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Let's make some feta cheese.

Of all the "new" cheeses on display in dairy cases these days, feta is one of the more popular. It's also one of the easier gourmet cheeses to make in your kitchen. And of course, it's made with goat milk.

Naturally, feta isn't really new, except to most American palates. This flavorful salty treat has been a staple in Greece for ages. (What would a Greek salad be without a generous topping of feta?) We have made "phony feta" by simply putting cubes of regular, basic goat cheese in a strong brine, but this recipe was given to us by a Greek friend.

Warm 5 quarts of two-day-old but sweet goat milk to 72-75 [degrees].

Place five drops of liquid rennet in a little warm water. Stir this into the milk. It should set firmly in one hour.

Cut the curd into half-inch cubes. (For the novice cheesemaker, this is done with a long thin-bladed knife--we use a bread knife. Make the first cuts by holding the knife perpendicular to the surface and slicing to the bottom of the cheese kettle, forming squares on the surface. Then, following the surface squares, cut at a 45 [degrees] angle to slice the long columns into more-or-less cubes.)

Pour the curds and whey into another container lined with cheesecloth and draw together the corners, forming a bag. Remove the bag containing the curds from the whey and hang it to drain. Do not squeeze excess whey from the bag: let it drip by itself

When it has stopped dripping, place the curds in a cheese press. Weight it down only slightly. (Hint: It's easy to make a simple cheese press by removing the bottom from a 3-lb. coffee can and cutting wooden followers to fit inside the can. Put one follower in the can, place the curds on top, put the other follower on top of that, and weight it down with a clean stone or a container of water. Warning: unless you brace it carefully, the container of water will probably tip over as the cheese compresses, most likely in the middle of the night.)

Press the cheese for about 12 hours, when it should be firm enough to cut. Cut it into cubes about three inches square.

Add 10 ounces of salt to two quarts of water. Bring to a boil, then let it cool. Put the cubes of cheese into a crock or jars or non-aluminum kettle and cover with the cooled salt solution.

Brine the cheese three days, or longer if you want a saltier product. Then remove, rinse with cold water, cover with cheesecloth, and store in a cool place (below 60 [degrees]).
COPYRIGHT 1993 Countryside Publications Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipe
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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