Our GOD is Greater

I was busy working in the kitchen and Christopher was wondering around relocating shoes, exploring, putting small things inside of big things or some other important task. He was going about his business happily when I heard something falling and then cries of anger. I came out of the kitchen to find a boy paralyzed with frustration. The baby gate had fallen over from it’s perch against the wall. He was not trying to move it, he just was dramatically crying, sure he was doomed to a life imprisoned in the hallway. 

“Son, try to fix it. Don’t let something so small control you and make you give up.” 

I helped him with the gate and he went about his merry way. There were shoes to relocate and new nooks to discover. I went back to my work relocating dishes and discovering new dirt. 

Something about his little display really disturbed me. It looked uncannily like something I had done the day before. Something had gone wrong, something so insignificant I can’t even remember what it was, and it had effected my entire day. I let it have dominion over me and control me. Something small and insignificant. But my actions of frustration and anger were not.

When we encounter trials, even a baby gate blocking our way, we have two choices. We can take it to God and learn patience and endurance or let it bind us. When we can serve so great a GOD why let small things win? Our GOD is greater and stronger then any other and through his strength all things are possible. 

 Let us not forget we serve a loving GOD. A great GOD. HE alone is worthy of our moments, our days, our lives.

How to make Feta Cheese

I love Feta Cheese. Just love it. What I do not like is the cost of it.

ouch

I had been getting it off of the salad bar because it is much cheaper that way, but just thinking about how I had no idea what was in that feta was really getting to me.

yuck

So, this month I made my own. It was surprisingly easy. I was also able to make it from local, raw, grass fed milk which is just grand. A gallon of milk yielded nearly a pound of the best tasting, healthiest, feta cheese.

yeah

NOTE: I used conventional rennet tablets like you can get at the store for this recipe. After doing a bit of research I DO NOT suggest it any more then I would suggest any conventional animal products. I advice using liquid vegetable rennet. 30 drops of liquid rennet is equivalent to 1 rennet tablet.

FETA CHEESE
(adapted from the recipe booklet that came with my Junket Rennet Tablets.)

Ingredients:
  • 1 gallon milk (preferably raw, grass-fed)
  • 1 T yogurt with live active cultures
  • 1/2 junket tablet (what I used) or 15 drops liquid vegetable rennet (prefered)
  • 5 T salt for pickling brine

Equipment:

  • stainless steel pot with heavy bottom that holds at least 5 quarts
  • thermometer
  • long bladded knife
  • strainer
  • non-terry towel, hankies, or cotton fabric
  • bowl or bucket to catch whey
  • cheese mold and weight (more on how to make one of these below)

Slowly warm the milk in a heavy bottom, very clean pot until it reaches 86 degrees. Do not let it burn on the bottom.

Thin the yogurt with a little bit milk then stir the thinned yogurt into the large pot. Cover the milk and let it sit at room temperature for an hour. Go find something else fun to do like read some books to your kid, or doing dishes, or eat bon bons.

Dissolve the rennet tablet in 1/4 cup water, or mix the rennet drops into 1/4 cup water.

Stir the rennet water into the milk.

Cover the milk and let it sit over night or until a clean break is achieved. What’s a clean break you say? A clean break is when you can stick your clean finger into inaculated, renneted milk and when you lift it it “breaks”.

See how it broke. Isn’t that really cool? I think I danced a jig when I got to this stage. Never thought milk would “break” off of my finger. It only took a couple hours for me to reach this stage.

Now you get to cut the curd. This is almost as exciting as checking for a break, but not quite. Take a knife that is long enough to cut through down through the entire curd. Cut it horizantally then vertically into 1/2″ wide and deep towers. Now you need to cut it into cubes. Put the knife at an deep angle and cut the curd across repeat moving down the pot. Turn the pot a quarter turn and repeat. You arim is 1/2″ chunks.

Now you get to stir it. Reach your hand to the bottom of the pot and gently lift the curds from the bottom up. If a big curd appears go ahead and cut it. Continue to stir (cutting large curds) for 10-15 minutes.

Bits of curd sitting in whey. Whey cool. Ok, that was lame.

Line your strainer with a clean non-terry cloth (a towel is great) and set the strainer over a large bowl to catch the whey.

Slowly pour in the curds and whey until most of the whey has gone through.

Hang the curds above a bowl in a towl (somehow)  and let the whey continue to drip. Let it hang until it no longer drips. Go get those bon bons again, this will take a while, about 2-4 hours. Yes, it might drive you crazy. I won’t tell if you keep peeking and sneak bits of cheese, but at this point it isn’t very good. Not that I would know that from personal experience. DON’T THROW AWAY THAT WHEY! I’m gonna show you how to make riccotta from it.

Now it is time to press the cheese. This is the fun part because you get to figure out a whey to press it. Ok, that was also lame.

Here is what I rigged up. Some pvc pipe I had, a piece of white clothe I boiled to sterilize, a piece of a plastic cut to fit inside (unpictured), and cans as weights. You can use a metal can with both ends removed, a sterile piece of clothe, one end of the can to put on top of the cheese and a weight.

Put the cheese inside the “press”, place the lid on top, and weight it down. Let it stand like this overnight. Add the drained whey to your stored whey.

Remove the cheese then break it up.

Now it is time to pickle it. Dissolve the salt into 20 oz of water. (I used real salt which is why the water is brown)

Let the cheese sit in the brine for a few hours until it is salted to your taste. To test it, rinse off a few pieces (make SURE you rinse them the pickling liquid is SALTY) and taste the feta. When it is sufficiently pickled drain and rinse the cheese from excess the salt. Try to time it that you don’t finish the feta at a time you are exceptionally hungry, you might eat a bunch of it because it is SOOOOO good.

NOTE: If you do not break up the cheese before pickling it it will take 1-2 days and I was pretty impatient at this point.

Yes, there are a lot of steps and can take a couple days, but the time to do it is very minimal.

Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade
Frugal Friday at Life as Mom



Comments

  1. How many cups of feat did you get from 1 gallon of milk?

  2. Looks delish! I pinned this!

  3. I wanna try this. Thanks for the info.
    Can you put less salt than the regular feta you get at the store? or will it not keep well?
    And yes…how DO you make ricotta from the whey? I’ve got this great ricotta tart recipe, the only thing we ever buy ricotta for.