Thursday, March 14, 2013

Daring Cooks, March 2013

The Daring Kitchen is a wonderful online community. It hosts monthly challenges to both cook and bake things you might not have made before.  Sometimes they are very exotic, sometimes quite mundane, but the challenges are always fun, and take you out of your routines and habits.  I haven't been participating in a long while (what with the Philosophy job market, getting my current job, and moving + settling back in NZ after 6+ years in Australia).  But I'm beginning again.

This month, Sawsan from chef in disguise was the hostess. Sawsan challenged us to make our own homemade cheeses. She gave us a variety of choices to make, all of them easily accomplished and delicious.

I decided to make Feta, because... well, Feta is delicious, and it was one of the more complicated of the offered recipes.

Original Recipe from here, modified to use cows milk, liquid rennet rather than tablets.

2 litres cows milk (I just used cheap supermarket milk, worked fine. YMMV)
1 Tbsp plain live culture yogurt mixed with 1 Tbsp milk from above.
6 drops liquid rennet
1/2 tsp salt (non-iodised, Marlborough Sea salt, finely ground)

For the brining solution
5 1/2 Tbsp salt for every 590ml fluid whey

1.Place the milk in a pot with a lid, warm it up to 30°C . Stir the milk occasionally to prevent the bottom from burning.
2.Take the milk off the heat, add yogurt-milk mixture, stir well, cover with the lid.

3.Allow it to sit for 1 hour at room temperature.
4.Move your pot to an area where it will remain undisturbed.
5.Add dissolved rennet, stir quickly to ensure even distribution of the rennet then cover the pot, and leave overnight.
6.The next morning, check the cheese. It should be set into one large block of curd with a little whey separated on the side.
7. Check for a 'clean break' by sticking your finger into the cheese. If it comes out relatively clean of stuff, you are good. If it looks like yoghurt, wait longer. (2 hours, then try. If still bad, 2 more. If still bad, you messed up, try again with a new batch)
8. Cut your curds up with a knife. Cross hatched into 1.5-2cm chunks.

9. Wait 15 mins, stirring occasionally, so the curds set and some whey is released.  The curds will shrink slightly in size.
10.  Strain the cheese.  Line a colander with a cheesecloth or a clean fabric with fine weave. Gently pour the curds and whey in and allow it to strain. Do not discard the whey.
11. Once most of the whey has been strained collect the 4 corners of your cheesecloth and tie them to form a knot that allows you to suspend the cheesecloth then allow it to strain for 2-4 hours. If you live in a very warm place you may want to allow it to strain in the fridge.
12.The next day remove the cheese from the cloth, break up the curds add 1/2 teaspoon salt.

13.Line a mould with holes in the bottom with cheese cloth, place the cheese in, fold over the cheesecloth place a heavy weight on top of the mold and leave overnight, again if you live in a really warm place do this in the fridge

14.Make the brine solution by adding 5½ tablespoons (82.5 ml) (95 gm) (3-1/3 oz.) of salt for every 20 fl oz. (590 ml) fluid whey and mix it, dissolving as much of the salt as you can.
15. Cut cheese into chunks, add to brine solution. Store in fridge. Eat. (Recipe said brine for 5 days... I wouldn't bother waiting that long before starting to eat.  If it is too salty, you can rinse the cheese to remove some brine, before serving.)

1 comment:

  1. Your feta looks delicious and you were very lucky to be able to get it to work with regular supermarket milk. Welcome back to the challenges.