Make Cheese at Home: Feta Recipe

This Feta recipe is delicious and easy to make at home. Its salty brine, feta’s signature trademark, is simple to crumble and sprinkle over salads.

| August/September 2012

  • Traditionally made with sheep’s milk, today feta is more commonly made with cow’s or goat’s milk.

Feta originated in Greece, where it was traditionally made of sheep’s milk. It is now common to use cow’s or goat’s milk. The salty brine is the trademark of this cheese. It is lightly pressed to allow the structure of the cheese to remain open, so the brine penetrates the interior as well as the exterior of the cheese. Molly Nolte of Fias Co Farm is known for her extensive website full of valuable information on animal husbandry and other homestead topics. This is Molly’s famous feta recipe. Available from cheese-making suppliers, lipase powder is the enzyme that gives feta its great flavor. It is not vegetarian; you can omit it if you wish, but the resulting cheese will not have as much flavor. Molly uses kid/lamb lipase because she likes a strong feta flavor.

• 2 gallons goat’s or cow’s milk
• 1/4 teaspoon mesophilic DVI MA culture
• 1/4 teaspoon kid/lamb lipase powder
• 1 teaspoon liquid rennet dissolved in 1/2 cup nonchlorinated water
• Kosher salt

• 1/2 cup kosher salt per 1/2 gallon of water (boiled and cooled to room temperature)

1. In a double boiler, warm goat’s milk to 86 degrees or cow’s milk to 88 degrees. Remove from heat. Add culture and lipase. Stir well and let ripen, covered, for 1 hour.

2. Add the rennet dissolved in water and stir briskly for 15 seconds. Cover and let set 30 to 40 minutes, or until you can slice through the curd with a long knife and see distinct separation. (This is called a “clean break.”)

3. After a clean break is achieved, cut the curd into 1/2-inch strips. Then turn the pot 90 degrees and cut across in 1/2-inch slices in the other direction, making a checkerboard pattern. Now hold the knife at a 45-degree angle and retrace your cuts. Turn the pot a quarter turn and retrace the cuts. Turn it again and cut. And then one final turn and cut. By the last turn, you probably won’t be able to see the original cuts, but do the best you can. Don’t worry about cutting the curd perfectly. Let the curds rest—10 minutes for goat’s milk, 5 minutes for cow’s.

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