The history of cheesemaking is known to be as old as humanity itself, with scientists marking the origins back to 8,000 years ago. In antiquity, there is an abundance of references to feta cheese as we know it today, a salty, crumbly, smooth white cheese that lives in a rich brine made from sheep’s milk, or a mix of both sheep and goat’s milk. So, what is feta cheese and where does its story begin?
If you’re interested in gaining some more knowledge about the origin and make of feta, as well as knowing more about the cuisines it’s most commonly used in, continue reading our informative blog below about what is feta cheese!
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What is Feta Cheese? The Origins
When it comes to the origins of feta cheese, you’ll often read of the myth of Homer’s “Odyssey”, where the Cyclops Polyphemus used to transport the milk from his sheep in bags made of the skin from animal stomachs. One day, he realised that the milk had curdled into a solid form, and upon tasting the curdled cheese, it tasted good! Translating this myth to reality has proven impossible, though it’s said that the origin of how feta cheese came to be, may not be far off.
At Fresco, we aim to make cheese utilising the same techniques that have been used for hundreds of years. This allows us to provide our customers with cheese as close to their authentic roots as possible, from the way they are made, all the way down to their ingredients. Want to know what is feta made from? Keep reading!
What is Feta Cheese Made From?
Records suggest that ancient Greeks created a sort of feta using sheep’s milk in the Archaic Age, employing Polyphemus’ technique, although at the time feta was simply known as cheese. But what is feta cheese made from in the modern era? Nowadays, it’s still made from the milk of sheep and goats, however, you can also find feta that has been made from cows milk. There are a number of different textures and aromas when it comes to feta, ranging from firm and crumbly, to rich, creamy, and smooth.
How is Feta Cheese Made?
Now you know what is feta made from, but how is it actually made into those rich and delectable blocks as we know them? Traditionally, feta is made from 100% sheep’s milk, though some will contain a percentage of goats milk as well. This beautiful cheese is made by adding lactic acid bacteria to milk, which works to sour the milk, initiating the fermentation process.
Rennet enzymes are then added to the milk to separate the solid curds from the whey, which are then cut into small blocks and placed into relevant moulds. After a 24 hour period, the blocks of feta are removed from the mould, then salted, and placed into wooden or metal containers ready for the aging process. After a few days have passed, these blocks are then transferred to new containers, ones that are filled with a salty brine where they will remain for another 2 months – or longer.
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Common Uses of Feta
Feta is one of the most versatile cheeses, meaning it can be used among an array of different cuisines and dishes; and so it is. Because of feta’s salty flavour, it’s used among a variety of recipes as a replacement for salt, and it’s creaminess lends itself to creating a rich, smooth texture.
Marinated feta is generally used as a delicious appetiser, holding a punch of flavours such as garlic, lemon, rosemary, and even chilli. It’s often combined with extra virgin olive oil, where you then pair it with crusty bread – it’s sure to become a longstanding favourite.
Baked Feta Pasta
Whether you serve it hot or chilled, adding a block of feta to baked pasta completely changes the game. More so perfectly paired with a tomato based dish, or something Mediterranean, the pop of salt with a mouthful of freshly cooked pasta will have you coming back for more every single time.
Feta and Filo
For a light snack or even a party favour, choose feta in filo. This is generally known across Greece as ‘Spanakopita’, with spinach and feta marrying together within a filo wrap to create a heavenly dish. Taken as inspiration, people across the world encase feta within filo pastry in bite sized pieces, drizzled with honey to boast a sweet yet salty palette.
Feta and Salad
Looking for a simple, summery salad? Greek salads are the perfect go-to for those hotter seasons. With chopped up, light vegetables such as cucumber, capsicum, feta, cherry tomatoes and red onion, dressed in balsamic or a Greek salad dressing, your taste buds are going to be dancing with every mouthful
At Fresco Cheese, we provide a stunning range of Greek-style feta cheese that’s made using authentic cheese making techniques to bring you a delectable, rich, and smooth feta that’s to die for. From Australian feta to Danish and Persian-style feta, you have a number of textures and aromas to choose from with Fresco.
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