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A tasty take on feta

Feb 1st, 2020 | Category: Cooking

by Marisa Papetti

Completed cow’s milk feta round. PHOTO BY MARISA PAPETTI

Completed cow’s milk feta round. PHOTO BY MARISA PAPETTI

I love cheese. I love everything about cheese. The stories behind cheese caves, specialty bacteria, flipping cheese, washing cheese, eating cheese. It goes on and on. I remember peeking into a stone building where cheesemakers were stirring giant vats of steaming milk with a huge wooden paddle; what kind of magic was this? I was seven. I was raised in Germany and one of my chores was to help my best friend bring fresh milk to the creamery down a cobble stone street in a wagon. Seriously, how amazing of a memory is that? I loved the cheesemakers not to mention the cheese.

In adulthood I dream of owning my own creamery. It may still be in the cards for me, however I am passionate and loving every second of teaching people to make cheese at home. This forces me to dive deeper into everything cheese. My friends at Appel Farms Cheese asked if I would teach some basic cheese classes in their storefront, kitchen and meeting space. After a year we outgrew the space and since then I have taught at the University of British Columbia, Ciao Thyme, private retreats and the Community Food Co-op. This year I will be expanding into the PCC down south from Edmonds to Burien.

Cheesemaking seems mysterious and complicated, but I’ve been doing it and you can, too. Let’s start with a much-loved feta cheese.

Tools needed include: Cheese bag (I use the garment bags from the dollar store; they are reusable and great for large curd cheeses); 8-quart Dutch oven; a mix of bowls, large and small; knife; meat thermometer; measuring cups and spoons; large slotted spoon; baking sheet with cooling rack; round cheese mold with follower; and 10-pound weights. PHOTOS BY MARISA PAPETTI

Tools needed include: Cheese bag (I use the garment bags from the dollar store; they are reusable and great for large curd cheeses); 8-quart Dutch oven; a mix of bowls, large and small; knife; meat thermometer; measuring cups and spoons; large slotted spoon; baking sheet with cooling rack; round cheese mold with follower; and 10-pound weights. PHOTOS BY MARISA PAPETTI

This is not a traditional feta. We will be using a slow-pasteurized cow’s milk from Twin Brook Creamery in Lynden instead of a mix of sheep and goat milk. You will need to purchase a few supplies online. A wonderful source for cultures and rennet is cheesemaking.com.

If you have any questions I am available through my website at mariesbees.com. To make cheese with me in person, private classes are available and all of our cheesemaking classes are posted at mariesbees.com. 

 

Cow’s Milk Feta Cheese

PREP TIME: 8 hours

Allow 24 hours for flavors to meld

YIELD: 2-pound round

SHELF LIFE: 5 days

 

Ingredients

Once your milk is in the Dutch oven and approproately mixed per instructions with flora Danica/mesophilic, sharp lipase, and calcium chloride, it rests to form a giggly consistency that will be cut.

Once your milk is in the Dutch oven and approproately mixed per instructions with flora Danica/mesophilic, sharp lipase, and calcium chloride, it rests to form a giggly consistency that will be cut.

1 gallon Twin Brook Creamery milk

1 cup bottled or distilled water

1/4 tsp flora Danica or mesophilic culture (aids in curd formation)

1/4 tsp sharp lipase (flavor/smell)

1/4 tsp calcium chloride (this is optional; gives a firmer curd)

1Tbsp cheese salt

1/4 tablet for tablet rennet or 3 droplets for liquid rennet

 

Directions

Pour milk into Dutch oven. Sprinkle with flora Danica/mesophilic and allow to rest for two minutes.

Dissolve sharp lipase into 3 Tbsp of water. Sprinkle over the top of the mix.

Cutting the feta allows the whey to escape from the curd. PHOTO BY MARISA PAPETTI

Cutting the feta allows the whey to escape from the curd. PHOTO BY MARISA PAPETTI

Dilute calcium chloride in a 1/4 cup of water. Sprinkle evenly over milk.

Stir with slotted or wooden spoon for two minutes.

Turn heat to medium-high. Bring temperature to 88 degrees.

Turn off heat.

Cover and let cheese rest for an hour.

Add rennet to 1/4 cup of water. Sprinkle evenly over milk. Stir gently 10 times.

Cover and let cheese rest for another hour. Cheese should be jiggly and break evenly.

Now you get to cut the cheese! Using your knife cut long strips down into the cheese. Think plaid. You are helping to release the whey from the curd.

Cover and allow the cheese to rest for 5 minutes.

After another rest, mix with a slotted or wooden spoon to scoop the curds into a cheese bag (below).

After another rest, mix with a slotted or wooden spoon to scoop the curds into a cheese bag (below).

Stir cheese for five minutes or until the curds are the side of large peas.

Cover and allow the cheese to rest for 10 minutes.

Using your slotted spoon scoop out the curd into your cheese bag set inside a large bowl.

Pour the whey back into the Twin Brook Creamery glass bottles.

Moving to your sanitized kitchen sink, hang the bag on the faucet handle allowing the drips to collect in a bowl underneath. Hang for one hour.

Pour curds out onto a cutting board.  Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp for cheese salt and massage in the salt breaking up the curds as you go.

Place your curds into your cheese mold. Weigh down with 10-pound weights flipping every hour for 4 hours. Massaging salt onto all sides with each flip.

Allow to rest overnight covered with a tea towel.hanging cheese web

Wrap in cheese paper or tea towel and refrigerate.

Eat within 5 days of making.

 

 

Spanakopita

Ingredients 

 The curds are later cut and massaged with salt then placed into a mold that is weighed down. PHOTO BY MARISA PAPETTI

The curds are later cut and massaged with salt then placed into a mold that is weighed down. PHOTO BY MARISA PAPETTI

STUFFING:

3 Tbsp olive oil

½ cup minced onion

1 egg

1 Tbsp minced garlic

3 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped

3 sprigs fresh mint, chopped

¼ tsp fresh grated nutmeg

1 lb. frozen spinach, thawed, water squeezed out

1 lb. homemade feta, broken up

¼ cup ground Holmquist hazelnut flour

1 tsp Marie’s Bees raw honey

1 tsp salt

CRUST:

½ cup melted butter

Spanokopita. PHOTO BY MARISA PAPETTI

Spanokopita. PHOTO BY MARISA PAPETTI

1 package phyllo dough

 

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl mix all of the stuffing ingredients together.

Brush phyllo dough with melted butter, crinkled, into the bottom of your 8×8 pan.

Repeat with four or five sheets. Spoon mixture on top of your phyllo then top with another five or six sheets of crinkled phyllo.

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until the top is a light toasted brown. Serve hot or cold.

 

 

Smashed Feta Dip

Ingredients 

6 Tbsp of olive oil

1/4  cup toasted nuts (any kind)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1 finely grated garlic clove

2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp Marie’s Bees raw honey

1/2 tsp lemon juice

Zest of 1 lemon

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions

Mix all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake well. Pour over the feta block. Using the back of a tablespoon mash the feta down on a large serving platter. Allow an hour of marinating time for best results. Serve with fresh veggies, hearty bread or crackers. Use any leftover feta spread in salads, scrambled in eggs, or over pasta.

 

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