Homemade Feta Cheese sans Rennet

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I’ve made feta before and talked about it and how salty it was. It was basically a still-edible soft extra salty cheese. Not a¬†complete¬†disaster, but close.

The recipe I used can be found here. However, there are some quite unusual things in the recipe that I can see why my previous attempt did not work.

Here is what I did:

I used cow’s milk. I don’t know why feta is seen as a cheese that must be made from other animal’s milk, but I like it best with cow’s milk.

I used less than a gallon because that is what I had. I used approximately 3/4 of a gallon.

  • Heat up the milk + yogurt slowly, constantly stirring to prevent scalding.
  • The temperature should reach past 180F, not 86F. That’s one strange thing I noticed.
  • I continuously heated the milk + yogurt, brought it to boiling, then would promptly turn off the heat (I have a gas range) to prevent spilling over the top of the pot for about 10 – 12 minutes. I was using my largest pot and the milk didn’t even come to halfway up the sides before heating.
  • Turn the heat off for the final time, leaving the pot in place on the hot burner. Slowly add 3 Tablespoons each of fresh lemon juice and white vinegar.
  • Let the mixture set for a few minutes without touching it.
  • Drag the spoon through the mixture and you should start to see curds and whey separate. I did, but if you do not, bring the mixture to a boil for a few more minutes.
  • Once curds and whey are separated, add in some salt. I used 1 & 1/2 teaspoons.
  • When my pot cooled down to a temperature that would not burn me or my wool blanket, I wrapped said pot in said wool blanket and set to the side of my kitchen for about 8 hours. It wasn’t overnight, as I had started this in the morning.

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  • After the time has passed, stir the contents, noticing the curds and whey.
  • Line a strainer with cheesecloth, and have a bowl to catch the whey.
  • Pour contents into cheesecloth, then tie up cheesecloth, squeeze a bit, then hang up over a pot to strain some more for 2 – 4 hours, or until no more whey drips out.
  • Use a strainer again to get the final shaping and firmness. I just took down the dripping bag of feta, placed it into a smaller colander, and placed my heavy, filled klean kanteen on top of it. Remember to keep a bowl under the strainer for any extra whey.
  • Prepare the brine: I used the leftover whey and added 1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) of salt. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of salt added to the brine, but this is what ruined my cheese last time. It might not taste too salty with 2 Tablespoons, but the next day, I could tell it was pretty much the perfect amount. Place brine into a clean glass jar and place into the refrigerator.
  • After cheese has been strained for another 8 hours, remove cheesecloth and place into brine. Store this for 3 days before use for proper taste and texture.

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I am so glad I tried this recipe again. Next time, I will try to strain it the second time around for even longer, or use heavier items to get that nice firm texture. Mine is still quite soft, but it is very close to the feta I had while working at a hostel in Greece.

Peace and love,

Kristan

Massaman Curry Paste

Massaman curry is one of my favorite dishes to order from Thai restaurants, and it generally doesn’t contain fish sauce. When I came upon this recipe, I knew I wanted to make this as a change from my previous curry paste.

This recipe was followed almost exactly. I did not use cilantro root, but rather used stems and leaves. Also, I used whatever dried chilies I had that were from a Mexican market which were quite spicy. I happened to find galangal and lemongrass at my co-op, but wasn’t really looking too hard for it. All other ingredients I had on hand, so this was a nice recipe to make this weekend.

When it came time to process in a food processor, I found the concoction was way too thick to properly get to a paste consistency. All I have is a ninja chopper, and I ended up adding probably 1/4 cup of water to thin it out.

This still tastes amazing! I can’t wait to update with a curry I have made with this paste.

Peace and love,

Kristan