Homemade feta cheese is a perfect cheese for beginners. It is cheaper than store-bought feta, and doesn’t require any special techniques or ripening. Best of all, because it is a fresh cheese that is brined in salt, it’s pretty easy to make.
Since feta cheese is a basic salt-brined white cheese, it is similar to a variety of white, crumbly cheeses found all over Europe and the Middle East. Recipes vary based on the type of milk available and bacterial culture. I based my recipe on a combination of 4 different recipes to create a quick and easy white cheese.
Homemade feta cheese
My recipe assumes that you have a basic understand of the cheesemaking process. If you need more information read my posts on how to make homemade cheese.
- For the cheese
- 2 Liters of milk (goat, sheep or cow milk)
- ⅛ tsp of mesophillic starter or ¼ cup of milk kefir
- ⅛ tsp of calcium chloride in 2 tbsp filtered water
- ¼ tsp of liquid rennet in 2 tbsp filtered water (see notes)
- For the brine
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1½ tbsp salt (non-iodized)
- Heat milk to 86 F (30C).
- Stir in culture. Keep at 86 F for 1 hour.
- Stir in calcium chloride, then the rennet. Mix thoroughly.
- Maintain the heat and leave to sit for 1 hour for the curd to set.
- When the curd show a clean break, cut the curds into ½" cubes.
- Cook the curds by stirring every 5 minutes for the next ½ hour, slowly raising the temperature to 90F (32C).
- Line a strainer with butter muslin and pour the curds and whey into it.
- Either pack the drained curds into a feta mold or hang the curd in the butter muslin.
- Allow to drain for 8-12 hours. If you are using a mold, flip the cheese at least twice to ensure even drainage.
- Prepare the brine ahead of time to make sure that all the salt has dissolved.
- After the cheese has finished draining, cut it into 2-4 pieces and place it in the brine. Store it in the fridge and allow it to ripen for at least 5 days.
- Please read up on the detailed processes involved with cheesemaking if you are uncertain about any of the steps in this recipe.
- Follow the instructions on your rennet package to set 2 liters of milk.
- If you find that the feta is too salty, simply reduce the amount of salt in your brine to 1 tbsp, or rinse the cheese before using it.
- Feta will last for at least a month in the fridge. However, because it is a living culture it will continue to ferment and sour over time.
How to use white cheese
If you turn a gallon of milk into feta cheese, you end up with a lot of feta! Here are few recipes, beyond the infamous Greek salad, that feature the salty flavour of feta.
- Feta and onion stuffed baked potatoes
- Fasolakia – Greek green beans and tomato stew
- Spanakopita – An easy and gluten free recipe
- Quinoa salad – A hearty version of Greek Salad
- Farinata – Italian chickpea pancake
- Baked polenta – A pizza-like polenta
- Sourdough pizza