Author Topic: Feta Melting In Brine Problem  (Read 3264 times)

Offline judyraa

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Feta Melting In Brine Problem
« on: July 29, 2009, 08:40:36 PM »
Hi, I am new to the forum. this question may have already been answered but here goes - I make cow's milk feta. It all seems fine  until to store it, then it goes very mushy and ends up as pig food. I store it in brine. I have tried air drying it for a couple of days like I do my hard cheeses, I have tried different recipes but no luck.Can anyone tell me what I might be doing wrong?? Feta is one cheese I want to crack as I use it lots.


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Offline John (CH)

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Re: storing feta cheese
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2009, 07:08:46 PM »
Hi judyraa and welcome to this forum. If you read through the Cheese - Aegean Sea (Brine Preserved) Board this is a good discussion on feta's melting in brine and adding acids or whey to brine to change it's composition.

Personally I haven't had that problem, and your root cause may not be the brine but the cheese making. Was it soft or firm before brining and if so can you give some details on your ingredients and making method?

Again welcome.

Offline judyraa

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Re: Feta Melting In Brine Problem
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2009, 10:56:37 PM »
Thanks for replying. I use cow's milk straight from the vat at the cow shed- have tried skimming it and leaving it and whole. I mainly do 10 litres at a time, though I have made feta with less 7.5 litres I do not as a rule, pasteurize any of my cheeses.
I use Flora Danica culture (a general mesophylic one), junket which is a liquid calf rennet and have lately been trying Lipase - which gives a more authentic flavour according to one recipe. I make it in rectangular molds. It might be too that I am not pressing it enough?? I have made a press which I haven't yet used on Feta. I have 2.5 kg. 5kg and 10 kg weights - which one would you suggest and how long to press it?? though there are  recipes where the curds are just hung in a bag so pressing with weights may not necessarily needed.
You might also be able to help me with how to make it crumbly or soft. I did make one crumbly one but the ones that have worked have been softer.
I have skimmed the forums you suggested. great help. I see you make your feta in round molds and don't press.

 Thanks again. Judy
« Last Edit: July 30, 2009, 11:05:08 PM by judyraa »

Offline Tea

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Re: Feta Melting In Brine Problem
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2009, 08:30:33 PM »
Hi Judy, I have made feta numerous times, and I haven't had this happen yet.  I also use cow;s milk straight from the cow, and I don't pasturise or skim off the cream, unless I am wanting to make butter.
I don't press either, but let the cheese "press" under it's own weight for at least 12-18 hours.  I then store in a 12-15% brine, and usually this will last for around 6 months.

Have you tried another recipe other than the one you are using?  Maybe it would be worth the try and see if you find any difference.  There are a number of different feta recipes here to choose from.

To get a crumbly feta, I find if I stir the curds now during making this will happen.  If I stir as few times as possible, I find that the feta is creamy and soft.

Let us know what you find.

Offline FRANCOIS

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Re: Feta Melting In Brine Problem
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2009, 05:31:23 PM »
Add CaCl to your brine, or use whey.


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Offline hydromojo

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Re: Feta Melting In Brine Problem
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2009, 11:10:22 AM »
Hello - I'm having the same problem. I use the recipe on Fankhauser's website (http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/Feta.htm). When I am making the Feta, I do feel it is a little soft, not unduly soft though.
I make my brine with the whey but have not been able to avoid surface melt.

What I did do this time was to keep a weight on my cheese press overnight with what Fankhauser had said, but 12 hrs after soaking in brine, my cheese is still soft, but not melting. I will wait another 24hrs to see if this happens, else I can conclude that the press worked.

Offline clherestian

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Re: Feta Melting In Brine Problem
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2009, 06:55:22 PM »
The reason that Feta melts in brine is because it is not acidic enough. I hang my Feta for 24 hours. Then I cut it into large cubes and let it sit out on the counter for a couple of days. The cheese develops acidity as it sits. I use this recipe:

http://fiascofarm.com/dairy/feta.html

I tried cutting it short on the time it sits on the counter once - it did exactly what you describe - melted in the brine.

Offline Alex

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Re: Feta Melting In Brine Problem
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2009, 01:39:11 AM »
Fetta does not have to be pressed.
As I mentioned on another thread, adding 3-4 tbs of vinegar to the brine, will raise the acidity that should solve your problem.
Alex-The Cheesepenter

Offline FRANCOIS

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Re: Feta Melting In Brine Problem
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2009, 02:25:50 AM »
I agree, we don't press our feta.  It just drains overnight.

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Feta Melting In Brine Problem
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2009, 05:23:00 PM »
FYI, I updated/built a few brine info webpages:
  • Brine - Making lists your problem and the solutions.
  • Brine - For Preserving Cheese is specifically for Feta type cheeses.


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Waitawa Farm Cheesemaking

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Re: Feta Melting In Brine Problem
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2009, 03:15:54 AM »
Hi, I never press my feta, I make it in a muslin bag- here is my recipe
 2-4 litres  milk
 1/4  cup  cheese culture
                        or buttermilk
 1/2  teaspoon  liquid rennet
 1/4   cup  cool non chlorinated water
 Coarse salt or flaked sea salt. Non Iodised

Warm milk to 30 degrees Celsius and stir in cheese culture or buttermilk.
Set one hour to ripen.
Mix rennet into cool water and stir into milk.
Cover and allow to set another hour to coagulate. Cut curds into
1/2-inch cubes and allow to rest ten minutes.
Then stir gently for 15 minutes, keeping the curds at 30 degrees c.

Pour curds into a cheesecloth-lined colander, tie the bag of curds and
hang to drain for four to six hours. (save the whey if you want to store feta in it)
 Untie muslin bag and  cut feta ball into slices, then into cubes-lay the cubes of cheese into a dish that can be covered. Sprinkle all the surfaces with non iodised salt, cover and allow to set at room
temperature for 24 hours.
--After 24 hours, drain any whey off and salt all the surfaces with more
coarse salt and let it rest for two hours. Place the cheese in a covered dish/jar and refrigerate
for five to seven days, then btine it.****

.*** alternative-, take the saved whey up to boiling point, add salt to your taste, maybe 2 tblespoons, then pour over cheese, cover and store as below

 Use within two weeks or freeze for future use.

Offline Tea

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Re: Feta Melting In Brine Problem
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2009, 03:12:25 PM »
Mine sit in a basket over night before I transfer into the brine.  That probably why I have never had this problem either. 

Thanks for this information, now I know the reason why.