Why Does Your Feta Melt When Stored In Brine?

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  • #1786 Reply
    Curd Nerd

    You’ve made a lovely batch of Feta. It’s been salted and aged and now you want to store it for use later on. You’ve followed the instructions and put it in a salty brine. A few days later, it starts to soften, go slimy and ‘melt’ in the solution.

    What’s happening to make your Feta melt?

    When your Feta melts in it’s brine during storage, it is often due to either the brine having a lower calcium level, which causes the calcium to leech out of the cheese and change the structure or the pH level of the cheese is too high which means you basically don’t have enough acidity and again, calcium leeches and the cheese goes slimy and melts.

    How do you prevent your Feta from melting?

    • Use your whey, with the salt added, instead of water to make your brine. Your whey should have the correct pH and calcium balance for your cheese.
    • Add a little Calcium Chloride (CaCI2) to your brine to balance the calcium levels.
    • Add vinegar or citric acid to your brine, but not too much!
    • Age your cheese at room temperature for at least 3 days after dry salting so that the surface of the cheese toughens and the acidity is high enough to withstand the brine.

    If you really can’t get your brine balance right and your Feta melts every time don’t get too stressed about it. Simply change your storage method and keep it in Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a mason jar instead. I sometimes do this for a change anyway and add a mixture of Garlic and Rosemary, which is lovely! I then reuse the oil for salads or cooking afterwards.

    This is also a good storage method for those who don’t like their Feta too salty since there is obviously no extra salt take up from the Olive Oil.

    #1834 Reply

    I always store my soft white cheese in extra virgin olive oil as I like the way the cheese remains soft and mild.

    #2139 Reply

    Do you use the same salt proportions as with water? ie, heavy brine @23%?

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