DIY Homemade FETA Cheese

What is Feta ?

 

Feta is a salty Greek cheese, usually made with either goat or sheep’s milk. Feta is neither soft nor hard cheese but in-between. It is wonderful crumbled on salads and crackers, and can also be used in cooking. Unlike most cheeses, it is ripened in brine. Feta develops quite a strong flavor and if you like “hardy” cheeses, you must give it a try.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 gallons goat milk – ( use a little over 3 gallons for raw, unpasteurized goat milk)
  • 4 oz. mesophilic culture
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. Kid or Kid/Lamb Lipase powder
  • 1 tsp. Liquid rennet dissolved in 1/2 Cup water
  • Kosher salt
  • Brine: 1/2 Cup Kosher salt per 1/2 gallon of water (boiled and cooled to below room temp.)

 

Directions:

  • In a double boiler pot set up, warm the goat milk to 86°. Add the culture and lipase. Lipase is the enzyme that gives Feta that great Feta flavor.
  • Stir well and let ripen, covered, for one hour.
  • Keeping the milk at 86°, Add the rennet and stir briskly for 15 seconds. Cover and let set about 30-40 minutes, or until you get a “clean break”.
  • You can check for a clean break by sticking your knife, or thermometer, into the curd at an angle. Pull straight up out of the curd; if the curd breaks cleanly around the knife and whey runs into the crack that is made; you have a “clean break.” Once you see this for the first time, you will know just what I mean.
  • Cut the curd into 1/2″ pieces.
  • Cutting the curds can be the most confusing part, but just don’t worry so much. Use a long knife held vertically and cut 1/2″ slices in the curds. Then turn the pot 90° and cut across in 1/2″ slices the other direction, making a kind of checkerboard pattern. Now hold the knife at a sideways 45° angle and retrace your cuts. Turn the pot 1/4 turn and retrace the cuts. Turn it again and cut and then one final turn and cut. By the last turn you probably won’t be able to see the original cuts, but just do the best you can. It is alright if think you did not cut the curd perfectly.
  • Do not stir yet. Let the curds rest for 10 minutes.
  • After this rest period, stir the curd gently and cut any pieces that you missed when you first cut the curd. Hold the curd at 86° for 45 minutes, carefully stirring occasionally to prevent the curd from sticking together. This process of “cooking” the curd helps the curd “toughen up” as well as release it’s whey.
  • Place a big colander over a big pot and line the colander with a large piece of dampened cheesecloth. If you dampen the cheesecloth, it will stick slightly to the colander, holding it in place.
  • Carefully pour the curd into the colander. Tie the corners of the cheesecloth together and hang the bag to drain.
  • After 3-4 hours, take the cheese down and turn the cheese over in the cheesecloth, from top turned to bottom. This turning will “even up” the cheese into a nice form. Otherwise, it will have a rough form cheese; it is edible, just not so attractive.
  • Let your cheese hang and continue draining for about 24 hours, at this point it will start to develop a distinctive odor. Inform your family of the odor if you need to.
  • After your cheese has hung for about 24 hours or so, remove it from the cloth and cut it into usable size cubes (about 2-3 inches). Sprinkle all the sides of the cubes with kosher salt and place them in a sterilized, large, seal-able, container. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 2-3 days to “harden up” the blocks. The blocks will continue to release whey during this time; that is normal.
  • Transfer the blocks (and their whey if you wish) to a large sterilized glass container. Add the brine. Do not add the brine too soon, the cheese sometimes starts softening up. The cheese is still good; you may just want to use it in cooking instead of for crumbling.
  • Age for at least I month before use in order to develop flavor. Your Feta cheese will keep in its brine (refrigerated) for a very, very long time ( up to a year), and will only keep getting better (stronger). On occasion, you may find some mold forming on top of the brine. When this happens, just skim it off, the cheese is still fine. If a piece of the cheese was sticking above the brine, it may mold. Just remove it, the rest of the cheese is still good.

Always remember that it takes a lot of milk to make a little cheese. And how much cheese you get will also depend on other factors, like type of milk used, fat content of milk, stage of lactation of the goat that produced the milk, handling of curds, temperatures during cheese making and hang time, just to name a few.

 

 

 

“How To Make Queso Fresco?” – DIY

What does Queso Fresco means ?

