IMG_8835Where to start!  Well, I was lucky enough to be invited to Words To Go, which is part of the Tasting Australia Festival in Adelaide. I had not been to Adelaide since the early 90’s so I was looking forward to seeing the changes. It was a very busy whirlwind three days with guest speakers, gala dinners, tours of the markets and lastly a lesson in how to make feta cheese from Udder Delights. I have to admit, cheese making was not high on my list of must do’s  in life, while I very much enjoy eating cheese, I had not really contemplated making it. The experience was a pleasant surprise, I really enjoyed it and the end result is fantastic! I even contemplated living a nomad life with a herd of goats!

After a morning walking around Adelaide markets, being introduced to the vendors and hearing about their passion for the produce they sell, we were escorted to a mini bus and driven up into the hills of Adelaide to a place called Hahndorf.  This is a beautiful part of Australia with the Autumn colours and lots of vineyards. We were headed for a winery called Bird in Hand.

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IMG_7710What a beautiful property with a function center for weddings, a cellar door and a beautiful aspect.

Sherrie Sulllivan from Udder Delights was there to meet us and had us on task, making the feta as soon as we had arrived. We were paired up and shown the process which was surprisingly simple. The feta which I brought home in my on board luggage has now been marinated in olive oil and garlic, bay leaves, oregano, and basil.

If you are going to try this I recommend that you have a lesson with someone first. The recipe mentions hoops and other containers, that you may have to speak to a cheese maker about buying. Here is a great link to cheese making classes Mad Millie

Here is the recipe.

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Feta – Rennet Set Recipe

Ingredients:

4L Un-Homogenised Pasteurised Milk
1/16th teaspoon OR Mad Millie Pinch spoon of Mesophilic Starter Culture
2ml Vegetarian Rennet (5ml Rennet for 10L milk)
20ml filtered, boiled or distilled water (1 part rennet, 10 parts water)

Method:

  1. Put milk into a saucepan
  2. Add the culture to the milk.
  3. While stirring heat the milk until it reaches 35degrees Celsius
  4. Pour the milk into your esky, put the lid down
  5. Leave the milk to rest for half an hour before adding rennet. This begins your incubation.
  6. Measure out your rennet & water
  7. Pour the combined rennet and water mixture into the milk & stir it through
  8. Put the lid on the esky and leave for 50 minutes before cutting the curd.IMG_7716
  9. Using a long knife cut the curds into approximately 2cm cubes. Be gentle so as not to shatter the curd
  10. Put the lid on the esky and leave for ½ hour
  11. Gently stir the for the first time curd, lifting and re-cutting any curds that are too big. Leave for 20 minutes.
  12. Stir the curd for a second time. Leave for 20 minutes
  13. Stir the curd for a third time. It is likely that at this stage you will find the curd has begun to stick together – this is a good indicator that the curds are ready to be put into the hoops.
  14. Line the hoops with a chux and place them on a chux lined cake rack
  15. Using the slotted spoon gently ladle the curd into the hoops filling all to the top, if not slightly over. When it gets hard to ladle the curd due to all the whey, pour it all into a colander, that way you will catch the curd you need
  16. Turn the cheese twice during the class – this enables even drainage and creates a smoother surface on both sides. If you want a really even cheese you should turn it once more when you get home.
  17. AT HOME/LATER IN THE DAY Set the hoops of cheese up to keep draining. You can turn the cheese once more to create a more even cheese shape. Leave overnight at room temperature, until at least lunchtime the next day if possible.
  18. Lunchtime on, the following day, you will find the cheese would have dropped to a quarter of its original size. Take the cheese out of the hoop and take the chux off it
  19. Make a brine solution of 20% salt & brine your cheese for 30 minutes

you need to measure 80g of salt

Divide this in half and pour it into each of the two base containers that you took your cheese away in.

Boil a kettle and pour boiling water into each of the two base containers until they are approximately half full.

Stir the salt so that it dissolves in the hot water

Leave this until it gets to room temperature – your brine is now ready.

Place each round of feta into each of the two brines and soak them for 30 minutes

Discard your brine once finished.

  1. Put your brined cheese into the clean base containers and store in the fridge over night to enable the salt to evenly disperse through the cheese.
  2. Now you can marinate your cheese – we have provided the jars and the oil. The oil is a blend of 30% Adelaide Hills Extra Virgin Olive Oil and 70% Australian Canola Oil – we blend using this ratio so the oil doesn’t solidify in the fridge.

You must ensure that the cheese is fully immersed in the oil – this stops the oxygen getting to the cheese and spoiling it. Top up with more oil if necessary once you put the cheese in.

You can decide whether to cut your cheese up, or put it in whole.

You can decide whether to flavor it with herbs – we prefer woody ones like rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, pepper corn, garlic, dried chilli etc. Anything which doesn’t have a high moisture content.

Store it in the fridge and get 6 months shelf life!

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