Author Topic: Feta Yield  (Read 1094 times)

Offline FictionalCheese

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Feta Yield
« on: November 27, 2012, 09:07:51 PM »
So I (tried) to make a feta today based on cheesemaking.com's recipe http://www.cheesemaking.com/Feta.html which has a 4.5 gallon and a 2 gallon recipe (I used the 2 gallon version). I consulted a few other recipes so there are some slight variations that shouldn't affect my problem (unless I'm missing something)

That recipe uses 2-3 basic kit molds for 4.5 gallons. And I found myself using 1 basic kit mold and 1 800g hard cheese mold. Which means I'm getting as much yield from 2 gallons as she gets from 4.5. Which has me very worried about what my feta will come out like (not crumbly at all?), and wondering if I did something wrong and what I can do in the future.

That said, I have poked around on here and found other people with similarly high yields, so it's quite possible I'm just being paranoid. I'd love to have people's opinions though, even if that's the case, since it seems I can't even wait a few days until it's ready to eat.

So, all the gritty details.

I'm using 2 gallons of grocery store milk (but it's specifically a state produced milk, so I think it's pretty good as far as such things go).
Heated my milk up to 93 f (I think. I realized afterwards that my thermometers disagree by about 4 degrees, though they used to agree. I'm not sure which one to believe, I might get a third thermometer and see which one that agrees with. Anyway, if the other thermometer is right, then I only heated it up to 89f)
Added 1/8 tsp mesophilic culture and 1/8 tsp cacl
Wait 60 minutes. During this time the temperature got higher, maybe to 96f (or 92f) because of the aforementioned themometer problem, though I took steps to bring it back down to 93f.
Added 1/8 tsp lipase (which I probably should have added earlier, but it wasn't in that particular recipe anyway) and 1/4 tablet rennet diluted in water.
Let it sit for 40 minutes, got a clean break.
Cut into 1/2 in cubes.
Let it sit for 10 minutes.
Stirred for 20 minutes, keeping it at 93 f. I'm still learning how to stir gently to keep from breaking up the cubes, and I'm experiment with just moving them around enough to get them to jiggle, a suggestion I saw somewhere around here. Which seemed to work quite well, though maybe it meant I wasn't pushing the curds around to expel enough whey?
Let it sit for ten minutes while the curds fell to the bottom of the pot.
Transfered the curds directly into the molds with no cheese cloth.
The cheese is currently draining under its own weight. It has reduced noticeably, so that they are about 2/3rds to 3/4s full after 2 1/2 hours

Places where I differed from the recipe.
1. The temperature, obviously.
2. I'm using the basic mesophilic culture since I don't have any of the alternate mesophilic culture
3. Used lipase
4. The recipe calls for draining the whey down to the level of the curds before moving the curds into the mold. I forgot to do that, so maybe they were wetter at the beginning, but I would think

A few things I've noticed that would probably reduce the yield (if that's a good thing) based on other recipes. Cooking/stirring the curd longer, upwards of 45 minutes. Another recipe suggested increasing temperature and stirring over 30 minutes (side question, does raising the temperature increase the expulsion of the whey from the curd or is that something misremembered/confused)

Anyway, other recipes I've seen for feta more or less agree with cheesemaking.com. I have Tim Smith's book which has the same schedule just at 86 degrees instead of 93. I know that I could get a reduced yield/drier cheese, what has me worried though is that I'm more or less following one particular recipe and getting twice the yield and that has me worried.


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Offline bbracken677

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Re: Feta Yield
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2012, 06:41:18 AM »
You have probably already found out that your yield is reducing as the whey drains. When I make feta, I normally drain in a cloth rather than a mold.
For 2 gallons your yield should wind up being +- 2 lbs. after whey has drained. You can pretty much count on anything over 2 lbs to be excess whey.
More stirring/draining whey off the curds before molding would increase they whey expulsion.

Offline rosawoodsii

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Re: Feta Yield
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2012, 07:20:13 AM »
I've never used a mold to drain feta.  I just suspend it in cheesecloth, turn it after 4 hours to make it more even all around, and then let it drain for 24 hours.  I only make it during cool weather so it can hang longer before salting.  I use Fiasco Farm's recipe which works very well for me.
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Offline Tobiasrer

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Re: Feta Yield
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2012, 10:22:26 AM »
Why are you opting to go with out a mold?
I like knowing having the specific shape and all, not that I cant with the cloth but...
I am hoping to do a feta this weekend, as a gift for xmas to some one.

Offline mightyMouse.tar.gz

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Re: Feta Yield
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2012, 10:22:46 AM »
Ok, a confession: I have never made feta, so please regard my comments as being very general.

