We were making feta, ricotta and queso blanco. The queso blanco and ricotta are ready to eat immediately, but the feta takes a while of brining ( between 4 and 6 weeks - this is our recipe, others are different)
After the 6 weeks we cut it up into wee blocks and put in lovely jars with olive oil and perhaps some herbs. Rosemary is lovely. This way it lasts for a long time.
How to make Feta
We started off with 10 litres of milk ( straight from cow) in a double boiler. Heat this to 37 degrees.
Now you need your starters -
Mesophile and thermophile. Add half a teaspoon of each. And a pinch of lipase. Wait 30 minutes to grow starter bacteria. In New Zealand you can get these from Binn Inns, trade me and various cheesemakers who have websites. You can then use UHT milk, mixed with starter to make more... and never have to buy again!
Add a teaspoon of rennet diluted in 30ml of cooled boiled water. Stir into milk for one minute and leave covered to set. ( check strength and dosage as rennet comes in different strengths)
Wait 60 minutes.
Cut curd into 20mm cubes. Cut left to right, top to bottom, then sort of sideways through the cheese to form cubes. Stir once gently every 30 minutes for next hour and a half. ( 3 times)
Lift curds carefully into sanitised moulds. Leave in moulds on draining mat overnight. ( we left them for a few hours as we were having to take them home) Turn them 2 or three times.
Make up brine - 1/2 cup salt to 2 lt water.
Remove the cheese from the moulds and place in brine solution.
Store at 10c. Ripens in 4 - 6 weeks
Here it is in brine. If it looks like the feta is going soft (like this does) you add a teaspoon vinegar to the brine solution.
We've done this recipe several times and it never fails to give us the most delicious feta.
I know it all sounds a bit tricky and very time consuming, but once you get the hang of it, it's great.
Now for some Queso Blanco
We used 5 litres of milk.
Heat the milk in a non aluminum pan until just before it boils.
Then add 1/4 cup of white vinegar.
The curds will separate from the whey.
Let simmer for a couple of minutes.
Then put curds into a muslin lined collander, drain for a bit, then gather up the muslin and hang to drain for a few hours. If you want to add herbs do it before you gather up the muslin. You can also add salt here if you want.
We added basil to one half.
It's also known as Paneer. We put some in our dahl last night for dinner and it was lovely!
If you look on the internet you'll find many recipes, some are a little different, these work well for us!