Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Greek Basket Style Feta

Feta rightfully falls into the Aegean Sea, soft brine preserved, class of cheeses. For centuries Feta has been made from the milk of goats and sheep that roam along the hillsides of the Balkans. Using baskets to drain and mold the cheese into wheels is as functional as it is beautiful. The process really hasn't changed much over the years. Modern cheese makers often add lipase to sharpen the flavor of the cheese. If you are using goat or sheep milk and are willing to allow time for aging you can achieve a wonderful complex flavor with strictly traditional methods.

3-4 gallons raw goat milk
1/2 tsp. Mesophilic culture
1/2 tsp. Kid or Kid/Lamb Lipase powder (Optional)
1 tsp. Liquid rennet dissolved in 1/2 C. water
Kosher salt
1/2 lb Kosher salt per 1/2 gallon of water (boiled and cooled to below room temp.)

1) Warm Milk to 86F Add the culture
2) Add the rennet and stir for 15 seconds
3) Cover and let set about 30-40 minutes, or until you get a clean break
4) Cut the curd into 1/2" pieces.
5) Let the curds rest for 10 minutes.
6) Stir the curd gently for 20 minutes
7) Let the curds rest for 5 minutes
8) Carefully scoop the curd into baskets
9) Allow curd to drain for 10 minutes remove from mold, flip the cheese over, replace it in the basket mold
10) Flip cheese and drain cheese every 15 minutes for an hour. Then flip and drain every hour for three hours. Allow cheese to set overnight at room temperature.
11) Remove cheese from baskets, salt both sides allow to cure at room temperature 2 days adding more salt and flipping every so often.
12) Store Feta in brine solution in the refrigerator. For long term storage adjust brine pH to 4.8-5.2 by adding citric acid, whey or vinegar 
Feta draining in a basket mold

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