Feta in brine


David B. Fankhauser, PhD 
Professor of Biology and Chemistry 
University of Cincinnati Clermont College 
Batavia OH 45103 
Feta on a plate
Feta is preserved
in brine

Created 16 Oct 98
This page has been accessed Counter times since 22 August 2002. 
Rinse off the brine
before serving

Feta is traditionally made in Greece from ewe's milk, but I have had success using my goat's milk. I see no reason why cow's milk would not work as well. It is a fresh, snow white cheese which is pickled in brine. It is fabulous with kalamata olives and pita bread, as well as in a Greek salad.

By the way, the most popular Turkish cheese called Beyaz Peynir uses essentially the same recipe. We loved it with our breakfasts when we have visited wonderful Turkey. (It may be better not to tell the Turks that it is just like feta, and vice versa... ;-)
(Thanks to "Lynn" from the Lactobacillus Board for helpful suggestions.)


1 gallon fresh goat's milk (You can use store-bought cow's milk as well.)
1 Tbl fresh yogurt (I have had most success with Dannon Plain.)
tablet rennet, dissolve in 1/4 cup water (I have always used Junket Rennet tablets.)
1+ gallon pot with lid (stainless steel with heavy bottom is best, enamel works, but you must stir it!)
1 long bladed knife
2 clean sterile handkerchiefs
cheese mold: Cut the ends out of a smooth-sided 4 x 5 inch tin can, save one of the cut ends.
table salt
1. Warm milk to 30C (86F) . Stir regularly so that it does not burn on the bottom. (Less stirring is required if the pot has a thick heat dissipating  bottom.)  Remove from heat. 
2. Mix 1 Tbl yogurt with equal part milk to blend, then stir the blended yogurt and milk into the warmed milk to thoroughly mix.  Cover and let inoculated milk sit for one hour at room temperature.
3.  While the inoculated milk sits, dissolve 1/2 tablet rennet in fresh cool water
4. After the inoculated milk has sat for one hour, add dissolved rennet to the inoculated milk, stir to mix thoroughly.
5. Let the inoculated, renneted milk sit covered overnight at room temperature. 

6. The next morning, the milk should have gelled.   Some of the whey will have separated.   Check for a clean break.

Cut curd as per basic cheese : start at one side, cut straight down to bottom. Make the next cut inch from and parallel to the first, but sloping slightly (the sliced curd will be wider at bottom than top). Repeat increasing angle with each cut . Turn pot 90, repeat cuts . Repeat cuts and turning two more times. The curd pieces should be about inch cubes.

7. With very clean hand and arm, reach to the bottom and gently lift the curds to stir. Cut large pieces which appear with a table knife so that they are inch cubes . Let the cut curds sit, with occasional stirring, for 10-15 minutes until curd is somewhat contracted.

8. Decant off the whey through the strainer lined with the handkerchief, pour curds into handkerchief. (In this image, I am draining off the top whey without filtering it.) Save the whey to make whey brine in step 11.

Let drain until no more whey drains out (about 2-4 hours).  It may be drained at room temperature, or in the refrigerator, as shown in the image.

9. Place drained curds into a bowl,  mix in a tsp salt, breaking up the curd.
10. Press into mold as per basic cheese: Line can with handkerchief, place curds inside, fold over ends of cloth, place end on top, and place weight on top of that. Let sit overnight.
11. Prepare pickling whey brine (12.5% salt): 20 oz of whey (from step 8) plus 5 Tbl salt. Stir to dissolve. The brine must be acidic or else the cheese will melt on the surface (speaking from experience...)
Feta in brineFeta on a plate 12. Cut cheese into 1.5 inch cubes, place into wide-mouth jar. Pour brine over to cover . Let pickle for several days in the refrigerator. The cheese will become drier and more easily crumbled with time. Store in the frig. Rinse before use to remove excess salt

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