I can’t believe I am 46 (nearly 47) and I have only just made beyaz peynir (feta cheese). I have been wanting to make it for a while, but the need for a starter culture always kind of put me off.
I bought a mesophilic cheese starter off the internet – as you do – and promptly put the instructions as to how to get it going, what amount to use and how to keep it alive in a very safe place. A place so safe that I now can’t find them.
Not to be deterred I found some instructions online to get it going, decided to guess on the appropriate amounts to use and worry about keeping the starter alive in the future.
I used this cheese recipe (see here) because it had the title super easy feta cheese and didn’t use lipase powder – which I don’t have any of.
No photos of the procedure because that would be stretching my talents too far. It wasn’t difficult. In fact it was ridiculously easy – easier than halloumi. The starter helps with curd formation, texture and flavour.
Beyaz Peynir: 4 litres raw milk; 1/4 cup of made up mesophilic culture; 1/4 cup water; 20 drops vegetable rennet; salt; olive oil; oregano.
Heat milk to 88F add starter and stir. Put the rennet into the cup of water and add to the milk and stir. Cover, wrap a towel round the pan (to keep the warmth in) and leave for 2 hours.
Cut the curds, then gently stir for 10 minutes. Leave for 15 minutes and then stir again for 5-10 minutes. Drain the curds from the whey for 8-10 hours. I poured it through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. It might work better hung up, but I couldn’t find anywhere to hang it.
After the required draining time cut the cheese into chunks. I matured it i two different ways.
Most of it I layered in a jar with salt and oregano and then filled up the jar with olive oil.
With the leftover cheese I just layered it in a bowl with salt and left that in the fridge for a few days.
So which do I prefer – the cheese I simply matured with salt in a bowl. Everytime I open the fridge I eat some. It has a brilliant flavour and great texture. Being able to make cheese this good has motivated me to move onto hard cheeses
The cheese preserved in the oil, is really good and will be great for cooking and for smearing on toast. I think it might keep for longer this way as well.
Next time I will matured and keep it in a brine and see how this works out. Oh don’t throw out the whey. I made some ricotta with it. I heated it up to nearly boiling, added some vinegar and then strained it. The left-over, left-over whey I feed to the dog for his dinner – yum yum.
N.B. Why have I suddenly started to up my cheese game? Well with any luck sometime early next summer we will have lot of our own lovely goats milk and I will need to do something with it.
N.B. I also made yoghurt with the starter – it was good, but I am not sure I drained it sufficiently as I prefer a thicker yoghurt.