This Wiki Article discusses brines used for ripening “Aegean Sea” type cheeses such as φέτα/Feta/Fetta, Brinza, Halloumi, Domiati, Nabulsi, Gyptian, Gibna Bayda, Arabian Cheese, Akawi where depending upon recipe, they can be kept for up to 12 months. Brines for these cheeses are normally disposed after the cheese is consumed. There are separate Wiki Articles for making an maintaining brines.
Brines used to store these cheeses are normally 16% salt, the minimum for minimizing unwanted bacteria growth.
Higher % salt can be used, but is not required and will make the cheese taste very salty.
Lower % salt will result in a more immediately edible cheese but with shorter shelf life due to unwanted bacteria growth.
Base fluid options for making brine for ripening cheese are water, a mixture of water and whey, or all whey from making cheese.
Using whey gives the brine a higher calcium component and a lower pH, reducing the need for the addition of CaCl2 and vinegar in newly made brine. The use of whey also makes the brine ripened cheese more flavourful.
Using Brine Ripened Cheese
Cheese ripened in 16% brine and used in cooking are fine, but if eaten directly are to most people, very salty to the taste. Methods to reduce the salty taste are:
- Remove cheese from brine and soak in fresh water or milk for up to 1 hour before consuming.
- Instead of all NaCl salt, use up to 50% KCl (Potassium Chloride) salt.