Author Topic: Feta - John's Batch #7  (Read 1608 times)

Offline John (CH)

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Feta - John's Batch #7
« on: September 04, 2011, 06:57:24 PM »
I can't believe it's almost 2 years since last made Feta, and I'd like to eat more Greek Salads, so away we go . . . using the Wiki: Feta Cheese Making Recipe.

MAKING
  • Sep 4, 2011, 3:00PM:
    • Poured 2 US gallon/7.6 litres of cheap store bought pasteurized homogenized whole cow's milk from kitchen fridge into stockpot on smallest gas burner ring on stove, measured at 45F/7C.
    • As milk pasteurized, to standardize, trickled and stirred in 1/2 teaspoon diluted CaCl2.
    • Measured ~0.5 gram Danisco's Choozit Brand Mesophilic Starter Culture MM100 onto mini digital scale, tapped off onto top of milk and stirred in.
    • Measured ~1.0 gram Danisco's Brand Mild Calf Lipase onto mini digital scale, tapped off onto top of milk, stirred in (like lots as like extra piquant flavour).
    • Turned gas on low and warmed and occasionally stirred milk to minimize hot spots.
  • Sep 4, 2011, 3:45PM: Milk at 92 F/33 C, turned gas off, placed lid on milk and set aside for 1 hour for culture to ripen milk.
  • Sep 4, 2011, 4:45PM: Measured ~0.45 gram CHR Hansen Brand powdered rennet onto mini digital scale, diluted in 3/4 cup cool water, trickled into milk while stirring in thoroughly for 1 minute. Set aside for curd to set.
  • Sep 4, 2011, 5:30PM: Checked for clean break, good at 45 min, cut curds into 1 cm/0.5 inch cubes and left to rest 10 minutes.
  • Sep 4, 2011, 5:40PM: Started stirring cut curds occasionally to ensure don't knit, turned gas on once to add a little heat. Continued to occasionally stir for 45 minutes, then let rest for 5 minutes to allow curds to settle.
  • Sep 4, 2011, 6:30PM: Poured off whey into brine storage container, then scooped curds out of vat with Ricotta baskets and placed on draining board beside kitchin sink, thereby draining whey down sink.
  • Sep 4, 2011, 7:15PM: Turned cheeses in baskets.
  • Sep 4, 2011, 8:20PM: Turned cheeses in baskets.
  • Sep 5, 2011, 3:30AM: Turned cheeses in baskets (woke in night for #1, not to tun cheeses).
  • Sep 5, 2011, 2:00PM: Placed Feta's in fresh 2.5 liters of 6% NaCl table salt brine and placed in fridge to age.

NOTES
  • Ricotta baskets whey easy to scoop curds up in than ladling into molds and and easier to drain in than turning with mats using Camembert hoops.
  • Next time just use two large ricotta baskets and load curds higher.
  • Measured enough salt to make 6% whey based brine based on table here, measured with Salometer at 8%, probably the whey has a higher SG than 1, next time measure whey SG first to see difference when adding salt.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2011, 02:34:34 PM by John (CH) »


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Offline Tea

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Re: Feta - John's Batch #7
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2011, 01:50:11 PM »
Well done John.  Just a questions though, I noticed that you used only a 6% brine solution.  Why?  Usually feta is 12-15% I thought, although I will admit that I still think that is a little too salty, and was going to try a 10% on my next batch.  Just wondering.

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Feta - John's Batch #7
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2011, 02:24:48 PM »
Hi Tea

I think brine % salt can be anything but most of have been using higher >=16% as this is the point at which most pathogens cannot survive and thus we get the longest shelf life from our brine preserved cheese. The consequence is we are all finding it too salty to eat on salads etc (unless in lasagna etc).

I measured some commercial brine sold with Feta here at only 8.5% salt. Subsequent to that member george13 made a batch using 8% brine and still found it too salty to taste.

Thus I thought I'd try lower, even if it means that lower shelf life. I ripen/store mine in cold house hold fridge so I believe I should get enough shelf life before it is all used up.

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Feta - John's Batch #7
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2011, 07:32:25 AM »
Used one of the small Fetas 2-3 weeks ago and a larger wheel a couple days ago.

Taste is good, not too piquant, and not very salty, texture is soft and soggy. Next time I'd add a little more lipase and would increase brine salt concentration to 8%.

Q1: Appreciate ideas on how to make next batch's texture firmer? I was thinking light pressing, ie stack baskets on top of each other while gravity draining?

Q2: Also appreciate feedback on why this vs my previous makes are are gooy/soggy (not really slimey) on outside, the only thing I've changed is low % salt in my whey based brine?

Offline ellenspn

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Re: Feta - John's Batch #7
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2011, 02:33:30 PM »
You used whey right?

Do you know what your pH of your brine is?
Ellen Bloomfield
Spinning, weaving, geocaching, dog training and now cheesemaking in the Swamps of NE Illinois.


