There is nothing quite like the rich and salty, fresh and tangy taste of feta cheese. Whether crumbled on a salad, tossed in a pasta, or drizzled with olive oil and served on a flatbread, feta always brings full flavor. But how is feta cheese made? And is the feta made here in America different than the original feta cheese that hails from Greece?
In Wisconsin, our cheesemakers have been indulging our fascination with fresh feta for years now. Where the Greek original is made with sheep's and goat's milk, our feta is made with cow's milk to produce a cheese that's less gamy and a little lighter. Of course, because it's produced right here in the USA, it's also a lot fresher – which is kind of the point when it comes to fresh cheese.
Take a cruise through our website to see how feta cheese is made in Wisconsin. Search our index for an amazing mac and cheese recipe with feta or for brilliant ideas for your next wine and cheese board. Or scroll down to learn more about how feta cheese is made.
Traditionally, feta cheese is made with 100% sheep's milk or with up to 30% of goat's milk mixed in. The cheesemaker adds rennet to coagulate the milk, producing a curd that is separated from the whey and pressed into molds to drain off excess moisture. The feta is then cut into smaller blocks, salted and dried for a few days, and submerged in a salt brine where it stays for several weeks or months. When the cheese is ready for consumption, it is cut up, shipped, and sold still in its brine, typically in a plastic container. Feta will dry out fairly quickly, even when refrigerated, which is why it should be also be stored in its briny liquid.
While feta cheese made in Greece is typically made with sheep's milk or with a combination of sheep's and goat's milk, many manufacturers in the US make feta with cow's milk.
When making cheese at home, feta is a popular choice because it does not need to be aged for very long. In fact, many homemade recipes can produce a tasty feta within a couple of days.
Like burrata, goat cheese, or ricotta, feta cheese is one of a number of fresh cheeses that are not aged long enough to develop cheese rinds. Additionally, feta is continually submerged in brine, preventing a rind from forming.
Burrata cheese is another fresh cheese. Burrata is made with a shell of soft mozzarella that's filled with cream and fresh mozzarella curd.
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How is feta cheese made in Wisconsin? The short answer: fabulously. The long answer: by expert cheesemakers who have been perfecting old-world recipes and innovating new cheese varieties for 180 years.
Since before we were even a state, cheesemakers from all over the world were settling in Wisconsin and replicating the recipes from their homelands. This expertise, when paired with the amazing milk from our fertile dairyland, is responsible for producing more flavors, styles, and varieties of cheese than anywhere else. And for winning more awards for cheese than any other state or country in the world.
Today, our cheesemakers make feta cheese just as it's made in Greece – but with cow's milk for a slightly less assertive and gamy flavor. So, if you want to know where to find award-winning feta in the US of A, the short answer is: Wisconsin. The long answer: just look for a Proudly Wisconsin Cheese badge on the label of feta at your grocery store. That's when you know you've got some fabulous feta in your future.
Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?
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In Wisconsin, we make more flavors, varieties, and styles of cheese than anywhere else in the world. We believe in tradition, producing everything from Italian classics, like parmesan and ricotta, to swiss cheese and cheddar varieties. But every Wisconsin cheesemaker is an innovator as well, which is why we have so many Wisconsin originals, like colby and muenster. Whether it’s a grilled cheese sandwich, potatoes au gratin, or a charcuterie board, Wisconsin cheese makes every dish and recipe tastier.