Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Further Adventures in Cheese - Homemade Feta!

This month in Forging Fromage we made homemade Feta! Who knew it was so easy? This particular recipe calls for goat's milk - which I have found out the hard way is seriously expensive here. Why? I don't know. I have driven in the country, I have seen goats. It's not like they are a foreign entity here.
We were going to go for cow's milk, which we can get for $5 a gallon (4 litres), rather than the $7 per quart (litre) of goat's milk... but at the last minute hubs came home with a little of both. Goat's milk does make for lovely, tangy, and delicate cheese. Cow's milk is cheap. We compromised. (Remind me to get to know some dairy farmers - where does one meet a dairy farmer?)
Anyhoo... the feta was fun and relatively easy to make and absolutely delicious. With the price of the goat milk I would say that it costs relatively the same to make it at home as it is to buy it (here) - but if I went with all cow next time it would be very economical indeed.
Next up - gouda!
Are you ready to come forge with us?

Goat's Milk Feta (a fresh cheese)
adapted from The Home Creamery
yield: ~1 lb.

1 gallon goat's milk (I used 1/2 goat and 1/2 cow)
1/4 c. cultured buttermilk
1/2 tsp. liquid rennet
1/4 c. cool water (55-60 degrees F)
(I added 1/2 tsp calcium chloride in 1/4 cup cool water)
coarse salt

1. Warm the milk to 88 degrees F over low heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Check the temp. with a thermometer. Stir in the buttermilk. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Remove the pot from heat.

2. In a small cup, dissolve the rennet in the water. Add this mixture to the milk and stir for 30 seconds. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour longer to coagulate.

3. Using a knife, cut the curds into 1" cubes. Stir gently for 15 minutes, keeping curds at 88 degrees F.

4. Pour the curds carefully into a butter muslin-lined colander, tie together the ends of the muslin to make a bag, and hang in a cool room or in the refrigerator to drain for 4-6 hours.

5. Remove the cheese from the muslin, slice the cheese ball in half, and lay the slabs of cheese in a dish that can be covered. Sprinkle all the surfaces with coarse salt, cover, and allow to set at room temp for 24 hours. After 24 hours, salt all the surfaces again and let the cheese rest for 2 hours.

6. Place the cheese in a covered dish and refrigerate up to 2 weeks or freeze for future use.
(Mine is in a salty brine)