Archive for April, 2011

Feta Recipe

April 5, 2011

Background

I started out cheesemaking about 4 years ago with this book here: http://www.cheesemaking.com/HomeCheeseMakingbook.html From which I had mixed results.  It’s not very exacting in its use of language which drives me a bit  crazy.   But most the chesses have turned out well.  If not exactly as they should be, they’re still delicious.    It also seemed to have very inconsistent measurements for things like rennet and culture.

My Feta (I use cows milk sadly, since I have no reliable source of goat milk) *occasionally* gets runny after a few days (but still delicious as a cracker spread) , so I’ve backed WAY off the culture, and increased the salt which inhibits culture growth.

FETA

Finished Product

Time: (45 minutes actual work… spread over over 12 hours) Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

Ingredients

You can get most of the following for  much cheaper from various places.   I only grabbed them all from the same place to make this easier to follow.

1 Gallon Whole Milk (NOT Ultra-pasteurized!!)

1/2 teaspoon MA11 culture

1/4 teaspoon lamb lipase (if not using goatmilk)

1/2 teaspoon calcium chloride (if using homogenized / pasteurized milk)

1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet diluted in 1 Cup Cool, non chlorinated water

Distilled water for the above. (I skip this now and just use tap. )

1 1/2 teaspoons non-iodized salt (kosher or sea salt)

Equipment

Equipment

Steel measuring spoons

Curd knife Stainless Steel Pot (1 gallon min)

Small sauce pan.  (I’m too lazy for this step anymore)

1 small bowl.

Cheesecloth.  (i’m bad I use the dispoable plastic variety as I don’t like boiling it afterwards with baking soda to clean it.)   Cheese making is messy enough with out all that!

Colander

Accurate low temperature thermometer  (Meat thermometers are generally OK (clean of course).   Candy thermometers NO!)

Method

1) Fill Sink with Hot water from the tap, Set Gallon of milk in the water to start warming it up. (Target Temp is 86°F)

Preheating Milk

2) Meanwhile, Sterilize equipment (NOT THE THERMOMETER!!!  IT WILL BREAK / MELT if it’s low temperature. I use denatured alcohol and a paper towel to sterilize that. )    by boiling it with some tap water in the Stainless steel pan for a few minutes. Drain somewhere clean.   Sterilization is probably less of an issue for this cheese, as it doesn’t really age.

Sterilizing

3) Boil distilled water in small saucepan to sterilize. Cover and place in refrigerator to cool.  (I lately have been skipping this step.. just using plain filtered water…   doesn’t seem to impact feta. )

Sterilizing Distilled Water

4) Wipe down the milk container and pour milk into the stainless steel pan. Check the temperature, place the pan back in the water in the sink if it’s not at 86°F yet.

Milk into sterlized pot

5) Once the Milk reaches 86°F, add the lipase (1/4 t. ) and the culture (1/2 t.) Let it sit on top of the milk for a minute or two, then stir it in with the curd knife.

Forgive the bizarre aspect ratio. Stupid wordpress

6) Remove Pot from sink. Let sit covered for 1 hour, periodically checking the temperature. (If it goes below 86, put it back in the water bath in the sink to warm up.

7) After the hour is up, add 1/2 Cup distilled water from the fridge to the small bowl and mix in the 1/2 t. Calcium Chloride. Add to the Milk, stirring well.

8 ) Mix the remaining 1/2 Cup of distilled water with the 1/2t. rennet in the small bowl. Add to the milk and mix well for a minute. (If the milk starts to curdle, then STOP mixing immediately)

9) Leave for 1 Hour and do not disturb.

10) By now you should have a yogurt looking mass of curd which may have pulled away from the side of the pan.

11) Cut it into half inch cubes with the curd knife: (hold the curd knife vertical and cut a grid, then hold it at a 45 degree angle to cut the columns of curd in the grid.

12) Let sit for 20 minutes. (Or longer at 86 if you want firmer cheese.)

13) Meanwhile cut a large square (2 ft square of cheese cloth) line the colander.

Collander lined with Cheesecloth

14) Drain the curds through the cheesecloth.  (This can be quite messy pouring the curds into the cheese cloth.   The longer you waited, the less messy.

15) Bring the corners of the cheese cloth together and tie off. Hang the cheese cloth from something to drain for 4 hours.  (Or overnight is what I usually do)

All Tied Up

16) Unwrap the cheese cloth. Place the cheese in a large glass storage container an cut it into 1” cubes. Add salt and gently mix.

Salting

17) You can eat immediately (well ok.. let it sit at least a few hours for the salt to diffuse) or keep up to a month and a half in the fridge. (Cheese gets better with aging, though sometimes gets gooey. Still tastes great though. )

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