Feta Cheese

Well, we’ve just moved into a new apartment, and as we just took a beginning cheese-making class last week, we decided to make the first food adventure in our new place a bit of feta cheese. We got a tip on some fresh goat’s milk in town, and yesterday we got down to business and made the cheese. The cheese has to sit for 5 days before eating (you’ll see that later), so we haven’t really tasted it yet, but we’ll let you know how it is. Here’s the basic process:

  1. Take 1/2 gallon of goat’s milk, any kind but ultra-pasteurized (the ultra-pasteurization ruins the milk for making cheese).
  2. Heat milk in a pot (stainless steel or enameled) until milk reaches about 86 degrees F.
  3. Add about 3/4 tsp of cultured buttermilk. Stir gently with a wisk to make sure the buttermilk is thoroughly distributed through the milk.
  4. Cover and let the milk sit with the buttermilk in for about 1 hour.
  5. Mix about 1/4 tsp double-strength rennet (or 1/2 tsp regular strength) with about 1/8 cup water.
  6. Mix the rennet/water mixture into the milk, and stir gently with a whisk to make sure the solution is well distributed through the milk.
  7. Cover again and let sit for about 1 hour.
  8. After 1 hour, you should have a layer of curd formed. Cut it with a knife, and if the curd doesn’t stick to the knife, you’re ready to move on. Otherwise, let sit a little longer.
  9. Cut the curd into cubes and let sit for about 20 minutes, to let more of the whey release from the curd.
  10. Let sit for another 30 minutes, and stir gently several times during that period. It’s ok to break up the curd some while stirring, but try to leave it mostly in-tact. This is to again release more whey from the curd.
  11. After the 30 minutes, lay some butter muslin in a colander, and strain the cheese curd through. Keep the whey to make soup stock or for another recipe if you can use it. Make sure your piece of butter muslin is large enough to wrap up around the cheese curd into a bag.
  12. After most of the whey has drained off, tie the butter muslin up into a bag, and tie around a wooden spoon or some other long piece.
  13. You can use this to hang the bag of cheese curds above a bowl or above the sink, to let the rest of the whey drain out.
  14. Hang and let drain for about 5 hours, until the cheese curd feels nice and solid, and the whey has pretty much stopped draining from the bag.
  15. Unwrap the curd and place in a large bowl.
  16. Cut the curd again into cubes, and sprinkle with about 2 tbsp flake, sea or kosher salt. Make sure as much as possible that all sides of cubes are covered. Again, it’s ok if you break up the curd a bit.
  17. Store salted feta in a canning jar in the refrigerator for 5 days before using.

Feta Cheese
Cheese curd after being cut, resting and being stirred.

Feta Cheese
Butter muslin in colander, awaiting cheese curd.

Feta Cheese
Cheese curd tied up in the butter muslin for draining, and initially drained whey in a jar.

Feta Cheese
Cheese curd after draining for 5(ish) hours.

Feta Cheese
Cheese curd packed in salt and ready for brining in the refrigerator.

3 thoughts on “Feta Cheese

  1. This actually doesn’t take that much space, so you probably could do it if you can find some goat’s milk that is raw or only low heat pasteurized. You just need one pot to heat the milk in and let it sit, and then a big bowl to drain it into. Since we have cats (as I know you do as well), we just let it drain in the refrigerator for those 5 hours or so. Try it, you’ll love it! (just make sure not to over-salt it when you salt it at the end – if you use sea salt instead of flake salt, use a little bit less)

  2. Also, if you have some jars, you can keep the whey (liquid) from the cheese and use it to make a chicken or vegetable stock – it adds some nice flavor to it :)

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