Queso Fresco means Fresh Cheese and is semi-soft cheese. I prefer cheese with lots of flavor, and this Queso Fresco has many variations. Queso Fresco is of Latin American origin. It is lightly pressed and ready to eat in just a few days.

Correct temperatures are very important in cheese making, so ensure to use a good thermometer. The easiest way to control the temperature of the curds is to use a homemade double boiler. Place the cheese making pot into the canning kettle and place on the stove. Fill the canner with water up to the level of the milk in the cheese making pot. Then place a thermometer in the water of the canner as well as the milk. This way you can tell the temperature of the water, which in turn, helps you control the temperature of the milk and curds.

Ingredients:

  • 2 gallons of unpasteurized goat milk

  • 4 oz. mesophilic culture

  • 1/4 tsp. calf lipase powder (mild “piccante”)

  • 1/2 tsp. Liquid rennet dissolved in 1/4 Cup water

  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt .

 

Directions:

  • Bring the milk to 86° and add the mesophilic culture and lipase. Stir well and let set, to ripen, for 1 hour. Add the rennet and stir briskly for 15 seconds. Cover the pot and let the milk set for 45 minutes, or until you get a clean break. Hold the milk at a temperature of 86° for the entire time.
  • Cut the curds into 1/4″ pieces with a stainless steel knife. This always seem to be the trickiest part of cheese making, but take your time, and don’t worry if all the curds are not cut to exactly 1/4″. After you have cut the curds, do not stir them yet. Let them rest, undisturbed for 10 minutes
  • Now, you can stir the curds and cut any that you had missed. If you stir the curds with a big wire whisk, this will cut any curds you missed automatically. Raise the temperature of the curds to 95° over the next 20 minutes, stirring occasionally so the curds do not stick together. Let the curds settle for 5 minutes, undisturbed.
  • Drain the whey from the curds. You can conserve drained whey and use for whey based cheese making like Ricotta. Now, leave the curds in their cheese making pot that is placed inside the canner. Make sure the water in the canner is kept at 95° and this will allow you to hold the curds at a temperature of 95°. Hold the curds at 95° for 10 minutes, stirring with your hand occasionally so that the curds don’t stick together.
  • After you have held the curds for at 95° for 10 minutes, stir in the salt. At this point in the cheese making you could spice up your cheese by adding some herbs, such as chives, or even minced jalapena peppers, if you’d like.
  • Line a cheese mold with cheesecloth and add the curds. Press the cheese at 10 pounds for 10 minutes, remove it from the press, flip it over and place it back in the press. Continue pressing at 20 pounds for 1 hours and then raise the weight to 35 pounds for 6 hours.
  • After it has pressed for six hours, remove the cheese from the mold and let it air dry on a rack overnight. The next day, put it in a ziploc bag or wrap it and refrigerate the cheese for several days before testing. Honestly, it is worth the wait. If you taste the cheese too soon, it may seem “rubbery”. Additionally, the flavor will develops during the short “aging” process.

 

Queso Fresco cheese will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. My previous experience proved that this cheese does not freeze well.

 

Dairy Goat Products

Summary

 

A variety of manufactured products can be produced from goat milk, including cheese, fluid products (low fat, fortified, or flavored), fermented products such as cultured yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream and kefir, frozen products such as ice cream or frozen yogurt, butter, and condensed, packaged and powdered products.

 

Goat milk is quite similar to cow milk in its basic composition, the significance of goat milk and it’s products in human nutrition and well-being can never be underestimated. However, producing high quality raw milk is of utmost importance for successful production of dairy goat products because dairy goat products provides essential nutrients in human diet, as well as income sources for the survival of mankind in ecosystems of many parts of the world. And the contribution of dairy goat products are also greatly valued by those who have cow milk allergy and other nutritional diseases.

 

Cheese

Cheeses hold the greatest economic value among all manufactured goat milk products. According to the Agriculture Handbook of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are more then 400 varieties of goat cheese and lists more then 800 names of cheeses, many of which are made from goat milk or combination of goat milk with cow, buffalo or sheep milk.

