How to Make Feta Cheese
Feta cheese is actually surprisingly easy to make at home. And the delicious results are well worth the effort.
With its tangy taste and crumbly texture, feta is a favorite cheese with so many recipes we love. A classic of Greek cuisine, feta also features fewer calories than many other cheeses. And its relatively intense flavor means you can use less cheese without sacrificing flavor. So that’s a bonus. But maybe the best news of all, feta cheese is actually surprisingly easy to make at home. And the delicious results are well worth the effort.
Traditionally, the Greeks use sheep or goat's milk. To make your own homemade feta cheese, use goat or cow milk, or even a mixture of both. Feta from cow milk develops a cheese with a slightly more firm texture. To serve, remove from brine and allow the cheese to air-dry before serving.
Watch the video as you follow along with the directions below.
What You’ll Need for the Cheese
· 1/2 cup water, divided
· 1/2 teaspoon calcium chloride
· 1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet
· 1 gallon whole milk
· 1/4 teaspoon feta MT1 cheese culture
*A note on where to find ingredients. Calcium chloride is a naturally occurring salt, which will help with setting a firmer curd. You can find calcium chloride online or at cheese-, beer- or wine-making supply stores. Liquid rennet, you can find online or in health food stores or well stocked health-food sections of larger grocery stores. Feta MT1 cheese culture is available online or at cheese-making supply stores.
What You’ll Need for the Brine
· 8 cups water
· 5 tablespoons coarse sea salt
· 1 teaspoon calcium chloride
· 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
- Add 1/4 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon calcium chloride to a small bowl and mix together well.
- In another small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup water with 1/2 teaspoon rennet.
- Prepare a double boiler on the stove. Pour milk into the double boiler and set over medium-low heat. Heat the milk to 86 degrees F (30 degrees C) on an instant-read thermometer.
- Sprinkle cheese culture over the surface of the milk. Allow the cheese culture to dissolve for 3 to 5 minutes without stirring, then stir well. Cover, and hold the temperature at 86 degrees F (30 degrees C) for 1 hour.
- Pour the calcium chloride and water mixture into the milk and stir for 1 minute. Add the rennet mixture and stir for 1 or 2 minutes.
- Let the milk stand at room temperature until it sets into curd, about 1 hour. Check for firmness by gently pressing the edge of the curd with a palette knife or the back of a spoon.
- Once set, cut the curd into 1-inch squares (cut all the way to the bottom of the pot). Stir gently with a rubber spatula. Then let the stirred curds rest, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Stir again, maintaining temperature at 86 degrees F (30 degrees C), until the curds sink to the bottom of the pot, about 20 minutes.
- Scoop out the liquid (whey) with a ladle and discard or reserve for another use.
- Line 2 basket-style cheese molds with damp cheesecloth. Using a slotted spoon, ladle curds into the molds and cover with ends of cheesecloth. Place one mold on top of the other, pressing lightly. Let the liquid drain, switching the molds and stirring the curds several times, and flipping the cheese within the molds, until the cheese is firm, at least 4 hours.
- To make the brine, mix together 8 cups water, sea salt, 1 teaspoon calcium chloride, and white vinegar in a large container. Submerge the cheese in the brine and let soak for at least 8 hours and up to 3 weeks.
So now, what to do with all your luscious new feta cheese? Try these Best Recipes with Feta Cheese.