When we think of Feta cheese, we think of Greece. You will rarely find a Greek kitchen without it. It is crumbled into soups and salads or tossed in with vegetables and grains. It is also filled into pies and pastries or served to be eaten plain. No wonder, the Greeks have a rep of being the largest consumers of cheese in the world. Greek Feta cheese features in the list of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) products and has been declared as the only “authentic” feta cheese by the European Union.
However, owing to its amazing flavor, that can pick up any dish, Feta has become a popular delicacy outside Greece too. But, the change in the country of origin has also varied the choice of milk used to make it. In addition to sheep and goat’s milk, cow’s milk is now being used to produce feta cheese. Here’s more on cow milk feta cheese.
The Scoop on Real Feta
Feta cheese goes back to the 8th Century BC. Traditionally, it has been made purely of sheep’s milk and aged in brine. The brine intensified the saltiness of the cheese. Later, goat’s milk was added to the formula to reduce its piquancy. As per the EU directives, not all feta is real feta. It recognizes only the cheese produced in select regions – Macedonia, Thrace, Thessaly Mainland Greece, Peloponnese, and Lesvos, Epirus – as the authentic type. Also, if it contains goat’s milk, the proportion should not exceed 30%. To add, there are specifications of fat, protein, salt, and moisture. All the others are labeled “feta-type” cheese.
The geographical region, temperature, and aging process and duration have a significant bearing on the taste and texture of the cheese. In fact, the diet of livestock gives the Greek Feta cheese its unique flavor. The other varieties include Bulgarian, French, and Israeli feta cheese.
Feta cheese became popular not only for its taste but also for its nutritive value. It has few calories and more vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. Hence, it has become the go-to cheese option.
Can Feta be made with Cow’s milk?
In many places, cow’s milk has replaced sheep milk as the chief ingredient. The main reason is the higher availability of cow’s milk and lower per-gallon price. The yield of goat and sheep milk is lower and hence more expensive. Feta cheese made from sheep’s milk is quite different from that of cow’s milk. Sheep milk feta cheese is white in color. It is soft and has a dry, crumbly texture. This cheese variety also stands out for its sharp, salty flavor.
There is a marked difference in the taste of cow milk feta cheese. Cow’s milk tones down the strong tangy taste of the sheep milk variant. Thus, it has a mild saltiness; on the contrary, it is slightly sour in taste. Cow milk feta cheese is creamier and smoother. It also crumbles more. Making cow milk feta cheese often involves adding live cultures to give the cheese the typical tart finish. There are differences in the nutrient profile too with cow’s milk feta cheese having a higher caloric content and being heavier to digest. The Danish, Canadian, and Australian feta cheese is made of cow’s milk.
Sheep or cow milk feta cheese is quite versatile and can be used in a wide range of dishes from appetizers to salads to desserts. The supermarket aisle of Serdika Foods has plenty of varieties to choose from, and you can always place an order: https://www.serdikabg.com/cow-cheese. Taste it before you make your pick.