How to Make Feta Cheese

Feta is an easy cheese to make at home! Here’s a step by step tutorial that any newbie cheese maker can succeed with – enjoy homemade feta cheese tonight.feta cheese on a pink plate and cheesecloth

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Feta Basics

The idea of home cheese production seemed completely foreign to me a few years ago. These days I look back and wonder why I was so nervous – it’s just cheese, apparently.

Here are some things to know about feta before you begin:

  • Soft cheeses like feta are usually the easiest to make simply because they don’t require any “special” equipment like a cheese press.
  • If you’re looking for an easy raw cheese to make, feta is a good choice since it is traditionally a raw milk cheese. You may also use pasteurized milk.
  • The flavor of feta is best with goat milk, in my opinion, but cow milk will also work.

The following recipe was inspired by Ricki Carroll’s Home Cheese Making, which is a very good book for the beginning or seasoned cheese maker. 

Another fabulous book for cheese makers is Natural Cheesemaking, by David Asher. This is actually the book I use the  most now. 

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How to Make Feta Cheese

Since I can’t be there in your kitchen with you while you make your homemade feta, here’s a short video to show you the basic steps. See, not intimidating at all! Afterwards, there’s the recipe and a photo tutorial with a little more detail. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

Homemade Feta Cheese

A simple beginner cheese that's soft and tangy; good for eating on salads and pastas.

Serving Suggestion: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 Gallon Whole Raw Milk
  • 1/4 tsp. lipase powder diluted in 1/4 cup water and allowed to sit for 20 minutes optional – use if making this recipe with milk other than goat’s milk
  • 2 oz prepared Mesophilic starter or one packet
  • 1/2 tsp. liquid rennet or 1/4 rennet tablet diluted in 1/4 cup cool, unchlorinated water
  • 3 tbsp. cheese salt
  • 1/4-1/3 cup cheese salt for brine (optional) - brining gives it a stronger flavor, though, which is what makes feta distinct
  • 1/2 gallon water for brine (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine the milk and the diluted lipase, if desired. Heat the milk to 86 degrees F.
  2. Add the starter, stirring to combine. Cover and allow to the milk to ripen for 1 hour.
  3. Add the diluted rennet and gently stir with an up-and-down motion for several minutes. Cover and allow to set at 86 degrees F for 1 hour. You can set your pot into a hot water bath in your sink and monitor the temperature a couple of times in the hour to make sure it stays close to 86. Don't freak if it falls below; just add some warm water to the bath. I use my hot box insulated bags to keep an even temperature.
  4. Cut the curd into 1/2-1-inch cubes.
  5. Allow to set, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.
  6. Gently stir the curds for 20 minutes.
  7. Pour the curds into a colander lined with cheesecloth.
  8. Tie the corners of the cheesecloth into a knot and hang the bag over the sink to drain for 4 hours or more. You may hang it for more or less time, depending on the temperature in your house, and how sharp you like your feta. You can hang it anywhere clean-ish in your house, but the kitchen is a logical choice. Remember to put a bowl underneath to catch the whey that strains out. Massage and/or knead the feta every now and then, to encourage more whey to drain out.
  9. Untie the bag and cut the curd into 1-inch slices, then cut the slices into 1-inch cubes.
  10. Sprinkle the cubes with the salt to taste, and then place in a covered bowl to age for 4-5 days in the refrigerator. Here it is in the photo sitting next to the yogurt that I made the day before.
  11. For that strong feta flavor, make a brine solution by combining 1/3 cup of salt and the water. Place the cheese in the brine solution and store in refrigerator for 30 days. (Use this method only if your goat’s milk comes from a farm; store-bought goat’s milk tends to disintegrate in brine.)
  12. If the curds are not setting firmly enough for you to cut easily: next time add 1/8 tsp. calcium chloride diluted in 1/4 cup water diluted calcium chloride to the milk before adding the starter.
Recipe Notes

See the photo tutorial below for more procedural instructions.

Instructions for Making Feta – First Steps

  1. Combine the milk and the diluted lipase, if desired for stronger flavor. Heat the milk to 86F/30C.

Start with farm fresh milk l How to Make Feta Cheese l Homestead Lady

2. Add the starter, stirring to combine. Cover and allow to the milk to ripen for 1 hour.

Insulate your cheese vat in a Wonder Oven box l How to Make Feta l Homestead Lady

3. Add the diluted rennet and gently stir with an up-and-down motion for several minutes. Cover and allow to set at 86F/30C for 1 hour. You can set your pot into a hot water bath in your sink, and monitor the temperature a couple of times in the hour to make sure it stays close to 86F/30C. Don’t worry too much if it falls below; just add some warm water to the bath. I use my hot box insulated bags to keep an even temperature.

