How to Make Homemade Feta Cheese with Either Goat’s or Cow’s Milk
Making feta cheese right in your own kitchen is fun, inexpensive, and a great way to have a versatile cheese on hand at all times. Best of all, it’s easy!
Feta is traditionally made with sheep’s milk but since most Americans don’t have a ready supply cow’s milk is usually used. If you have dairy goats, or access to fresh goat’s milk, then you can also use that. The flavor is sharp and distinctive – most people either love it or hate it. The flavor and texture are achieved by soaking the curds in a salt brine for a week or more. Feta is absolutely delicious in salads and can be used in a variety of other dishes.
Quick Tips for Making Perfect Feta
While this cheese is simple to make you do need to be detail oriented during the process. Here are some tips to ensure your success:
- Make sure the equipment is clean and sterilized. To do this wash all equipment before using and then submerge the pots, utensils, and storage jars in boiling water for at least three minutes just before using.
- Always use the exact weights and measures given in the recipe.
- Follow the directions carefully.
- Keep the cheese refrigerated except when the instructions say otherwise.
- If you are making the cheese with fresh, raw milk of any sort you may need to let it brine longer.
Supplies You'll Need for Making Feta
- Large stainless steel pot
- Slotted spoon made of stainless steel
- Cheese or tofu mold
- 1 gallon cow's or goat's milk
- 1/2 tablet rennet
- 1 tablespoon yogurt, room temp
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- Pour the milk in the pot. Set it on low heat and stir until the milk reaches 85F – stir it constantly with the spoon to keep the bottom from scorching.
- Remove from heat. Whisk the yogurt into the milk until thoroughly mixed. Cover the pot and allow it to stand at room temperature for an hour.
- Completely dissolve the rennet tablet by stirring it in half a cup of cool water. Pour the rennet mixture into the milk and let it stand at room temperature (covered) for ten hours.
- Check the milk. The curd will have separated from the whey. The whey will look thin and greenish while the curds will look firm and white. If it hasn’t separated let it stand for another hour or so.
- Create half inch cubes by cutting the curds gently with firm strokes of the knife. Stir gently to loosen the cubes. Let the curds rest for ten minutes and then place cheesecloth in a colander and place it over a large bowl so that it is suspended above the bowl. Carefully pour the curds into the colander – don’t break the curds. Allow the whey to drain off - a process that may take several hours. Reserve the whey for later.
- Mix the curds with a half teaspoon of salt. Press the curds into a cheese mold and allow them to stand at room temperature for eight hours.
- Add five tablespoons of kosher salt to 20 ounces of the reserved whey. Stir well to let the salt dissolve. This is the brine.
- Cut the Feta into cubes and add them to a sterile jar. Pour the brine over the cheese, covering it completely. Cover the jar tightly and refrigerate it at least a week, or up to four weeks. Rinse thoroughly before using.
How to Make Feta
Experiment with Flavor
The first time you make Feta split the curds up into four jars of one fourth a pound each. Pour the brine over it as directed in the recipe but try one jar at one week, one at two weeks, one at three weeks, and one at four weeks. This will let you what the best brining time is for your tastes. As you taste the cheese make notes so that if you want a different flavor at some point you will know how long to brine the curds.
Use the finished homemade Feta in any recipe that calls for Feta cheese.
Feta Cheese Recipes
Once you have made your Feta you'll want to use it in a couple of recipes. Here are some to consider.