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Whew!  It seems like quite a while since I've talked about making homemade cheese.  How did that happen?  I got caught up in other things and let it fall by the wayside...what a bad cheeseslut I've been.  No fear, I am about to remedy that situation.  Last month at Forging Fromage, I issued a challenge for homemade Goat's Milk Feta...and then proceeded to meet my own challenge in an EXTREMELY tardy fashion.  Sheesh...I'll catch up with myself sooner or later.  That said, I also ended up making it with cow milk, because goat milk around here would have cost me my first born...and I'm not prepared to give LT up.  Ever.  Soooooo, when I finally did get around to making Feta, I had to get a little creative...which actually seems to be a theme when we get down to cheesemaking.  Don't have cheese molds....use a colander!  Don't have cheese weights...use barbell weights wrapped in foil!  Don't have a place to hang  your cheese...remove the drawers and shelving from the bottom of your extra fridge and get creative!  Hey...whatever works!  I started out using a recipe from The Home Creamery, but ended up adapting it slightly since my original cheesing partner, Natashya, made hers first and worked out the kinks for me.  What are friends for, right!?  Okay, give yourself a couple of days before you need to use the Feta when you start making it.  It requires a 24 hour salting & rest period...which is pretty essential to gain that signature Feta tang and texture.

Feta Cheese
adapted from The Home Creamery by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley
yield: ~1 lb.

1 gallon milk
1/4 c. cultured buttermilk
1/4 tsp. liquid rennet
1/4 c. cool water (55-60 degrees F)
1/4 tsp. calcium chloride
coarse salt

1.  Warm the milk to 88 degrees F over a low flame in a large, heavy-bottomed pot.  Stir in buttermilk.  Cover and turn off heat.  Let stand 1 hour.

2.  Dissolve the rennet in the cool water and add mixture to the milk, along with the calcium chloride, stirring for 30 seconds.  Mixture should still be at 88 degrees F.  Cover again and let stand another hour to coagulate.

3.  Using a long, thin knife, cut the curds into 1" cubes.  Gently stir them a few times. The temp should still be at 88 degrees F.

4.  Carefully pour the curds into a colander, lined with butter muslin (re-useable cheesecloth).  Tie together the ends of the muslin to make a bag and hang in a cool room or refrigerator to drain for 4 to 6 hours.  This is where I had to get creative.  Fortunately we have an extra refrigerator in the garage.  I took out the bottom couple of rows of shelves and drawers...then slid in a couple of garden stakes over the top bars and tied the butter muslin to the stakes.  I set a large bowl underneath and viola! It worked perfectly...and I'll be using this method from now on!

5.  Remove the cheese from the muslin at this point it is pretty large and looks like a typical fresh cheese...tasty.  But, it's important to have self-control and NOT just use it at this point.  Sure, it'll taste good, but it won't taste like Feta! ...

...slice the cheese ball in half.  Lay the halves in a dish that can be covered.  Sprinkle all  the surfaces with coarse salt, cover, and allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours.  Yes, room temperature.  Let that beneficial bacteria do its work!  Take a look at this before and after picture...important step, wouldn't ya say?

After 24 hours, your cheese halves will be sitting in quite a bit of liquid.  Drain off this liquid and salt the surface one more time.  Let sit at room temperature for another 2 hours. 

6.  Now, you've got Feta!  At this point, use it right away or cover it in salted water and refrigerate it for up to 4 weeks.

We are currently  in the process of forging 3 different types of cheese over at Forging Fromage. An extremely easy cheese that ANYBODY can make: Yogurt Cheese.  And a couple that are at more of an intermediate level...not fresh cheeses, but why not give them a go: Gouda and Cheddar.  We'd love to have you forge with us!

This post is linked to:
forgingfromage #cheeseslut SimpleLivesThursday
Homemade Feta Cheese on Foodista