Friday, March 30, 2012

Learning to Make Cheese: Feta

As part of this month's Urban Farm Handbook Challenge I set the goal for myself to learn how to make 3 types of cheese this month. Last week I posted about making homemade mozzarella and ricotta cheese.
This week I decided to make feta cheese.

Before making the cheese I needed to make the starter culture. This involved using a powder that I purchased from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company. First you sterilize a quart canning jar and fill it with skim milk. The milk is then brought up to temperature and the culture is added. After shaking the jar for 1 minute, the jar is left on the counter wrapped in a towel for 11-15 hours. It can be used to make cheese right away or can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days. The culture can be frozen in ice cube trays for up to a month, it can also be used to make more culture.

I made the culture on Saturday and started making the feta on Sunday morning. I used local goat milk, which was pretty expensive. I need to search around for a better source for the future.
This cheese was much more time consuming than the mozzarella was to make. There's a lot of heating and then letting it sit for an hour and the heating again and letting it sit and then stirring for 20 minutes etc....
Definitely good for a rainy day when you are doing various other projects inside and can keep an eye on the stove.

After the cheese is strained you cut it into cubes, add salt and then it is put into the fridge to ripen for 4 days.
I tasted it tonight and it was really good! I love a good Greek salad and my romaine lettuce is almost ready to harvest.

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