This is also an easy cheese to make but is a completely different process from the ricotta I tried first. The milk is heated to 37C before a starter culture is added with rennet and calcium chloride and then left to set in a water bath. The curds are cut and gently stirred before scooping them into moulds. The feta is left to drain overnight (turning once) before adding a brine.
You will need:
4 L full fat unhomogenised milk
1 drop Mesophilic starter culture
1 tablet of rennet diluted in 1/4 cup water
2 ml calcium chloride
Two feta cheese moulds
Salt, water and vinegar for brine (make and leave to cool overnight)
Cleanliness is critical for cheese making so make sure you thoroughly sterilise all your equipment.
Pour milk into a large pot and heat slowly to 37C on the stove. Once milk is at the right temperature, stir in the calcium chloride, then the starter culture, and then the diluted rennet. Put the lid back on the pot and let the milk set for 1.5 hours at 37C. You can put the pot in the sink and surround it with 37C water but you have to keep checking it. I transferred my milk to a 4L plastic cheese vat and put it in an incubator with a lid from Mad Millie with 37C water – much easier to maintain the temperature.
Once the milk is firm and you get a clean cut with a knife, cut the curd into 1cm cubes using the curd knife and leave to rest for 1 further hour at 37C (you will need to add more warm water to your water bath). After 1 hour, gently stir the curds every 5 minutes for the next 30 minutes. The curds are then ready to be scooped into the feta moulds using the draining spoon. You can add herbs at this stage if you want.
Once all the curds have been put into the moulds, place the moulds onto a sterilised cheese mat and leave to drain. You need to have a large container that can collect the whey that continues to drain out and also cover the cheese – I found that the incubator was perfect for this. After 3 hours, place a piece of cheese cloth over the top of the mould and flip the cheese upside down before putting it back into the mould and onto the cheese mat (this ensures even draining). Leave the cheese in a covered place to drain overnight.
Make 2 cups of 12% brine solution by adding 60g salt in 2 cups of boiled water and 1/2 tsp vinegar. Leave to cool in the fridge overnight. Remove feta from moulds and place in a container. Pour over the brine until it just covers the cheese. The feta should be ready to eat after it has been fully submerged in the brine for at least 5 hours. Feta can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 month when kept in the brine solution.
Recipe makes 2 large feta cheeses – recipe can be doubled or halved. You can also marinate your feta – I will write about that in another post.