Checking the curds l Making feta is so easy, your kids can easily help l Homestead Lady

4. Cut the curd into 1/2-1 inch cubes.

Cut the curds l How to Make Feta l Homestead Lady

5. Allow to set, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.

6. Gently stir the curds for 20 minutes.

7. Pour the curds into a colander lined with cheesecloth.

Get ready to drain l How to Make Feta l Homestead Lady

Homemade Feta Cheese – Last Steps

8. Tie the corners of the cheesecloth into a knot, and hang the bag over the sink to drain for 4 hours or more. You may hang it for more or less time, depending on the temperature in your house, and how sharp you like your feta. You can hang it anywhere clean in your house, but the kitchen is a logical choice. Remember to put a bowl underneath to catch the whey that strains out. Massage and/or knead the feta every now and then, to encourage more whey to drain out.

Draining the feta l How to Make Feta l Homestead Lady

9. Untie the bag and cut the curd into 1-inch slices, then cut the slices into 1-inch cubes.

Cube the drained feta l How to Make Feta l Homestead Lady

10. Sprinkle the cubes with the salt to taste, and then place in a covered bowl to age for 4-5 days in the refrigerator. 

11. If the curds are not setting firmly enough for you to cut easily: next time add 1/8 tsp. calcium chloride diluted in 1/4 cup water diluted calcium chloride to the milk before adding the starter.

 

To Make Feta Brine

For a traditionally strong feta flavor, make a brine solution:

  1. Combine 1/3 cup of salt and the water.
  2. Place the cheese in the brine solution and store in refrigerator for 30 days.
  3. Use this method only if your goat’s milk comes from a farm; store-bought goat’s milk tend to disintegrate in brine.
  4. An ideal container is one that keeps the cheese submerged in brine and has its own lid. Glass is better than plastic.

The Perfect Homemade Raw Cheese

And voila, you have feta! Never buy it again – this is way too easy to make. Raw cheeses can be expensive to buy, but this one you can totally do yourself as long as you have access to quality raw dairy.

Like I said, you can also pasteurize your milk for a pasteurized version of feta, but it is traditionally a raw milk cheese.

Yes, it takes a little time to make your own feta, but when you’re done, you will have made cheese where there was no cheese before. You will feel awesome; you will be awesome; most importantly, you will eat awesome…ly. (If Shakespeare made up words, so can I.)

Feta Resources

Here are a few ideas for using your homemade feta cheese, either as an ingredient or an add-on to a great recipe.

Feta Cheese Resources

Here are some lovely ways to use your feta cheese.

Share All Good Things.

8 thoughts on “How to Make Feta Cheese

  1. Hi I love the look of this just would like to clarify step 6 that I stir the curds for 20mins as I have never done this with any feta before or maybe this is a secret I should try. thanks so much

    1. According to Rikki the Cheese Queen, that’s what you do. In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t know that I’ve ever made it a full twenty minutes; cheese is slow food but my life is not! 🙂

  2. Wow, I’ve never kept a goat in milk that long – way to go. I love making cheeses, especially feta. Isn’t it the best on salads and sliced on crackers. Great instructions. Have a great week!

    1. You have to milk through the winter, which can be hard! It also depends on the lactation cycles of the goat. Thanks for the praise, Toni!

  3. I dont have access to raw milk of any kind, Im not sure they can even legally sell it here in New York.. any suggestions?

    1. You can make the same recipe using pasteurized milk, its just not as healthy. It will still taste yummy, though!

      In NY, it looks like you can small, raw milk buying clubs where you purchase at the farm. Are either of these close to you https://www.realmilk.com/real-milk-finder/new-york/#ny. Here’s for more information for your state: https://www.realrawmilkfacts.com/raw-milk-regulations/state/new-york. Its not the most raw milk friendly state in the Union but we make do with what we have and get involved to change the laws where we can.

  4. Hi, I make feta using our cows milk and start with about 8 litres. I also make cheddar as well and we haven’t bought cheese for ages. It is great fun and quite easy to do. Thank you for the insight into how you do it, we can always learn something. Blessings Terri

    1. That’s wonderful, Terri! I did my first cheddar last year but it was too dry – I need to retry. I agree that you can always learn a better way to do something, especially with cheese making.

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