A little over a year ago I took my first cheese-making class from River Valley Cheese. They teach regular classes in smaller settings and larger classes through Groupon.
The first class I took covered Feta and Parmesan. While my later attempts to make Parmesan have been spotty, making Feta cheese has become a regular activity. It’s an easy cheese to make and you customize each batch with the herbs you add.
First the ingredients:
- 1 gallon pasteurized milk
- 1/8 teaspoon mesophilic direct set culture
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet
Heat the milk to 86 F. You can do this over low heat or by filling your sink full of hot water. I use the latter method. I put the milk in a metal bowl and surround it with hot water. The tap water will be about 120 F. It will take about 30 minutes to get the milk to 86. When it’s at 86, add the mesophilic culture.
You need to hold the milk around 86, so sometime soon you’ll need to remove a little cold water and add more hot water.
Let the mesophilic culture work in the milk for 30 minutes and then add the rennet. It’s real important to not add too much rennet. With 1/2 teaspoon you’ll get cheese; more than that you’ll have a solid.
After the rennet is in the milk for 30 minutes, you’ll see the curds have formed. Cut the curds into 1/2″ cubes. I use a chopsick or knife to cut length and width. Let the curds sit for 10 minutes.
Now you’re going to separate the curds and whey. I use butter muslin in a colander on top of a bowl. Scoop the curds into the butter muslin and let the whey drain through the colander into the bowl. Once all the curds are in the butter muslin, you’ll let it set for several hours to drain off the whey. Remove the curds from the butter muslin and salt to taste. At this stage, you can also add herbs of your choice. I will usually add dill, but have used a variety at times.