Feta cheese question

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pepperhead212

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I went to Trader Joe's a few days ago, and looked for something I usually get there, though I didn't need it - Trader Joe's Authentic Greek Feta, in brine . They didn't have any, but had something I hadn't seen before (maybe replacing the other?) - Trader Joe's Israeli Feta, in brine. The Greek has some goat's milk cheese with the sheep's milk as the first ingredient, but the Israeli version has only sheep's milk, so I'm thinking that it may be a little stronger, but I haven't opened it - I want to use the other feta I have first. Has anyone else used this before, and what's your opinion of it?

My favorite feta I have ever tried was a French feta, that I would get whenever I would go to Claudio's in the Italian market. They had 3 types there, and one time, many years ago, the cheese monger told me they "just got this in", and he knew that I liked feta, so he had me same the other two types, and finally. the French. That flavor was fantastic, with a strong buttery flavor - they must use some cow's milk, along with the sheep's milk. This gives an incredible flavor to it. I haven't found it elsewhere, even at the cheese sections at Whole Foods and Wegman's.
 

taxlady

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I buy two different types of feta, both locally made. One is a sheep's milk feta and the other is a goat's milk feta in brine. They are both really good. I don't really notice one being stronger than the other. The sheep's milk feta is also available marinated in olive oil and herbs. I want to try that at some point.
 

summer57

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I get feta at a Greek deli that has so many varieties, and my favourite is barrel feta - sheep's milk feta aged in barrels. Pricey, but so good.
It's not too strong or salty, and it's smooth and buttery. Love it.
 
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larry_stewart

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I havent bought feta in awhile , but when my son lived home, I bought a block religiously every week, to the point that the deli guy wished me a Happy Greek Easter, cause he thought I was Greek.

When I used to buy it, they sold it in blocks that sat in a brine ( unpackaged), so I dont know exactly what I was getting. One time they were out of the kind I typically got ( which was hard, crumbly, salty and relatively dry, even after sitting in the brine). This was referred to as the " Domestic Feta", He offered me to take the "Non Domestic feta" instead, which I did. There was a big difference. the Non Domestic was also in a brine, but more spreadable than crumbly ( almost like a firm cream cheese). It had more of a sour taste ( like sour cream) than a salty taste, but was still salty. I wasn't crazy about it, so I made sure too only get the domestic from that point on. In addition, the non domestic was at least an additional dollar a pound. Im not sure from where the non domestic came from ( country of Origen).
 
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dragnlaw

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taxy, you can make your own herbed and garlic feta. Cut feta up in chunks, into a jar, add olive oil and herbs of choice and of course, chopped garlic.

I do it a lot and also have given as gifts.

pepper, I try to be careful and buy only sheep or goat feta. Lactose issue.
 

pepperhead212

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dragnlaw, Don't sheep's and goat's milk also have a generous amount of lactose? I seem to recall this from a lady I knew, who had that problem - she couldn't tolerate the fresher types of any of them, but the well aged ones were ok.

What are the herbs you put in your seasoned feta? That definitely sounds good.
 

GotGarlic

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dragnlaw, Don't sheep's and goat's milk also have a generous amount of lactose? I seem to recall this from a lady I knew, who had that problem - she couldn't tolerate the fresher types of any of them, but the well aged ones were ok.

What are the herbs you put in your seasoned feta? That definitely sounds good.
I've seen recipes using oregano, parsley, thyme and mint, along with red pepper flakes for some heat. I've been meaning to make it, but haven't gotten around to it.
 

dragnlaw

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as GG has mentioned, almost any herb you like that seems to go with the garlic and salty tang of the feta. I started with Rosemary and red pepper flakes and just sort of grabbed what ever caught my fancy after that.

yes pepper, they both do but there are different amounts in varying cheeses and the milk itself.

A lot of hard cheese have almost none - whether cows, sheep or goat. I have an intolerance to lactose but so far always cow. Have never had a problem with goat or sheep cheeses, feta or not. disclosure... I have never drunk goat or sheep milk only eaten their cheeses.

Thankfully my intolerance is fairly mild, depending on how much, it varies from a very uncomfortable belly ache to a 'have to lie down til the ache is over' - maybe 20 minutes or so? There are other descriptions I could tell you I've been thru but unless you are a medically interested person it is a bit TMI. ;)
 

Cooking Goddess

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...My favorite feta I have ever tried was a French feta...
Lordy, Lordy, what I wouldn't give for a block of French feta! :yum: There is a Mediterranean Imports store in West Side Market (Cleveland) that has a wide variety of feta - French, Greek, Hungarian, domestic, another one or two I can't remember. I've been know to bring home about 1 1/2 pounds of it when we head back to MA. I, too, haven't been able to find anyone near us that offers it for sale.

From what I understand, domestic feta is made with cow's milk, Greek is made with sheep milk. All I know is that I prefer domestic, Himself is even more particular (AKA picky). He likes feta only if it's the mildest kind. We both agree that the tubs of feta from Aldi are good. If you have an Aldi near you, try it. If you don't like it, money back plus a replacement item - anything the same or less cost, you're pick.
 

dragnlaw

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I can't say I've ever tasted 'French Feta'. Quebec well-known 'Skotidakis Goat Farm' was about 1/2 way between home and my club, so I passed it several times a week.
You could drop in and buy directly from them. Good stuff.
Earlier years you could see the owner, flowing beard, staff/cane, a chair and a dog, herding a bunch of goats down the road to greener pastures. Too many goats to do that now, tripled in size, I think.

I'm not sure it is available here but once we are allowed out, I plan to visit many stores to see.

In Quebec I've always thought it was pretty standard to consider most 'Greek' products to be goat. IMHO

Buyer beware - check the labels!
 

blissful

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If your feta is too salty, you can decrease the salt in the brine solution, and as it equalizes, salt comes out of the cheese into the brine.
If your feta is not salty enough, you can add salt to your brine.


An 18% salt brine is

  • 2 Litres (2 qt) water
  • 450 gm (1 lbs) non-iodised Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Calcium Chloride solution
This is from Cheese maker Gavin Webber. 18% is VERY salty, so reduce the salt, to make it less salty. You probably don't need 2 quarts of brine, so reduce all of the ingredients equally. (if you are trying to reduce the salt, taste the current brine and compare it to your future brine, making sure the future brine is less salty tasting)



The addition of vinegar is to inhibit mold growth. The addition of the Calcium Chloride is to prevent the lactose or lactase from coming out of the cheese and making it very cloudy. This will keep the cheese from becoming slimy over time. The smaller you cut your feta the faster the cheese salt level will change.
 

dragnlaw

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blissful's post made me remember that I often just change the water completely most times I use the feta. Often thought when it got cloudy I wasn't happy and a long time ago's Russian mother of a friend said that this was what you were supposed to do. Never argue with a Russian mommy.
 

blissful

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Dragnlaw, especially if you don't speak their language. ha ha.


I forgot to mention, you can use Pickle Crisp for the calcium chloride, since that is what it is made of.
 

summer57

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Thank you, blissful and dragn for the brine recs. A friend brought me a BIG block of my favourite sheep's milk feta, but.. it's wrapped and not in brine.
I remember the brine recipe here from a few months ago, and I'm happy to use it! thanks!
 
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