whey.

I wanted to find a video to show you how simple feta making can be... but I can't find one as easy as the recipe from the book.

What I did find, however, is that there are a great many different ways to make feta. Here's some of my favourite videos.





 
Judy Bowman
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I live feta and make quite a bit of it. It's one of my hot weather staple cheeses. Using whey for the brine will keep it from softening in storage because of the calcium in the whey.
 
r ranson
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Judy Bowman wrote:I live feta and make quite a bit of it. It's one of my hot weather staple cheeses. Using whey for the brine will keep it from softening in storage because of the calcium in the whey.


What temperature range do you store the brining* cheese? I'm not sure if I should put it in the basement at about 18C, or in the egg fridge at about 8C.

I put my cheese in the whey brine this morning. Asher says it needed to form a tough skin on it before I put it in, so I waited an extra little while for that to happen.

It turns out the jar I choose fits the cheese perfectly on the bottom. When the cheese came out of the press, I cut it into quarters before salting and drying. I guess the cheese shrunk a bit while drying, so now I was able to wedge the pieces back into a circle in the bottom of the jar.

The big problem is waiting for it to age.



*I can't believe that's actually a real word. Okay, I can believe it. What a great word.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Thank you for all of the information you have posted. Great videos. I got further engrossed in other cheese making videos and looking at cheese making suppliers.
I also (yes, I've been on the internet for quite awhile this morning) found interesting information about penicillin allergies and cheeses. I know what penicillin is but i wouldn't even think about it when at a restaurant or dinner party or trying a new recipe, etc. Having someone in my house who has a penicillin allergy, with what I've read, i should be mindful of it. It did say you could have a reaction to the drug and not food containing the mold or vice versa or react to both. The cheeses mentioned were blue cheeses such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Stilton. There is also another strain used in Brie and Camembert. There are also dried meats ( such as salami ) that have a strain of penicillin on the surface.
Not that I'm going to ever make any of the ones mentioned but good to know when shopping for dinner.
I'm going to have to study suppliers and cost compare a little bit more but will be making a mozzarella or feta on my first attempt
 
Judy Bowman
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[quote=R Ranson

What temperature range do you store the brining* cheese? I'm not sure if I should put it in the basement at about 18C, or in the egg fridge at about 8C


I like cool room temperature, which for us southerners translates to about 70F. In the summer the root cellar works better for us (about the same temp.) If I were in your location I'd just leave it out on the counter. I didn't watch the video (we have limited bandwidth) so I don't know how long they recommend to age it, but we usually eat ours within a few days to a week. It will age in the fridge, just faster if it's warmer.
 
r ranson
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So, my feta should be ready to taste now. I'm a bit nervous.

The first few days I left the feta in the salted whey on the counter, at about 15-18C. But the milk I used is very creamy for goats milk, and there seemed to be a creamy scum on top of the whey. So I strained this off, then put the feta in a different container in the warm-fridge (about 10C).

I think I should have made ricotta with the whey before making it into brine, that would have removed the rest of the... can't think of the word, the thing that becomes cheese. That's something for next time.

I'm also nervous I may have pressed the cheese too much, but even if I did, the ingredients are still the same, so it should still taste good.

Wish me luck.
 
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