Oct 13, 2010

On Making Feta

Yesterday was Feta Cheese Day at the Dream Kitchen. Roxane returned, bringing her mesophilic starter and cheese curd knife (really just a long offset spatula), and a special surprise. Tucked inside a canvas tote, swathed in a dishcloth, resting pretty in a salad spinner basket, was our little Blanche. "Blanche" is what we named last week's Gouda. She is now a lovely buttery yellow wheel of actual cheese. She needs to be waxed in a few weeks and then aged a couple of months. Blanche hibernates in Roxane's coldest kitchen cupboard. No doubt she overhears a lot of conversations,and maybe she'll be talking one day herself. Watch what you say, Roxane and family.

The feta was simpler to make than the Gouda, no changes in temperature, just about 86 degrees the whole time, with less messing about with the curds and whey. As with all cheesemaking, we had to maintain the right temperature and wait around in a semi-vigilant state. That's why it's good to make cheese with a friend so you have plenty of time to critique the child-rearing strategies of your acquaintances, or deconstruct the public school system's latest pedagogy du jour. We were more relaxed, this being the second cheese and all, and actually sat down for a few minutes.

After a couple hours of warming, mixing, cutting curds, and waiting some more, we hung the curds in cheesecloth over the sink. Roxane went home, and five hours later I took out the cheese, which was recognizably feta--firm and white with those tiny holes in it. I cut it into one-inch cubes and liberally Kosher-salted it. It will be ready after four to five days of refrigeration. By the way, it's against Dream Kitchen policy to name feta.

P.S. You will note that the human=cheese metaphor kind of stopped when it came to waxing and aging. Thought you'd appreciate that.


Domestic Goddess said...

But how does it smell, making this cheese?

My texture issues prohibit me from making anything that smells or has a cottage cheese consistency.

Lauren D. McKinney said...

Domestic Goddess,

Don't make cheese.

liz said...

I am fascinated!!

Dan McKinney said...

Cool! We need to do a cheese-making contest. A cheese-off!