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Offline NW Fromager

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Re: Feta - John's Batch #7
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2011, 05:54:09 PM »
Funny, I made a batch of feta yesterday, and had that same experience (minus the aging of course).  Still, I expected it to get firmer after soaking in brine overnight, but it didn't.  The taste is good, but it's very soft and crumbles even with light handling.  I even pressed it for a while, thinking that might get it to hold together better.

I recall reading about adding CaCl2 to help storebought pasteurised milk.  Might that help?
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Offline Bob

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Re: Feta - John's Batch #7
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2011, 09:09:28 PM »
Hi John,

I don't have a lot of experience with Fetta, and I know from your posts that you are an experienced cheesemaker, so please don't be offended by my suggestions  :):

Cheap store bought milk: From reading the posts here, it seems that there is a lot of variability in the store bought milk you guys use in the US. Have you used this brand before and was it the freshest milk you could find?

Homogenised milk often has a much softer curd due to the mechanical action of the homogeniser on the milk proteins. Also, store bought milk is often pumped around the factory a number of times before it gets to the bottle, damaging the milk. Finding the best quality, freshest, non homogenised milk is key to getting good curds.

I presume you have been using this rennet for other cheeses and had no problems?

Your stirring regimen looks good, should have produced nice firm curds, without too much moisture

You stated that you cut the curds to 1cm cubes, but your photo looks like the curds have broken up a lot during hooping, indicating soft curds.

Brine salt content. I usually use 12% brine, which really firms up my curd and provides a good shelf life.

In summary, I would suggest that your curd has been quite soft, due to the milk you have used, and then the brine has been too low in salt to set the curd. The photo of the loose curd sitting in the whey/brine shows that the curd is just breaking up. The fact that the tase is good indicates to me that everything else is fine. 

Hope these thought might prompt some further ideas/clues.  :)

Turning liquid milk into solid gold!

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Feta - John's Batch #7
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2011, 10:04:21 AM »
Thanks all for ideas.

@ellenspn, yep used 100% whey for brine, sorry don't know what pH is, my gauge is kaput.

@NW Fromager, I added CaCl2. Good to hear that someone else has lightly pressed their Feta's. The reason I was thinking of pressing is from some Feta's I've seen in stores having imprints on top of companies name from followers, see two cropped pictures below. Also with the small Feta wheels I'm making there is minimal weight from the cheese itself to self-press, verses large block commercial sized Feta makes where the weight of the cheese is much higher.

@Bob, experience is good only if I learn from it ;). I used same brand cheap store bought P&H cow milk on previous Feta batches and didn't have this gooy/soggy problem and I picked the freshest jugs. Same rennet. I agree could be that my curds weren't firm enough and thus not enough syneresis/whey expulsion resulting in softer cheese. And low salt brine could be why cheeses went gooy/soggy in brine.

Next batch will up my rennet & stirring to expel more whey, then lightly press while draining, and brine in 8% whey. Thanks all!

Offline DustinBlodgett

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Re: Feta - John's Batch #7
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2011, 03:13:27 PM »
I used same brand cheap store bought P&H cow milk on previous Feta batches and didn't have this gooy/soggy problem and I picked the freshest jugs.
[/quote/]

lol, freshest jugs! sorry couldn't resist. :-)

I look forward to seeing how your next batch goes, John. I may give this recipe a go next.




Offline margaretsmall

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Re: Feta - John's Batch #7
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2011, 03:54:30 PM »
Hi John,
I've made several batches of feta using bog standard supermarket milk and adding CaCl. I had this kind of problem at first, but found if I left it in the hoops until it was well drained (feels clammy not wet, and sometimes takes days in our cool climate) before brining in a much heavier brine that you have used all was well - except that the feta is then quite salty. So it seems a trade-off - to make a keeper you have to soak it in milk for a while before you eat it. I put most of mine in oil after a day or two of brining, with herbs, chilli, whatever. They keep forever that way.
Margaret


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Offline kevindv10

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Re: Feta - John's Batch #7
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2012, 09:15:45 AM »
Hi John,

I know this is an old thread, but here goes...

I just made another batch of Feta and ended up with a similar product to yours. The flavor is good but the exterior of the cheese is gooey and the interior is too wet/dense for my liking. I left my cheese in the molds to drain for a little over 24 hours. This weekend I'm going to hit it again, but this time I'm going to drain it a little longer (maybe two days?) at room temp, and then I was thinking of dry salting it at room temp for another couple of days.

The last time I dry salted feta at room temp I had a much better texture although it was made with goat milk (with the mistake of adding lipase. It tasted like I was eating a farm...). Homo and whole goat milk have similar fat content so I'm hoping to get a better result. I do know that during the dry salt the cheese continued to release whey. Of course, it was very salty to eat.

Did you revisit your feta attempts? Any other results to share?