Author Topic: Feta brine salt levels...  (Read 5436 times)

Offline The_blue

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Feta brine salt levels...
« on: April 16, 2010, 12:48:45 AM »
Morning all - depending where you are!

I've started my 1st batch of feta.


My question is about salt levels. I've seen recipes using 15% brine mix and worked out using the chart on here that 800ml (.8 liters) water needs 11g salt. I've put 400g of cheese in that.

The whey is being sucked out the curd and it's firmed up no end over night but...


Is that going to be enough available salt? With my poor science knowledge i assume the brine and cheese will eventually equalise out on the salt. 400g cheese and 800ml water is a 1:2 ratio so 1:2 of 11g salt is 3.6g for cheese and 7g for the brine..

Am i right? 3.6g of 400g is about 1% :( Way under what i need.

I've got a 2nd 400g cheese to 800ml brine going on at 22g salt or 30%.


Can anyone shed a little light on the process for me?


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Offline Alex

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Re: Feta brine salt levels...
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2010, 07:42:57 AM »
I'll try to help with a simple example:
When you prepare tea, 1 cup water + 2 ts of sugar or 6 cups water + 12 ts of sugar, the sugar percentage will stay the same. If you'll dip a cookie into the tea (regardless of the total quantity), the sweet liquid absorbed by the cookie will be affected only by the time you keep the cookie dipped.
The same rule applies for the cheese, the final saltiness (according to the brine strength) will be affected by the time you'll keep the cheese in the brine.
I store my Feta in a 10-15% salt brine.
Alex-The Cheesepenter

Offline The_blue

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Re: Feta brine salt levels...
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2010, 01:10:43 AM »
I'll try to help with a simple example:
When you prepare tea, 1 cup water + 2 ts of sugar or 6 cups water + 12 ts of sugar, the sugar percentage will stay the same. If you'll dip a cookie into the tea (regardless of the total quantity), the sweet liquid absorbed by the cookie will be affected only by the time you keep the cookie dipped.
The same rule applies for the cheese, the final saltiness (according to the brine strength) will be affected by the time you'll keep the cheese in the brine.
I store my Feta in a 10-15% salt brine.


I see where your going but to me it doen't add up (to me).

I know that 15% is still 15% even if i'm making a swimming pool full.

The feta isn't absorbing the brine/sweet tea, just the salt/sugar. It's extracting the salt from the solution. If it was sucking up the liquid like a cookie then fine but if anything ther brine is sucking the whey from the cheese, diluting the brine even more.

 If for example i want my 400g of feta drained and ready to eat with a salt level of 4% it would need 16g salt. My 15% brine only started with 11g!


Offline Alex

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Re: Feta brine salt levels...
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2010, 02:13:15 AM »
As I am not a Feta ;) just a little fat :), I can say that dependent to the cheese texture is the absorbance ability. Sory, I can not be more helpfull. It's known that for hard and semi-hard cheeses, made from unsalted curd, to get an about 2% salted cheese, you have to put it in a saturated salt brine for 3-4 hours per 1 lb of pressed cheese. A Feta should be more salty.
Alex-The Cheesepenter

Offline Tea

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Re: Feta brine salt levels...
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2010, 10:25:56 PM »
I agree with Alex in regard to brine %'s.  I always keep mine in a 12% solution.

I am a little concerned though with your statement that the cheese was "sucking up" the brine.  I have never had that experience with mine.


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Offline Minamyna

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Re: Feta brine salt levels...
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2010, 02:44:48 PM »
I mean regardless you are going to reach an osmatic balance. When the concentration of the salt particles (I think it forms ions) in the cheese reaches a certain level, it will stop trying to permeate the cheese membrane. I guess you would have to know how much energy it takes for a salt ion to pass through the cheese membrane versus the osmatic difference (the energy difference) created by the water being more salty then the cheese.

Just because the water to cheese ratio is 2:1 the chemistry of where the salt will gravitate is more complex and I don't think you can assume the that brine and cheese will eventually "equal out" in terms of the cheese and the water will have the an equal percentage of salt. They will reach equilibrium over time which is different then them having the same percentage of salt. You have to use chemistry surrounding osmosis to figure it out. Chemistry was not my major, so I don't know the formulas, but I would assume if you did some research on the chemistry of reverse osmosis (as in R.O. water systems) they might have a good explanation of some formulas.


Offline The_blue

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Re: Feta brine salt levels...
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2010, 11:15:45 AM »
I agree with Alex in regard to brine %'s.  I always keep mine in a 12% solution.

I am a little concerned though with your statement that the cheese was "sucking up" the brine.  I have never had that experience with mine.

lol you've read me wrong! I said the brine was sucking out the whey. ;)



Anyway the cheese tasted fantastic! I've just started another batch with more Lipase.Does .25g per litre sound right?

Offline Mr. Kim

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Re: Feta brine salt levels...
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2010, 07:58:10 AM »
When I do my feta's, I use whey brine, rather than water brine.  Just add the salt to the feta's whey.  Works great!
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Offline Alex

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Re: Feta brine salt levels...
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2010, 08:10:16 AM »
Agree, that's what I'm doing too.
Alex-The Cheesepenter

Offline Mr. Kim

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Re: Feta brine salt levels...
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2010, 02:01:38 PM »
I have experienced my 1st episode of calcium leeching out of my feta in the brine.  I checked it the other day and the feta was soft and the whey brine was full of goo.  I rinsed it off, threw out the whey brine.  Let the feta re-dry for 24 hours and put it back into a water brine with some CaCl2.  That was a couple of days ago.  I have not looked at it since, but will tonight.  Anyone else ever had this happen to them with whey brine?  Should I add CaCl2 to any brine to retard the calcium leeching?
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Offline Alice in TX/MO

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Re: Feta brine salt levels...
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2010, 06:26:57 PM »
Yes, I've had that happen.   :P
I have given up on brining my feta.  It would get too salty.

I lightly salt it, set it to drain in a box in the fridge, then eat it.
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Offline Alex

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Re: Feta brine salt levels...
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2010, 10:13:55 AM »
This is my whey brine of feta after 6 weeks.
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Offline Mr. Kim

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Re: Feta brine salt levels...
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2010, 10:30:24 AM »
Alex, what do you suppose caused my when brine to make the feta soft?  Too much salt?  Too Little?
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Offline Alex

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Re: Feta brine salt levels...
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2010, 01:11:32 PM »
Salt and casein causes the soft and slimy layer. To overcome this, CaCl has to be added.

Try this one:

1 l water or whey
200 gr salt
1 flat ts CaCl
3-4 Tb vinegar (optional)

I sprinkle kosher salt over the Feta before putting it into the brine, so I decrease the salt int the brine accordingly (just by estimation).
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Offline woodsman

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Re: Feta brine salt levels...
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2010, 01:26:35 PM »
i never saw it specified anywhere but does it make any difference whether the whey used for brining is the primary whey drained off from the curds or the one that has been cooked and filtered to get ricotta out of it?