Cooking Classes


The Daring Cooks - Making Cheese

I have been making ricotta, mascarpone and yogurt cheese. With this challenge I tried something new - feta.  I found some raw cow's milk at a nearby farm and was all set until, I went looking for rennet. I had no idea it would be so difficult to find it but I went to a local independent nuitrition store and they had just received it in their shipment. The rennet worked well and I did not need to use CaCl.

The bonus in this challenge was the opportunity to meet another local woman who is making cheese. I can hardly wait to try some of hers and I will share mine. Together perhaps we will further explore the world of cheese.

Feta marinated in herbs and olive oil
Sawsan from chef in disguise was our March 2013 Daring Cooks hostess! Sawsan challenges us to make our own homemade cheeses! She gave us a variety of choices to make, all of them easily accomplished and delicious!

Homemade Feta Cheese

Sawsan presented the following information for us

Recipe Source: From the Bartolini kitchens
yield: approx ½ pound (1/4 kg)
8 cups (2 litres) goat’s milk (cow or sheep’s milk may be used) – ultra-pasteurized goat’s milk cannot be used.
1 tablespoon (15 ml) live culture, plain yogurt mixed in 1 tablespoon (15 ml) milk from above
¼ rennet (“junket”) tablet dissolved in 6 tablespoons (90 ml) distilled water at room temp
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) salt
To make the brining solution
5½ tablespoons (82.5 ml) (95 gm) (3-1/3 oz) of salt for every 20 fl oz (590 ml) fluid whey
1.Place the milk in a pot with a lid, warm it up to 30°C or 86°F . Remember to stir the milk occasionally to prevent the bottom from burning
2.Take the milk off the heat, add yogurt-milk mixture, stir well, cover with the lid.
3.Allow it to sit for 1 hour at room temperature.
4.Move your pot to an area where it will remain undisturbed.
5.Add dissolved rennet, stir quickly to ensure even distribution of the rennet then cover the pot, and leave overnight.
6.The next morning, check the cheese. It should be set into one large block of curd with a little whey separated on the side
7.Now you have to check for a clean break.
8.To check for a clean break Stick your finger, on an angle, into the curd and slowly bring the finger to the surface to test for a “clean break,” meaning the curd is firmly set from top to bottom. Your finger should come up relatively clean which means that the cheese has set into one block of curd.
A bad break is when your finger comes out covered in a thickened dairy product(kind of like when you stick your finger
into yogurt), that means that your cheese has not set completely, if that happens you need to leave it for 2 hours and check again. If you still get a bad break give it 2 more hours and check again. If you still get a bad break you have to throw it out and start over
9.Now that you have achieved a clean break you have to cut the cheese and this step is done to allow as much whey to separate from the cheese as possible
Using a long knife cut parallel lines through the entire thickness of the curd dividing it into vertical slices
10.Then turn the pot and cut horizontal parallel lines through the entire thickness of the curd
11. Now you need to take your knife at an angle and repeat cutting horizontal and vertical lines to cut the curds that are beneath the surface, stir the curds gently and cut any cubes that are too big
12.Allow the curd cubes to set for 15 minutes stirring it occasionally to allow more whey to come out. You will notice that the curds will shrink slightly in size.
13. Next you need to strain the cheese, to do that line a colander with a cheesecloth or a clean fabric with fine weave.
Gently pour the curds and whey in and allow it to strain. Do not discard the whey.
14. Once most of the whey has been strained collect the 4 corners of your cheesecloth and tie them to form a knot that allows you to suspend the cheesecloth then allow it to strain for 2-4 hours.
If you live in a very warm place you may want to allow it to strain in the fridge.
15.The next day remove the cheese from the cloth, break up the curds add 1/2 teaspoon salt.
16.Line a mould with holes in the bottom with cheese cloth, place the cheese in, fold over the cheesecloth place a heavy weight on top of the mold and leave overnight, again if you live in a really warm place do this in the fridge
17.Make the brine solution by adding 5½ tablespoons (82.5 ml) (95 gm) (3-1/3 oz.) of salt for every 20 fl oz. (590 ml) fluid whey and mix it, dissolving as much of the salt as you can.
As you can see my cheese was still pretty soft after moulding but it firmed up nicely in the brine
18.The next day take the cheese out of the mould and cut into cubes, place in the brine solution and allow to brine in the fridge for 5 days
Store in the refrigerator. Rinse before use to remove excess salt.

Notes about feta cheese

The milk:

you can not use ultra-pasteurized milk, alone, to make feta. Your best choice is raw, unpasteurized milk, sheep would be the tastiest. The second best choice is regular pasteurized cow or goat milk. If the only choice you have is ultra-pasteurized cow’s milk, you must add CaCl2 to mask the effects of the ultra-pasteurization process (¼ tsp of calcium chloride (CaCl2) added to 64 fl oz (8 cups) (2 litres) of milk. Dilute it in 1/4 cup of cool, non-chlorinated water). CaCl2, however will not work with ultra-pasteurized goat’s milk.
To sum it up the milk you can use to make feta cheese is:
Pasteurized goat milk with or without CaCl
Pasteurized cow's milk
Ultra pasteurized cow's milk with CaCl

Storage Instructions and Tips:

Soft labneh will keep for a week in the fridge. Labneh balls can stay up to 6 months if submerged in oil and stored in the fridge.
Ricotta will last up to two weeks in the fridge.
Soft cheese will last 4-6 days in the fridge
Brined feta cheese will last up to 3 months if kept in the fridge submerged in the brine solution


  1. Congratulations, Sarah, you made a wonderful feta! I wish I had access to farm milk. Look at those curds! Amazing! I wonder how delicious they turned out with the herbs.

  2. I have just started getting raw goat's milk from a local farm, I can't wait to try this!

  3. Great post- and ty for the offer to send rennet - I am will let you know when I need some more!

  4. You are soaring w/ your cooking endeavours..Bravo!

  5. I have not gone beyond making ricotta and paneer. It would be fun to explore making more complicated cheeses if I had someone to share the bounty with.

  6. Thank you for taking part in this challenge Sarah!
    You did a wonderful Job with the feta! it looks perfect!

  7. Look at your Cheese !!! It is so B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L !!!
    My mouth is watering looking at all your pictures. Lucky you to have a farm around where you live.
    I so wanted to do Feta but sure enough finding Rennet in this part of the world is equally or more difficult.

    Great going !!


  8. Your chees looks great!!! yummy yummy!

  9. I need you to teach me how to make cheese Sarah! What a great accomplishment! I'm sure this was absolutely delicious being so FRESH!

  10. You are so brave, making cheese! I love fresh cheeses like ricotta, farmer's cheese but never really tried to make are tempting me even though it looks a little difficult...your cheese looks perfect and very tasty


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