So I (tried) to make a feta today based on cheesemaking.com's recipe http://www.cheesemaking.com/Feta.html which has a 4.5 gallon and a 2 gallon recipe (I used the 2 gallon version). I consulted a few other recipes so there are some slight variations that shouldn't affect my problem (unless I'm missing something)

That recipe uses 2-3 basic kit molds for 4.5 gallons. And I found myself using 1 basic kit mold and 1 800g hard cheese mold. Which means I'm getting as much yield from 2 gallons as she gets from 4.5. Which has me very worried about what my feta will come out like (not crumbly at all?), and wondering if I did something wrong and what I can do in the future.

That said, I have poked around on here and found other people with similarly high yields, so it's quite possible I'm just being paranoid. I'd love to have people's opinions though, even if that's the case, since it seems I can't even wait a few days until it's ready to eat.

Thinking about drained cheeses in general, I have only made a few and have generally noticed a larger pre-drain yield. As bbracken observed- draining will reduce this. 2 lbs is usually a good target for 2 gallon milk makes- for a drained cheese I would tend to expect a bit more as more moisture is retained. I have some thoughts regarding draining which I will note below.

So, all the gritty details.

I'm using 2 gallons of grocery store milk (but it's specifically a state produced milk, so I think it's pretty good as far as such things go).
Heated my milk up to 93 f (I think. I realized afterwards that my thermometers disagree by about 4 degrees, though they used to agree. I'm not sure which one to believe, I might get a third thermometer and see which one that agrees with. Anyway, if the other thermometer is right, then I only heated it up to 89f)
Added 1/8 tsp mesophilic culture and 1/8 tsp cacl
Wait 60 minutes. During this time the temperature got higher, maybe to 96f (or 92f) because of the aforementioned themometer problem, though I took steps to bring it back down to 93f.

If the temperature jumps too quickly- that could contribute to whey expulsion problems. When temps rise too quickly, the outer part of the curd can firm up and slow down whey expulsion from the inner part. The result is more moisture retained and sometimes a rubbery texture.

Added 1/8 tsp lipase (which I probably should have added earlier, but it wasn't in that particular recipe anyway) and 1/4 tablet rennet diluted in water.
Let it sit for 40 minutes, got a clean break.

Cut into 1/2 in cubes.
Let it sit for 10 minutes.
Stirred for 20 minutes, keeping it at 93 f. I'm still learning how to stir gently to keep from breaking up the cubes, and I'm experiment with just moving them around enough to get them to jiggle, a suggestion I saw somewhere around here. Which seemed to work quite well, though maybe it meant I wasn't pushing the curds around to expel enough whey?
Let it sit for ten minutes while the curds fell to the bottom of the pot.
Transfered the curds directly into the molds with no cheese cloth.
The cheese is currently draining under its own weight. It has reduced noticeably, so that they are about 2/3rds to 3/4s full after 2 1/2 hours

Once again, I am not familiar with the feta cheesemaking process in particular, but if you are concerned about whey expulsion in the future- you could always try cutting your curds a little smaller- thus increasing the total surface area of the curds that the whey is expelled from. Of course when you start tweeking recipes around, you run the risk of deviating from the style you are shooting for. Then again, this is an art form after all.
// bad cheese exception handling
try { Cheese myCheese = new Gouda(); } catch (NastyCheeseException e) { throw new CultureContaminationException(); }


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Offline rosawoodsii

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Re: Feta Yield
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2012, 12:24:34 PM »
Why are you opting to go with out a mold?
I like knowing having the specific shape and all, not that I cant with the cloth but...
I am hoping to do a feta this weekend, as a gift for xmas to some one.

There is no specific shape for feta.  It's neither pressed nor aged n a block.  It's cut up into pieces, salted, and stored in brine or olive oil, so the mold seem extraneous to me.  I give gifts of feta with the chunks in a clear container, a festive one if I can find one at my local Goodwill, otherwise a wide-mouthed Mason jar.
Joy

Offline Tobiasrer

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Re: Feta Yield
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2012, 12:28:54 PM »
Thats a good Idea! I sometimes get caught up in the doing and forget the finishing details.

The Dollar store near work has all kinds of festive food containers out now so...

I just thought a square would cut to cubes to put in the brine, uniform pieces would age better no?

Offline rosawoodsii

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Re: Feta Yield
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2012, 05:52:50 PM »
I just thought a square would cut to cubes to put in the brine, uniform pieces would age better no?

I haven't found that to be so.  I have all kinds of shapes and sizes and they all seem to age at the same rate.  I've kept some for up to a year, and all that happens is that it tastes better. :)
Joy

Offline FictionalCheese

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Re: Feta Yield
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2012, 08:36:06 AM »
Thanks for the replies. In the end I think my feta will be good, maybe a bit moister than I'd hoped, but still more yield than I'd expected. I'm only a bit annoyed about the yield because I'd planned to brine store it in a half gallon jar (the original recipes with more than twice the milk uses a gallon jar) and I have a couple of pieces of feta that had to take up residence in a tupperware instead.