Q. After removing my Feta from the cheese molds, I placed it into a light brine for 2 days. This has resulted is a slimy soft exterior.
A. It sound like your brine is pulling calcium from your cheese, resulting in a slimy exterior. When making a fresh brine, be sure to add Calcium Chloride and White Vinegar as well as salt.
Here is a simple saturated brine formula:
- 1 gallon of water
- 2.25 lbs of salt
- 1 tbs calcium chloride
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- Bring the brine to 50-55°F before using
The brine should then be kept at 50-52°F and can be filtered after use and reused.
After soaking in the brine, remove the feta and arrange on mats to drain. Allow assimilation of salt for 1-3 days at 48-56°F covered loosely with sanitized cloth to prevent contamination. Turn each block several times a day to encourage draining/drying. This step will dry the surface, harden the cheese and allow the brine to stabilize throughout the feta.
Failure to do this can easily result in an unstable cheese when placed in the storage brine, in which case the calcium is stripped from the curd and the surface deteriorates in a matter of days.
Once stabilized, the Feta can be placed into a storage brine.
Q. Made some feta cheese and the next day the product smelled wonderful before salting and aging. Just like feta. However, I tasted a sliver and there was virtually no flavor. Is this typical at this stage? I'm looking for maximum flavor so time is no issue. How long should I wait for the flavor I'm looking for? Any other thoughts or links are appreciated.
A.At the point in time that you did the sampling the cheese was too young. All it had going for it was the flavor of the milk with its sweetness removed due to lactose conversion.