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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.