Well this version of feta by John Erdman sounds like it would fit the bill if you want a lighter, less saltier tasting Feta.
|Feta in brine made with whey|
I listened today to your podcast about rennet and lipase. When I made my first feta. I shared Deb’s experience that it was way too salty. I needed to reduce the amount of salt.. I'm between a rock and a hard place. Cheese biology needs salt and my doctor tells me to be careful with my salt intake.
As soon as the fresh cheese comes in contact with the brine salt molecules immediately begin migrate into the cheese. Soaking it more increases the amount of salt in it. This makes sense because brining is a diffusion process and salt content in the cheese will continue to climb until it’s in equilibrium with the salt in the brine.
I read somewhere salting feta in saturated brine needs only 2-3 hours per inch of cheese thickness to get the salt content high enough. That means, if the smallest dimension is 2”, the fresh cheese needs to be soaked for 2-3 hrs because it’s exposed to brine on both sides and salt is diffusing in from both sides.
That’s the info I started with. I now have the experience of 10 batches of this cheese. Here’s how I salt and age my feta now. After I remove the cheese from the mold after its last pressing, I let it dry for a few hours on a bamboo mat at room temperature. I then use a chef’s knife to cut the block into 25-35 mm slabs which are then submerged in saturated brine for about 6 hours in the fridge. I use a plastic container with a snap on lid. I either turn the slabs over a couple of times or weight them down to keep them submerged and always in contact with full strength brine.
Upon removal from the brine the outside surface is hardened enough that the pieces hold their shape well. Dry it on a bamboo mat for a few hours. Put a folded paper towel in the plastic container, put the dried brined slabs in loosely, and cover them with another paper towel .Pour vinegar over the towels until they are dripping wet. The vinegar will help keep molds from blooming and will add a little acidity to the finished cheese..
I have used different types of vinegar but it doesn't make any difference to my taste buds.. The package is returned to fridge for aging for at least five to six days. I keep the unused cheese in the same container until it’s gone.. The brine is filtered and saved for later use.
Friends who have sampled cheeses all over the world and family who have never tasted homemade feta rave about this cheese. I tend to make mine smoother and less crumbly that what’s available here locally.
Thanks for all your help. You've been my guide throughout my cheese making adventures.
Augusta Maine, USA.
Thank you so much for sharing your technique with all the curd nerds out there.
If you want to use John's technique, follow my Feta recipe and video tutorial, or check out the eBook "Keep Calm & Make Cheese" that I made for you all. Instead of storing it in a fully saturated brine, follow John's suggestion instead.
Next time I make Feta, I am going to give this variation a try. It sounds like it may turn out like a milder Danish Feta, rather than a strong Greek Feta.
If anyone else has a recipe that they would love to share, please send it through via email.
Until next time curd nerds...