Feta Cheese

Day one is getting all wild! Already on to cheese. In other words: hey, in the bank of photos + recipes I already have … feta cheese! Why not?

And indeed, why not?

Sure, cheese is a little fussy. But it’s just so fun. This isn’t the kind of recipe that will become a staple in your life. But you don’t have to make cheese every weekend in order to make it and enjoy making it and enjoy eating it at least once. So onward to feta cheese!

feta

This recipe is for mild feta cheese, note, and doesn’t use the brine solution traditional feta cheese does.

1 gal goat’s milk (or sheep’s milk, and even (raw) cow’s milk)
1/4 C. buttermilk
1/2 tsp. Liquid rennet
1/4 C. cool water
Non-iodized salt

Warm the milk to 86. Add 1/4 C. buttermilk and stir well. Let milk set for 1 hour to ripen. Add 1/2 tsp. rennet to the 1/4 cup cool water, then add to milk. Stir gently for 1 minute. Cover and allow to set another hour.

Cut the curds into 1/2 inch cubes. (We use a knife and then a bent clothes hanger — you can simply insert the hanger into the settled milk/cheese about 1/2 inch and spin, then repeat. Then the knife follows, obviously.) Allow the cheese to rest for about 5 min. Stir gently for 15 min., keeping curds at 86 degree. (So… alternate between low/off or use simmer. It will depend on your stove.)

Then, pour the curds into colander lined with cheesecloth. (We use an old pillowcase instead. Generally any fabric that’s CLEAN and sufficiently permeable will do. But you should be able to find cheese cloth easily at your local hardware store.) Tie up the bag of curds (we tie it to a broom between two chairs) and hang to drain for 4-6 hours, with a large bowl/pot/bucket underneath to catch the whey.

After the four to six hours:
Slice the curd ball in half. Sprinkle the hunks of cheese with 4-5 tablespoons of coarse salt. Place slices into a dish, cover with a towel and let stand at room temp. for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, salt all surfaces of the cheese again and let it rest at room temperature for 2 more hours. Place cheese in a covered container, place in fridge and allow to age for 5-7 days. Use within 2 weeks, or wrap and freeze.

I love feta cheese marinated, and to do that: get yourself a large supply of jars and lids. Break the cheese into ~1 inch pieces. In the jar layer herbs, cheese, etc. until full. Then cover the cheese and herbs with olive oil. The marinated feta should then go on a shelf – as long as the cheese is covered with oil it will not need refrigeration. Flavor improves with age. Eat plain, on salads, on pizza or foccacia, etc.
Our favorite herbs: Rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano (with large slices of garlic cloves.)
Other herbs: Bay leaves, fennel, hot peppers, marjoram, onion, peppercorns, sun dried tomatoes

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