How to Make Homemade Feta Cheese

Let's face it, there is Feta and there is Feta. The solid white blocks store-bought bears little resemblance with the soft, crumbly and tasty cheese, one gets in Greece or in specialist shops. 

Homemade Feta Cheese
With the lockdown one thing is certain, our days of enjoying foreign food in situs have been put on hold. So at Pebble Soup HQ, we have decided to 're-create'. A couple of weeks back, I was pairing Portuguese wine. This week, I expanded my cheese-making repertoire.
Santorini stock picture

What is Feta and How Should it Look Like?
Feta is a cheese matured in brine (that's the technical term for very salty water). It's made from a mixture of sheep and goat milk. Unless you are in a 'sheep region', ewe milk is near impossible to get. Therefore either go all goat-milk or half-half goat and unhomogenised cow's milk, the choice is yours. Ideally, you'll want to achieve that grainy appearance, you see in Greek salads or in pastries such as Spanakopita. 
Homemade Feta

Is Feta Easy to Make?
Not exactly, only because making feta at home takes a long time. On the other hand, you don't have to be present, all of the time, so the 'doing bit' is easy,  the process less so. of course, there are easier options to choose from, such as Ricotta or Labne, but in my opinion, if you nail Feta, you are ready to make any other cheeses (within reason).

Feta in olive oil

What will you need?
Large slotted spoon
Large deep pan with lid
Plastic boards
Glass bowl
Long sharp knife 

Only 5 Ingredients
1 litre of unhomogenised cow's milk
1 litre of goat's milk
1 tablespoon of plain full-fat bio live yoghurt
1/4 rennet tablet
1 sterile cheesecloth or muslin 
2 teaspoons of salt

But around 15 steps so please read through before starting
  1. Boil 50 ml of water and dissolve 1/4 rennet tablet. Make sure it is fully dissolved so it will involve a bit of stirring.
  2. Mix the yoghurt with 50ml of cow's milk, leave this to rest on the kitchen top.
  3. In the saucepan, combine both milk and bring the temperature to 32C on medium heat.
  4. When the temperature has reached 32C, cover with the lead and leave to rest for an hour.
  5. After an hour, if the temperature has dropped, gently bring it back to 32C, then stir the rennet solution in, very slowly. Use up and down motion rather than round and round. Do so for only a couple of second
  6. Put the lid on and leave it to rest for 12 hours.
  7. Hold the knife at an angle and cut cubes of about 1.5 cms. Leave the curds to rest for 14 minutes
  8. Now, you are going to collect the cubes in the muslin. First, line the colander with the muslin, if you wish to keep the whey (great fertiliser for veggies) set the colander on the top of a large bowl. Very gently pour the curds and the lot in the colander
  9. Gather up the corners of the muslin to create a bag and let the whey drain over a sink or over a bowl for 36 hours
  10. Halfway through flip the curds.
  11. That's it, you are almost done. Open the bag and gently cut the large curds. 
  12. Sprinkle the salt making sure that it is distributed through.
  13. Now create a square parcel, place it on the board, place the other board over and place a heavy object on the top (a saucepan filled with water will do)
  14. Let this press in a cool place for 12 hours, open the muslin and cut the cheese into squares.
  15. You can eat the feta now or store it in the fridge in an airtight container for a couple of days.
  16. If you still have some after that time you can store your feta cubes in a jar submerged with olive oil and herbs.


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