Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Feta! Feta! Every where Feta!

Sunday was Feta day at my house. Boy, did I make some Feta. Chef Paula asked me to make some Feta for the soft opening of the school Bistro. The feta will be put into basil infused olive oil and served to the guests as one of the “Chef’s Treat”.

I do have a confession to make. I got 5 gallons of skimmed milk on Thursday and planned to make the Feta on Friday. I mixed one can of powdered goat milk with 2 ½ gallons of the milk in one of my new stainless steel stock pot. New as in: I just got it and never used it before. (I’ll probably post a blog about them another time). I put the pot on my induction burning and started it up to bring the temperature of the milk up to 86F.  About half way through the heating process I got distracted for about two minutes and quit stirring the pot. Can we say: BIG MISTAKE? When I got back to it there was a distinct burnt smell in the air and little brown and black bits were floating around the top of the milk. At this point I KNEW that there was no chance of making an edible cheese from this pot. However, I went ahead and finished the process of making the Feta to test the process I would use on the real batch. Afterward, I fed the hungry sewer gods some not so good cheese. (OK, terrible cheese).

I worked Saturday so I started my next attempt after church on Sunday. This time I used the next size larger pot as the bottom of a double boiler and everything went smoothly. I also started a smaller batch from one gallon of fresh goat’s milk. I want to have a direct comparison between “real” Feta and one made with powdered goat milk mixed with skimmed cow milk.

The whole process used 5 stock pots, four pieces of cheese cloth, three wooden spoons, two thermometers, one slotted spoon and a partridge…(oops, nearly got carried away). Eight and a half hours after I started the Feta went into plastic containers and into the refrigerator to age for a few days.

The 2 ¾ gal batch weighed out at a whooping 4lbs 12oz. I know it will lose some whey weight as it ages a few days but I’m impressed. The one gal of fresh goat milk had a yield of 1lb 11oz. which will also shrink some also.

On Thursday I’ll cut the Feta into ½’ cubes and put them in the basil infused olive oil. A previous test has indicated that it will last at least 60 days in the refrigerator. It will get a sharper flavor as it ages but the olive oil cuts that and the saltiness when eaten.

Until Next Time,
Don’t scorch the milk.

The Cheesy Geek

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