 

The general procedures of cheeses manufacturing are:-

  • Preparation of goat milk
  • Standardizing the milk
  • Setting the temperature
  • Adding starter cultures
  • Adding rennet
  • Cutting curds
  • Cooking
  • Draining whey
  • Salting
  • Hooping
  • Pressing
  • Packaging
  • Aging

 

*Take Note: Soft cheese are made by natural draining without pressing.

 

Condensed,Packaged and Powdered Goat Milk

Today, Condensed, Packaged and Powdered Goat milk are manufactured and marketed in most part of the world besides the United States. Evaporation is usually done under reduced pressure, primarily to allow boiling at a lower temperature to prevent heat damage. Powdered products available include Whole milk, Skim milk, Whey and infant foods. Packaged products available include Skimmed, Whole and UHT milk.

 

Frozen Products.

Ice cream and frozen yogurt are manufactures from goat milk and cream. The popular flavor choice formulations of goat milk ice cream are Chocolate, Strawberry, French vanilla, Blueberries and Cream and combination with fruits or other ingredients.

Many varieties contain sugar although some are made with other sweeteners. In some cases, artificial flavorings and color is also used. This mixture is stirred slowly while cooling to prevent large ice crystals from forming. The result is a delicious and smoothly textured ice-cream.

 

Frozen Goat Yogurt Recipe

The homemade Frozen Goat Yogurt Recipe is creamy and delicious and with this frozen dessert, you can take an island vacation without leaving your yard. Adding coconut, pineapple and pecans give variety and flavor to this frozen dessert.

Want to learn how to make yogurt easily? And most importantly, be sure to allow sufficient time, up to one day for the yogurt to culture before you freeze it. The recipe is for a 4-quart freezer.

 

Ingredients

  • 6 cups goat milk yogurt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 can /13.5 oz. coconut milk
  • 1 can /15 oz. crushed pineapple – undrained
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • * Optional – 1/2 Tbsp. rum flavoring

 

Directions:

  • Heat the coconut milk in a sauce pan until steaming.
  • Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Let cool – you can refrigerate, or cool it more rapidly by setting the pan in a larger pan filled with ice water and stirring frequently.
  • Stir in the Yogurt and vanilla extract – and optional rum flavoring, and mix well.
  • Pour into ice cream freezer canister. Add the pineapple, coconut and pecans. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions.
  • Finally, sit back  relax  and enjoy that tropical breeze blowing through the coconut palms!

 

Nutritional facts

Per Serving (0.5 cup)  Frozen Goat Yogurt  contains 178 Calories; – Fat 6g, Saturated Fat 4g, Sodium 41mg, Carbohydrates 21g, Sugar 21g, Protein 10g.

 

Cultured Dairy Goat Products:

Cultured yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream and kefir are among the most common fermented dairy products, especially in the Western world. And they are my favorites cultured products.

 

Goat Milk Yogurt

Goat milk yogurt is one of the major cultured products. It may be made from  fresh, unpasteurized, goat milk that has been produced in a sanitary manner,  low-fat, skim or whole milk. Goat milk yogurt can be made in a similar manner to the cow counterpart. It is made essentially the same way as buttermilk, but a different combination of microorganisms is cultured at a higher incubation temperature. Goat milk yogurt is softer and less viscous and often lacks the typical flavor of cow yogurt.

The basic processing procedures of Goat Milk Yogurt include:-

 

  • Preparation of goat milk
  • Standardization (standardized to 1.0 – 1.7% fat)
  • Pasteurization (72 degree Celsius for 20 second)
  • Cool the pasteurized mix to 46.7 degree Celsius and hold in vat for up to  15 minutes.
  • Inoculation – 45 degree Celsius ( carefully introduce into warm milk or milk mixes 1.25% by weight of active Lactobacillus bulgaricus culture.
  • Packaging (set yogurt)
  • Incubation (permit filled containers to remain in room at 45 degree Celsius for 3 – 5 hours or until a firm, smooth gel has formed to pH4.5
  • Chilling (yogurt is chilled to 7.2 degree Celsius in less than 1 hour)
  • Storage and Distribution (store the containers of yogurt at 4.4 degree Celsius or lower, the shelf life at this temperature is 30 to 60 days).

Yogurt made from whole milk (3.25% fat), low fat milk (0.5 to 2.5% fat) or skim milk. Sour cream must contain 18% fat in most states.

 

How to make Yogurt from Raw Goat Milk?

