Saturday, 23 August 2014

Low Salt Feta

Ever thought that the Feta you make is just too salty. Does your doctor keep telling you that you need to cut back on salty foods?

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
John has graciously allowed me to reproduce his email in which he shares his technique.



Hi Gavin

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.

John Erdman
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 Cheesethat 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...

Monday, 18 August 2014

LGC 030 - Recipe Tips

During the show I talk about the importance of sticking to the recipe.  

Please forgive me if I sound a little harsh, but it is very important to not vary too much from the recipe.  Otherwise, how are you going to repeat that amazing taste four months down the track especially if you deviated too much and didn't record your changes.

This weeks new is from Tasmania.  Ian Fowler comes from a very long line of cheese makers and is making cheddar style cheeses in the Bay of Fires on the east coast.  I play an audio clip from an interview he gave on the ABC. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-22/bay-of-fires-tasmanias-smallest-cheese-company/5572612

I also answer questions about using the correct milk for the right cheese method, why you should wax your parmesan, and talk about butterfat yield from different types of cow.

Also here are the photos I promised.


David's not so pressed cheddar;
Connies blue smelling Jarlsberg
And one that I didn't mention, but Murray sent me a picture of a very fresh Peppercorn Cheddar

Peppercorn Cheddar by Christine and Murray 

Also, if you like this podcast, and would like to help promote it as a personal favour to me, please head over to iTunes and give it a rating and a honest review.  Once you have clicked on the link, then click the "view on iTunes" button and leave a review.

This helps raise the podcast in the iTunes charts, which ranks against the likes of world famous food podcasters like Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, and Martha Stewart to name a few.

I am really up against the heavyweights in this podcasting category, so any help would be fantastic if you have the time.

If you wish to receive the show on your portable apple device each time I release an episode, you can subscribe via iTunes using the button below. You can also subscribe via Stitcher Radio.



Listen to Stitcher

So, until next time curd nerds, remember to Keep Calm and Make Cheese!

Monday, 4 August 2014

LGC 029 - Rennet and Lipase

So where do rennet and lipase come from and how are they sourced?  I think you may be surprised at the answer.

During this episode, I cover the types of rennet and lipase, and how they are manufactured for cheese making.  Yes, before you ask, there is a vegetarian option for both enzymes!

As there were no voice mails this week, which by the way you can leave any home cheese making questions for me to answer during the show; https://www.speakpipe.com/Gavin_Webber, I went straight into the email questions.


Download this episode (right click and save)

Listener questions were about natural rind vs waxing, environmental benefits of home cheese making, brine too salty in feta recipe, differences in chevre texture, and blue cheese aging.

I mention the following links during the show;

Brine, how to calculate the desired percentage of salt
Whole milk Ricotta recipe
The Greening of Gavin - my sustainable living in the suburbs blog and,
The Greening of Gavin podcast - a weekly show about all things sustainable living in the 'burbs

Also, if you like this podcast, and would like to help promote it as a personal favour to me, please head over to iTunes and give it a rating and a honest review.  Once you have clicked on the link, then click the "view on iTunes" button and leave a review.

This helps raise the podcast in the iTunes charts, which ranks against the likes of world famous food podcasters like Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, and Martha Stewart to name a few.

I am really up against the heavyweights in this podcasting category, so any help would be fantastic if you have the time.

If you wish to receive the show on your portable apple device each time I release an episode, you can subscribe via iTunes using the button below. You can also subscribe via Stitcher Radio.


Listen to Stitcher

So, until next time curd nerds, remember to Keep Calm and Make Cheese!