How to make Bulgarian white cheese (Feta, Sirene)

Feta is a fresh, snow white cheese which is pickled in brine.


- 1/2 to 1 gallon of milk
- 1 Tbsp of fresh yogurt, e.g. Danon Plain
- 1/2 tablet rennet, dissolve in 1/4 cup water, e.g. Junket Rennet tablets. Alternatively, liquid rennet can be used, 4 drops per gallon. Some cheesemakers claim that Junket Rennet is not suitable for making cheese.
- a large pot with lid (stainless steel with heavy bottom is best, or enamel)
- cheese cloth or 2 clean sterile handkerchiefs
- strainer
- cheese mold
- salt

Step-by-step preparation

1. Warm milk to 30°C (86°F). Stir regularly so that it does not burn on the bottom. Remove from heat.

2. Mix 1 Tbsp. of yogurt with equal part milk to blend, then stir the blended yogurt and milk into the warmed milk to thoroughly mix. Cover and let inoculated milk sit for one hour at room temperature. Add dissolved rennet to the inoculated milk, stir to mix thoroughly.

3. Let the inoculated and "renneted" milk sit covered overnight at room temperature.

4. The next morning, the milk should have gelled. Some of the whey will have separated. Check for a clean break. Cut curd. Let the cut curds sit, with occasional stirring, for 10-15 minutes until curd is contracted.

5. Pour off some of the whey. Pour the curds into the cheese cloth or the handkerchief. Save the whey to make brine to age the cheese. Let it drain until no more whey drains out (about 2-4 hours).

6. Place drained curds into a bowl, mix in a 1/2 tsp salt, breaking up the curd.

7. Press into mold - line the can with a cheese cloth or handkerchief, place curds inside, fold over ends of cloth, place end on top, and place weight on top of that. Let sit overnight.

8. Prepare the brine (12.5% salt) - 20 oz (590 ml) of whey plus 5 Tbsp. of salt. Stir to dissolve.

9. Cut the cheese into 1.5 inch cubes, place into wide-mouth jar. Pour brine over to cover the cheese. Let pickle for several days in the refrigerator.

Related reading and videos:

Feta Cheese Recipe - David B. Fankhauser, PhD
Cheese recipes with Junket rennet tablets, by David Fankhauser, PhD
How to Make Feta Cheese
Bulgarian goat cheese sirene. - YouTube
Making Feta Cheese - YouTube
Traditional Greek Feta cheese - YouTube
Makin’ feta? You betcha! | from the Bartolini kitchens
Low Salt Feta - Little Green Cheese:

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