Making Cheese at Home #5 Goat’s Milk Feta
I wasn’t going to post a recipe for feta, I’ve had too many disasters and when you Google home cheese making bloggers seem to have this one covered. I tried a couple of them in the name of cheese making practice and they just didn’t work out for me (I think it was largely my fault, not the fault of the recipes). Then I decided to try one last time with goats milk and sure enough it worked. Again, I had to adapt the recipes in the books I am using to suit the ingredients I can get hold of, and this is what I came up with… The first cheese I have made that is good enough for the cheese board. Because of the temperamental nature of cheese making I have now tested this recipe a couple of times, and it has worked, producing a consistently good cheese with the flavour and texture of feta with a touch of goat.
1/4 teaspoon MA11 Mesophillic starter culture, made up in 100ml boiled, cooled milk
4 litres Goat’s milk
1/4 teaspoon of lipase powder dissolved in 60ml cooled boiled water
1/4 teaspoon liquid calcium chloride dissolved in 60ml cooled, boiled water
1 ml rennet diluted in 30ml cooled boiled water
non-iodised salt to taste
The day before make up your starter culture. Bring the milk to the boil allow to cool completely. Stir in the starter culture, cover with cling film then allow to ripen at room temperature for 12-24 hours. Refrigerate until needed once set to a yoghurt consistency.
Prepare all equipment for cheese making by sterlising and creating a clean sterile work area. This is really important to prevent cross contamination with undesirable bacteria.
Gradually heat the milk to 30 degrees Celsius. Add the calcium chloride solution, then the lipase solution, then the starter culture and mix thoroughly for 1 minute. Cover and maintain the temperature at 30C for to allow the milk to ripen for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, ensure the temperature is still at 30C then add the rennet solution. Stir with an up and down motion for 1 minute to ensure the rennet is thoroughly combined. Cover and continue to maintain the temperature for 1 hour to allow the curds to set.
After an hour check for a clean break. If the curds are not firm enough they will dissolve in the brine and the texture of the finished cheese will be too soft. If the curds are not firm enough allow to set for another 15 minutes then check again, or if firm, cut into 1cm cubes. Allow the curds to stand for 10 minutes, then gently stir and cut any large pieces that come up from the bottom of the pan. Leave to stand for another 10 minutes.
Set up some butter muslin in a colander and set over a bowl. Ladle the whey from the top of the curds to expose the cut curd, then carefully ladle the curds into the butter muslin and allow to drain. Once the fast flow of whey has stopped, transfer the curds in the butter muslin to a square feta mould and continue to drain for an hour. After an hour carefully remove the feta from the muslin, turn over, re-cover with muslin and place back in the mould and continue to drain.
I allow the feta to drain in the mould overnight, flipping every couple of hours initially to ensure even draining. The following day you can do one of two things with the feta. IF you are confident in the quality of your curd and like a really salty feta you can cut the feta in half and soak the pieces in brine for anything from 1-5 days. Make a brine solution with non-iodised salt and boiled cooled water. I have not had any success with this method, instead I prefer to cut the feta into two blocks and sprinkle with salt on all sides. I then place the cheese in a non-reactive dish and cover the dish in cling film. Refrigerate for 5 days, turning daily, then it is ready to eat.
Great served as part of a cheese board, or in salads and pasta.