1 gallon whole milk of choice (avoid ultra-pasteurized/ UHT milk)
Any combination of cow, goat, sheep's milk
1⁄4 teaspoon calcium chloride, diluted in 1/8 cup filtered water
pinch of lipase powder (optional)
1⁄4 cup sea salt
1⁄4 teaspoon liquid animal rennet diluted in1/4 cup of filtered water
1⁄8 teaspoon double-strength liquid vegetable rennet diluted in 1/4 cup of filtered water
1 rennet tablet diluted in 1/4 cup of filtered water
Choose one type of cheese culture:
1 packet of mesophilic culture
1/8 teaspoon MA4001 culture
Heat the milk slowly to 84 degrees F. Add the diluted calcium to the pot and stir for 30 seconds. Sprinkle the cultures into the pot and wait 2 minutes for them to rehydrate. Once rehydrated stir with a folding motion for 20 seconds. If adding lipase, add now and mix well. Cover the pot and let ripen for 40 minutes.
Next, add the rennet and stir very gently with a folding motion in one direction for 15 seconds. Stop. Reverse the motion of the milk by stirring 2 seconds in the opposite direction. Cover the pot and let rest for 35-45 minutes (a mixture of goat’s milk will take 5-10 minutes longer to set).
Check the curds for a clean break (demonstrated in class). Once set, cut the curd into 3/4 inch squares. Let rest for two minutes, until the whey starts to raise to the surface and the cut lines are clear.
Now cut the curds horizontally from the top to the bottom of the pan, using the curd knife or spoon at one-inch increments to lift curds from one side of the pot to the other, one half of the pot at a time. This will take from 3-5 minutes.
Over medium heat, bring the curds to 90 degrees. Once at 90, turn off the heat. Let the curds settle to the bottom of the pan and rest for 5 minutes. This is called pitching. Pour off the whey from the top of the pot (save the whey for the brine), then gently pour the curds into the muslin cloth-draped colander to drain.
In about 20 minutes, gather the curds roughly into a more square shape. Let drain for 10-15 hours in a 60-80 degree location. Less time if in a warm environment, more time in in a cool space. Flip halfway through (after about 5-7 hours.)
After draining, sprinkle and rub the feta evenly with the salt. Let set for another 24 hours. Now you are ready to brine, or marinate.
1 pint whey (saved from draining your feta curd)
1⁄4 cup sea salt
1/8 teaspoon calcium chloride
Collect and save the whey from draining your feta curd. Chose a jar big enough to hold your feta when it is ready, brine, and a weight to submerge your feta. Add your salt (for every pint of whey, a 1/4 cup kosher salt) and calcium chloride. Shake to dissolve the salt. Store in the fridge.
When feta is drained and salted, add the cheese to the jar. Pour the brine over the cheese. Weigh down the cheese if necessary to ensure the brine covers the cheese.
Your feta will be ready from 2 to 3 weeks. It should taste salty, and like feta! If too salty, soak in milk or water for a couple hours to reduce salinity.
Note: A feta brine can be tricky. The pH should remain between 4.8-5.2. If it drops, add baking soda. If it’s too high, add a splash of white vinegar.
Seasonings (peppercorns, roasted garlic, dried herbs like lavender, thyme, rosemary, etc)
Cut feta into small pieces to fit inside your jar. Layer feta, herbs, and olive oil. Tap the jar to get rid of oil pockets, then cover feta entirely with oil and cure in the fridge. Your cheese will be ready in 2 weeks. It will taste soft, silky and herbal. Keep your marinated feta stored in the fridge where it will last about 4-6 weeks.