Feta Cheese

I bake, cook, like wine, and get easily distracted.  I also make cheese., which if you have read my Haloumi cheese post you’d know about & if you haven’t well it gives the background to my cheese making.

I think my feta is my signature cheese, I’ve made it for enough people and I make it more often than any other cheese (well I only make 2 other types but you know).

I prefer my feta to most bought ones.  It’s not crumbly but more of a creamy type, and y it’s delicious. There are a lot of steps to making it, don’t be overwhelmed its EASY. With just a couple of fancy ingredients available from any cheese making store (there’s heaps online), you could make feta too, really.

Let’s make feta

There is of course fancy milk with fancy culture added

Its heated up

tipped into a sexy blue esky

there’s rennet action

curds and way (eat your heart out little miss muffet)

draining of curds in cheese hoops

totally easy

Feta cheese – recipe adapted from Udder Delights Cheese making class

3 litres of unhomogenized milk (must be unhomogenized)

1/3rd of 1/4 of stater culture

.7ml rennet (this is dependent on your rennet you may need more or less)

10 ml cooled boiled water

100g salt

500mls boiling water

Pop milk in saucepan, add culture to milk.  Heat milk to 35 degrees Celsius (you need to accurate with the temp)

Pour milk into an esky (or something that will maintain the temp)

Put lid on esky, leave in warmish place for 30 mins.

Mix rennet with water and add to milk while stirring for about 30 seconds

Leave for 1 hour.  Don’t move the esky in this hour as its already forming the curd and you risk shattering it before its fully formed

After the hours up take a long knife and cut the curds into 2 cm cubes. I cut it starting from one corner of the esky in 2 cm intervals over to the other side, then go to one of the other corner and cut across to the other side (it’s a bit hard to explain but you want to have it looking like its cut into diamond shapes)

Leave for 1/2 an hour, the you kind of lift the curd. just use a slotted spoon and dip it in and lift the curd up.

Leave 20 mins, stir the curd then leave for another 20 mins

Stir the curd again, it should be sticking together (not just loose cubes)

take some cheese hoops (or any container that has perforations on the bottom & sides) and line with clean chux cloth (yes really chux). Then put these on a wire rack and over put rack over a bowl.

Using slotted spoon fill up cheese hoops with curds. Fill them right up till almost over flowing

Leave for 1 hours, then tip upside down (you will want to have folded the chux on the open end of cheese hoops before doing this)

After another hour tip right way up.  All this tipping helps with draining off the whey

Leave to finishing draining overnight

The next morning you will see the cheese has dropped to about 1/3 its size (this is good, all the whey has drained off), giving you a solid cheese

Now you need to put your cheese in brine.  The brine is made by mixing the salt and boiling water together until salt is dissolved.  It’s a good idea to do this the night before you need to use it so it’s cool as you can’t put the cheese in hot brine

Soak it in brine for 30 mins, then drain on rack for 1 hour.

It’s now ready to eat.  You can pop it in the fridge and it will keep for just over a week. To keep it longer you can marinate it in oil.  The oil will usually be 30 % olive oil & 70 % other oil and you can put garlic, chilli, herbs etc into the oil to flavour the oil and feta.

ta da Feta

Haloumi Cheese

Most of my friends and co-workers know I make cheese.  I’m the only person I know that does, which either makes this fact interesting or  makes me seem weird.

I only make simple pretty basic fresh cheese, feta, cream cheese and haloumi cheese.  Maybe one day I’ll move on to brie or camembert, but I don’t eat them and they are a bit more fiddly to make. 

How did I come to make cheese?  I spotted a homemaking cheese book  in the library, it all looked interesting enough but it seemed tricky and used ingredients not exactly available at the supermarket.  So the book was returned to the library and the idea kind of floated away from my head.  however not from my husband’s head.  He had visions of making his own brie and found a Australian web site selling home cheese making supplies and for Christmas that year he insisted on a cheese making kit.  Said kit duly arrived and he made one cheese (quark) as he found it all daunting.

Rather than let the kit go to waste I thought we should get some professional cheese making advice and booked into Udder Delights cheese making workshop.  We learnt to make fetta and cream cheese and learnt all about the types of cheese.  I’d highly recommend it.

After the workshop I kept up making the fetta and cream cheese and mastered haloumi all by myself.

People are always amazed I make my own cheese, but it’s really easy

Let’s make Haloumi

There is fancy old fashioned milk with cream at the top

heating it to specific temperatures

adding rennet

getting curds and whey (a la little miss muffet)

draining the curds

and frying the Haloumi (yum)

Haloumi cheese – adapted from Home Cheesemaking Neil and Carole Willman

3 litres of unhomogenized milk

.7ml rennet (yes it .7 not 7 but this may change depending on the strength of you rennet)

cooled boiled water

500mls boiling water

100g salt

Disolve salt into  boiling water to make brine – set aside

heat the milk to between 32-34c

mix your rennet with 10 mls of cooled boiled water, add to milk and stir for about 30 seconds

This is where it’s a bit tricky, you have to maintain the setting temperature but can’t take the milk out of the pot.  I do it by putting pot into esky.  However you do it you have to leave it with temp maintained for 40 mins.

Cut the curd into 20-40mm cubes

Put  pot back on stove and over 20 mins heat to 40c (sometimes this happens quicker it doesn’t seem to effect the end result).

Take curd our and put into chux cloth lined cheese hoops which are sitting on a rack over a bowl.  Leave for 2 hours-overnight until the curd is firm (you want the curd to knit together)

Do not throw away the whey left in pot or in bowl

Bring whey to boil

Cut cheese into  blocks 50 x 100 x 150 mm. Add them to whey.  Simmer until they float – approx. 30 mins.  Once floating leave another 15 mins then remove and drain on racks.

After 30 mins put the cheese into brine solution for 30 mins, then drain on rack for 1 hour.

Now it’s ready to use.  I think the best way is fried and served with some fresh squeezed lemon juice .