Feta Cheese has got to be one of my all time favorite cheeses. Salty, tangy, earthy, crumbly, and perfect in all sorts of dishes! Today we will be looking at how to make Feta cheese. This is a fairly easy cheese to make as long as you follow some simple steps. If you choose to make this cheese be sure to let me know how it came out and if you have any questions, ask away!!
Lets cover a few basics
There are a few things that we need to understand about cheese making. First and foremost cleanliness needs to be a top priority. Sanitize all of your equipment by either boiling it in water for 20 minutes or spraying with a liquid sanitizer, like Iodophor. Iodophor is great because you only need a little bit and it only takes 3 minutes for it to do it’s job. After 3 minutes your items are sanitized and you are ready to start making cheese.
As far as goat milk goes, try and get the best quality that you can get for cheese making. The better the goat milk the better your cheese will turn out. Stay away from ultra pasteurized milk or ultra high temp processed (UHT) milk. These options do not work for cheese making.
Raw goat milk produces some amazing cheese so if you choose to use raw milk make sure it comes from a reputable place with healthy livestock. If you use raw goat milk to make this cheese you DONOT need to add calcium chloride to the recipe. Calcium chloride is added to replenish the calcium in milk that’s been pasteurized. Also, if you use raw goat milk you can reduce the amount of culture by 25%.
If you can’t find goat milk you can always use cow’s milk and if you want to duplicate that “funky” “piquant” flavor that feta is known for you can always add a touch of lipase powder. Just don’t add too much as a little goes a long way!!
Time and temperature play an important role in cheese making. Each cheese has it’s own parameters that must be strictly followed. For that reason I suggest getting a high quality kitchen thermometer that you can monitor the milk’s temperature. I use a hand help thermometer called MK4 Thermapen. It’s accurate, reliable, and keeps me on track when making cheese. You will see thermometers in pretty much every cheese making video recipe I post. It’s that important.
In addition to temperature, time is critically important when it comes to cheese making. Whether you are ripening a culture, setting, cooking the curds, or draining the cheese time is at the heart of each one of those steps. The timer I use is from ThermoWorks as well (Extra BIG and LOUD Timer) and It keeps me on task through the entire process.
Is there a specific culture that I need for Feta?
Do you need a specific culture for feta cheese. The easy answer is no. You can use just about any mesophilic culture and your feta will most likely turn out good. Just be sure to follow the temperature instructiosn for the specific culture you will be using. We will be using a mesophilic/thermophilic blend from the New England Cheese Making Supply Company called MT1 (Feta Starter Culture) . I love this culture for feta as it really give this cheese that nice robust flavor.
Through this cheese making process you will notice that I use pH markers as target points. This lets me know when to move on to the next step. Having a pH meter is not critically necessary but you will produce better more consistent cheese and it’s something that you might want to consider getting. I use a pH meter from Apera Instruments called the PH60S-Z to test the ph and it’s completely improved the way I make cheese.
Is A Cheese Cave Necessary for Feta
Well Yes and No. We will be aging this chees if a 55f (13c) refrigerator. Because this will be in a brine humidity control isn’t necessary, so if you have a wine fridge or a regular fridge that you can adjust the temperature to 50-55f then you should be fine. We make lots of items that require controlled temperature and humidity so if you want to seeI I built my cheese caveyou can check out the post: Building a salami chamber/cheese cave.
Here are a few things you might find useful when making this cheese
- Apera Instruments pH Meter (PH60S-Z)
- Iodophor Sanitizer
- The Briner Jr.
- DOT External Thermometer
- MK4 Thermapen
- Extra BIG and LOUD Kitchen Timer/Alarm
- MT1 (Feta Starter Culture)
- Calcium Chloride
- Cheese Salt
- Lipase Powder
- Mini Measuring Spoons
- Stainless Steel Cheese Skimmer
- Curd Knife
- 16oz Cheese Mold
- Bamboo Cheese Mat
- Cambro Bin
- Cambro Lid
- Immersion Circulator
Enjoy the video and the recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask away. If you make this at home I’d love to hear about how it came out!!
If you want to see the different things that we use in operation our be sure to check out our new Amazon Store.
- 7.57 liters Goat milk not ultra pasteurized
- MT1 Feta Starter Culture 1/4 tsp for 1-4 gallons
- 1/2 tsp calcium chloride diluted in 1/4 cup of distilled water (not necessary if using raw milk)
- 1/4 tsp liquid rennet single strength diluted in 1/4 cup of distilled water (use 20% less rennet if using raw milk)
- 1/64 tsp lipase optional if using cows milk. Dissolve in 1 tbsp of water
- cheese salt as needed Some for dry salting and some for making a brine solution
To prepare 3 quarts of an 8% brine with whey
- 2760 g whey
- 240 g salt
- Clean and Sanitize all of your equipment
Preparing the milk
- Gently bring your milk up to 93F (33C). Sprinkle the Feta Starter Culture over the top of the milk and allow it to rehydrate for 5 minutes. Once rehydrated stir with an up and down motion for 5 minutes to mix everything well.
- After mixing let your milk ripen for 60 minutes
- After ripening, add the diluted calcium chloride. Mix well and wait 5 minutes before adding the rennet
- Add the diluted rennet to your milk and stir with an up and down motion for 60 seconds.
- Cover and let your milk coagulate for 60 – 90 minutes.
- Once your milk has completely coagulated and feels like firm yoghurt and you can get a clean break, cut the curds into 1inch cubes (this process should take roughly 10 minutes)
- Once cut, allow the curds to heal for 5 minutes.
- For the next 20 minutes gently stir the curds 2-3 times every 5 minutes. Bringing them up to the surface. This will help them dry out. Try not to break apart the curds to much during this process.
- After 20 minutes the curds should have rounded edges and will retain their shape. They will have a slightly firm exterior but be extremely moist and soft inside.
- When this happens remove the whey to the level of the curds and scoop into molds. Save the whey so that you can make a brine for storage.
Place curds in molds
- Gently scoop out the curds into your molds. If you fill up your molds just wait 5 minutes as the curds will settle giving you more space. Place the cheese on a rack to drain and cover with cling film. You will want this cheese to drain in an area that's 68F – 77F (20cf – 25c).
- Allow them to drain overnight turning once an hour for the first 4 hours. When the pH of your cheese reaches 4.6-4.7 you can unmold. If you don't have a ph meter unmold at 12 hours after draining.
Preparing a Brine
- I use whey to make our 8% storage brine because all you need to do is add salt. If you have a way to test the pH make sure the ph of your brine is around 4-7 – 5.0. To lower the ph of your brine just add a little vinegar till you get to the right ph.
- If you are using water to make a brine you will need to add calcium chloride and vinegar (as well as the salt) to the water.
- Once your brine is made, place your brine in a 55f (13c) refrigerator till you are ready to use it.
Salting and Aging
- Once you unmold your cheese apply 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of course cheese salt to the top of your cheese. Do this every 12 hours for 2 days (4 times total). During this "salting" process keep your feta cheese at room temperature: 68f – 77f (20c – 25c). This will begin to age your cheese and develop it's flavor
- After the 48 hour aging, the ph of your feta should be between 4.5-4.6. Place your cheese in your cheese cave that's 55f (13c) for 5-6 hours. This is so that the temperature of your cheese matches the temperature of your brine.
- Once your cheese temperature matches that of your brine place the feta in your brine solution and keep in your cheese cave to mature.
- The longer your cheese matures in the brine the more developed the flavor becomes. I recommend a minimum of 2 months but 4-6 is even better😀
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