Probably the oldest cheese and today referred to as the unhealthiest cheese, which was already enjoyed by the ancient Greeks.
How is this delicious salty cheese made and what are its uses in the kitchen?
You can read about the benefits of feta consumption, nutritional values and other interesting facts in our article.
All about feta cheese
It is a soft and crumbly salty cheese from Greece, traditionally made from sheep’s milk, which naturally contains twice as much fat as cow’s milk. Feta has been around for centuries, and almost every Greek dish contains feta cheese in some form.
It’s lower in fat and calories than cheeses like cheddar or parmesan, and has more calcium and B vitamins than soft cheeses like ricotta or cottage cheese. The brine in which the cheese is pickled results in a high sodium content, so feta should not be consumed on salt-restricted diets.
Feta is creamy white in color with small holes and a crumbly texture. It usually comes in crustless square pies, but you can also find crumbled feta packaged in airtight containers without brine or added seasoning. It costs more than other regular cheeses, but a little goes a long way.
Why consume feta?
We usually read about this cheese that it is the “healthiest cheese in the world”, as it contains a large amount of substances necessary and desirable for the body. It is true that it contains a large amount of calcium and protein. However, few people know that 100 g of this cheese also contains more than 50 percent of the recommended dose of sodium for one day. Feta is a very salty cheese, and this is not so positive for our health, as well as the high fat content, which gives it an excellent taste.
Nutritional values per 100g of cheese
|265 calories||14.21 g||3.88 g||21.49 g||2.85 g|
Feta cheese contains more than 12 vitamins. Vitamin B12 (approx. 70% of the recommended daily dose), vitamin B2 (65%), vitamin B6 (33%), vitamin B5 (19%), vitamin A (14%) and vitamin B1 (13%) are the most represented.
|Vitamin B1||0.154 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.844 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.991 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.424 mg|
|Vitamin B12||1,690 µg|
|Vitamin A||125,000 RAE|
Feta cheese contains more than 10 minerals. The best represented are sodium (approx. 76% of the daily recommended dose), calcium (49%), phosphorus (48%), selenium (27%) and zinc (26%).
How is Feta cheese made?
In Greece, traditional production methods begin with the addition of rennet and casein to pasteurized or raw sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, or a mixture of both. Once the milk has thickened, the curds are separated, pressed into molds and the excess whey is removed. Cheesemakers cut the feta into smaller blocks ( feta means “sliced” in Greek), then salt and dry them for two days before immersing them in a brine where they age for one week to several months.
Unfortunately, due to the high demand for feta cheese in Greece and the restrictions on unpasteurized milk, it is difficult to find genuine Greek feta cheese outside of Greece itself. If you would like to get an original feta from us, you will have to pay extra. But you can try to make it at home from goat’s milk.
What to replace feta cheese with?
Ricotta cheese is the closest substitute for feta in terms of taste, although it is generally less salty, but the moist texture doesn’t quite match it. Salty cotija cheese crumbles like feta and is good to add to salads. Fresh or lightly aged goat cheese or Balkan cheese can also substitute for feta.
The difference between feta and Balkan cheese
The main difference is in the type of milk used in production. Balkan cheese is a completely different product, as it is made from pasteurized cow’s milk. In contrast, feta is made from raw sheep and goat milk, kept in brine for up to a year.
How to use feta in the kitchen?
Feta is easy to crumble, you can include it and as an alternative to grated mozzarella on real Italian pizza and flatbreads. It also tastes great sprinkled on stir-fried vegetables of all kinds.
If you use feta in uncooked dishes such as appetizers, let it come to room temperature for best flavor. You can serve it on an appetizer plate together with slices of crispy baguette, olives and sliced meat.
Or blend it into a dip with a little lemon juice and oil. You can also use it in a traditional quiche pie or other savory puff pastry pie . Feta is a good choice for grilled burgers and pairs particularly well with lamb.
Can feta be heat treated?
Thanks to its consistency, feta can be prepared in a cold or hot kitchen. Include it, for example, in recipes for baked dishes or savory pies. You can sprinkle feta on, for example, spaghetti or roast meat.
How to make homemade feta cheese?
This video recipe was inspired by Iranian cuisine. Compared to other recipes, it is easy and healthy.
No unhealthy chemical ingredients were used in the recipe. Make your own homemade and healthy feta cheese too!