I remember with nostalgia the life in the village, the fresh air, the carefree and the joy in the simple and everyday. Most of all I miss the dairy products the feta cheese and tomato breakfast at the gargling springs. A piece of feta cheese, sourdough homemade bread and tomatoes from our garden were enough to make me happy.
When I have the opportunity, I knead bread as before and prepare my bag for the nearest gargling spring. I do not take much with me. A spoonful of my own feta cheese, my bread , 2-3 tomatoes and a few Kalamon olives is exactly what I crave. I go up to Parnitha , I set up my hammock among the pines in the forest of Mola next to the spring and I live unique moments of relaxation and bliss .
Yes, I tell you the truth! I make my own feta cheese in the kitchen of my house just like they used to do in the old days, that is, in the sheepfolds, directly after milking the animals. The recipe is from the region of Messinia and generally of the N. Peloponnese where they make cheese from goat’s and sheep’s milk. Specifically, “SFELA” is the traditional PDO. feta cheese of Messinia and Laconia. Its name comes from the way the cheese mass is cut into strips (Sfela = strip).
Easily, in the simple traditional way and all its secrets.
You will need sheep’s milk or goat or a mixture of these two, cheese rennet, a wooden spoon, cheese bag – “cheesecloth”, mold and fork. Because it’s a bit difficult to have a mold and a fork, anyway I do not have one, I will tell you what you can use alternatively.
In the instructions that follow I will be as detailed as possible but if you have no experience and have not happened to watch someone coagulate feta cheese I think it would be very useful to see the relevant video at the end of the text. It includes memories, practices, words, tools and much more, with reference to the coagulation of the cheese, from milking to its consumption.
If you live in a city and find it difficult to find fresh sheep’s milk from a sheepfold, I have the solution for you! You can get it from dairy stations or from small breweries that make yogurt from sheep’s milk.
There you will find in addition to fresh milk, feta and other cheeses produced by them, strained yogurt and other goodies. Do not forget to try the wonderful bagel cheese from goat’s milk . Cheese with unique taste, special character and taste that has been distinguished with a taste award. Goat feta cheese lovers will love it!
Ingredients for 2 to 3 large pellets (parallel strips about 700 gr. Per pc.)
- 5 liters of fresh milk (sheep or goat or sheep or goat)
- 0.3 gr. rennet for cheese
- salt crushed
- little water
Milk the milk, drain it with a bag (folded in two) to remove any foreign bodies (animal hair, etc.) and pasteurize it.
Put the milk in a saucepan with a thick bottom and heat it in a medium heat until its temperature rises to 65 degrees Celsius . Stir here and there with a wooden spoon with a flat finish, scraping the bottom of the pot so that the milk does not stick. If we do not have a thermometer we control the temperature with our hand. When we dip our index finger in the milk and can not stand the temperature it is ready. Also, when the milk reaches this temperature you will see that it starts to steam (be careful not to boil) and a little foam forms on its surface.
If we pasteurize the milk, i.e. we have heated it to 65 degrees Celsius, we let it cool and its temperature drops to 35 degrees Celsius . Empirically we understand that milk is ready for coagulation when we dip our finger and feel it warm (lukewarm), neither hot nor cold .
In a glass with a little water (about 5 tbsp) pour 0.3 g. rennet for cheese (on the tip of a knife) and half a cup. salt. Mix well to melt the salt and rennet and add them to the milk, stirring vigorously and quickly to make a good homogenization.
Cover with the bag and let the mixture thicken. If the ambient temperature is around 27 to 32 degrees Celsius, the milk will thicken in about 1 hour. In winter, in the cold months, it may take up to 2 hours.
Check the milk if it has thickened by pressing the surface with your finger. If we see that the whey “pops” and appears on the surface then it is ready for the next step. With the wooden utensil – ladle carve the curd to the bottom of the pot in large squares. Let it rest for 10΄ , to “sit” the curd or “stringgliata” as it was called in the villages of Messinia. Then mix it to break into smaller pieces and let it cool for another 5΄ .
Then we dip our hands in the pot and collect the curd making it into a ball pushing it against the walls. Dip the feta cheese bag in the pot with its wide side stretched and pass it under the curd to enclose it and take it out of the whey. Tie the ends of the cheese bags, in pairs, and lift the curd out of the whey.
Squeeze by pressing with your hands to leave as much whey as possible and hang the bag to drain the feta cheese completely from the whey. Alternatively, place the cheese as it is with the bag in an improvised mold with holes (see exactly the process in the video) and leave it for 2 hours, until the cheese drains and tightens.
Storage – Preparation for maturation
Cut the feta cheese into slices, parallel strips – spheres and pass with salt on all sides. Place in a deep pan and leave it in the fridge for 24 hours to absorb the salt. The whey left in the pot or we will salt it and store it in the fridge to use it later to preserve the cheese or we will make mizithra with it and from the whey that will be left from the mizithra we will use it for preservation – storage – maturation of the cheese.
Then transfer the cheese to the pan where we will store it to mature. Pour in the whey that the cheese took out of the pan as it was cooking with the salt and add whey from what was left after the cheese coagulated or from the mizithra, until the cheese is well covered and covered with it. Place a plate as a weight to keep the cheese constantly below the surface of the whey and store it in the refrigerator. Let it mature for 3 months. Then and only then can we consume it raw safely.
Good luck in your feta cheese factory !!!
Read more about dairy products and dairy machinery:
- FETA INTEGRATED PRODUCTION LINES
- TROLLEY BENCHES FOR CURD DRAINING
- TURNING MACHINE FOR FETA CHEESE MOULDS
- STACKERS FOR MOULDS
- DESTACKER FOR MOULDS
- FETA CHEESE MOULDS
- CURD CUTTER