 

Yes, you can make yogurt from raw goat milk as well.

However, I would not suggest store bought milk for this method. You must use fresh clean milk that you have just milked out of your healthy goat and following extremely good sanitary procedure because you are not going to be pasteurizing the milk,  and any harmful bacteria may gets in the milk.

 

Directions:

  1. Start with 3 1/2 Cup. clean fresh raw milk.
  2. Stir in  1/2 -1 Cup. powdered milk if desired to produce a nice thick curd. (or a specially formulated culture)
  3. Warm milk to 115 degrees by whichever method you desire to heat your milk.
  4. Pour the warm milk into your incubating jars, add a couple of heaping tablespoon of plain “live culture” yogurt or DVI culture, screw the lid on tight and shake well.
  5. Now it is time to incubate; Cooler/heating pad method. Use a larger cooler. Place the cooler in a place where it will be undisturbed. Place the jar with the yogurt milk in the cooler. Place a heating pad over the jar (loosely). Set the pad on high (some pad needs to be set on high, yours may differ) and place the lid on the cooler. Leave it undisturbed for about 6-8 hours. If this is the first time you use this method, put a thermometer in the cooler to see what the pad is heating the inside of the cooler up to. You want it to be at least 110 degrees and not more than 120 degrees. You may need to turn your pad to medium.

 

*There are various methods of incubation – Food dehydrator, Cooler/water method, Cooler/heating pad method, Commercial yogurt maker.

 

The Wonders of Yogurt:

Generally, yogurt contains live bacteria that helps to strengthen your immune system to fight diseases. It aids in stimulating the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria, discouraging and destroying harmful ones.

Yogurt can assist in restoring the digestive tract to its normal condition after a course of antibiotics, which are liable to destroy all intestinal bacteria, both good and bad.

And there is more; Yogurt not only provides you with internal benefits but also gives you other physical advantages. It is good for skin as it contains lactic acid which acts as an exfoliator that helps in getting rid of dead cells. Yogurt can also be used as a face pack for beautiful skin.

With all these benefits, some including myself  view it as “a wonder food”, therefore start taking your goat yogurt daily for good health!

 

Buttermilk

Most people assume buttermilk is high in fat, due to its name. Modern buttermilk is usually made from skim milk (less than 0.5% fat) using the by-product from churning butter out of sour cream.

 

Sour cream

Sour cream is made according to the same temperature and culture methods as used for buttermilk. The main difference is the starting material—sour cream starts with light 18 percent cream.

 

Kefir

Kefir is an acidic, slightly foamy product made from pasteurized and fat-standardized or decreamed goat milk that has passed through a combined acidic and alcoholic fermentation of symbiotic lactic acid bacteria and yeast kefir grains. The finished product Kefir, contains 0.6 to 0.8% lactic acid and 0.5 to 1.0% alcohol.

 

Acidophilus

Acidophilus milk can be made by the activity of L. acidophilus, which is capable of converting a greater proportion of the lactose to lactic acid (2%).

 

Other Cultured Goat Milk Products

Ghee is an Indian clarified butterfat product manufactured by fermenting whole milk into curd and churning out the butter, followed by heat clarification at 105 – 145 degree C.

Additionally, good goat milk products made in India include Chhana, Khoa and Paneer (a cheese). Chhana is an acid and heat-coagulated milk product and a chhana-based sweet is made by kneading chhana and cooking it in sugar syrup over medium heat. Khoa is a heat-desiccated indigenous goat milk product used for various sweets or candy.

 

How to Enjoy Dairy Goat Products?

 

A Few Quick Serving Ideas :

  • Next time you want a glass of milk, try goat milk instead.
  • Goat milk yogurt makes a wonderful base for savory dips. Simply mix in your favorite herbs and spices and serve with crudites.
  • Crumble some goat milk cheese on a salad of romaine lettuce, pears and pumpkin seeds.
  • Crumbled goat milk cheese is a wonderful rich topping for split pea soup.
  • Add extra taste and protein to a vegetable sandwich by including some goat cheese.
  • Soft, spreadable goat milk cheese is an exceptional accompaniment to crusty whole grain bread or crackers and fruit.
  • Top sliced tomatoes with crumpled goat milk cheese and fresh basil. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

ENJOY!