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As a child I remember my Yiya having balls of curds draining around her kitchen. She was from “Greece’s Old Country” as she called it. Her homemade feta cheese was maybe the best thing I have ever tasted. We use to sneak big chunks of it as it was aging in her fridge.
We lost Yiya a few years ago, but keeping her mama’s recipes alive for my own children has always been very important to me. In the Old Country they didn’t use things like calcium chloride, but since they are readily available, and make the process a bit easier, I have tweaked Yiya’s recipe a bit.
Feta Cheese Recipe
• 1 gallon of raw goat milk
• 1/2 tablet of rennent
• 1 tsp. calcium chloride
• 6 tbsp pure fine seasalt (for a later step)
Heat milk on medium low (stirring) until it reaches 88 degrees.
2. Remove from heat, & stir in 1 tbsp green yogurt (mix with 1 tbsp water so it's easy to blend), and 1 tsp calcium chloride (this will make your cheese curds more firm).
3. Cover & let sit 1 hour.
4. Dissolve 1/2 tablet of rennet in cold unchlorinated water (about 4 tbsp).
5. Wisk gently into milk after the hour.
6. Cover & let sit overnight or about 12 hours.
7. The next morning there will be a layer of whey on the top, and the curds will have separated.
8. Take a long sharp knife & cut 1/2 inch lines. Turn 90 degrees and cut 1/2 lines the other way.
9. Take a clean hand or large spoon and lift the curd strips from the bottom, and cut any large pieces.
10. Strain the whey into a large pitcher or jar & save for a later step.
11. Wrap the curds tightly in a cheese cloth, and allow to drain until no more whey comes out (about 4 hours).
12. Unwrap your curds, sprinkle with 1 tbsp of pure fine seasalt, and break up curds to mix in all of the salt.
13. Transfer curds into your cheese press or mold. There are online ideas for making one if you don't own one. In my case I just have the mold, so I press the cheese inside by placing my husband's weights on top. The cheese will sit like this overnight.
14. Once the cheese is in the mold transfer 2 1/2 cups of the whey into a jar & add 5 tbsp of salt. This will be your brine for your cheese.
15. Let the brine sit out 12-24 hours. Allowing it to sit out will make it acidic, and it must be or your cheese will melt. I set it next to the cheese press, and let both do their thing for 12-18 hours in the summer, or longer in the colder months.
17. In the morning dump your cheese onto a flat surface & cut into chunks. Place all the chunks in a container, and cover with the brine.
18. Store covered in fridge, & allow cheese to age in the brine for 3-5 days.
Melissa Souza lives on a 1-acre, organically managed homestead property in rural Washington State where she raises backyard chickens and meat rabbits and grows plums, apples, pears, a variety of berries, and all the produce her family needs. She loves to inspire other families to save money, be together, and take steps toward self-reliance no matter where they live. Connect with her on Facebook.
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