While overall, cheese tends to be universally positive, feta is one of the more decisive cheeses. Like blue cheese, it may be a bit of an acquired taste. But for those who love it, it’s high on their lists of top cheeses.
Overall, feta cheese is salty, tangy, and rich. Depending on whether it is made with goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, or cow’s milk will change the flavor slightly. Often there is a hint of lemon in the finish, but it’s not overwhelming.
Traditionally, feta cheese was made with goat’s and sheep’s milk. And technically, to be classified as feta it does need to be made from one of these animals. However, there are feta-like cheeses that are made from cow’s milk, as well.
Depending on which animal the cheese is made from, the taste of the cheese may be different. In addition, the length of time the cheese has aged can also alter the flavor and texture of the cheese.
Generally, when we talk about feta, it’s made in Greece.
As mentioned, traditional feta is made from sheep and goat’s milk. Often they are combined together, but their tastes can vary depending on the ratio.
A cheese made from more sheep’s milk will have a more buttery flavor. It will also be somewhat richer. The texture is generally more creamy.
When it contains more goat’s milk, the feta will be milder and have slightly less flavor. Feta cheese made with goat’s milk will also be more crumbly and somewhat harder.
Other Types of Feta
In addition to the animal it is made from, specific places also tend to have feta that is flavored differently. This is mostly due to what the animals are eating and the process of making the cheese.
Greek feta is generally made from a combination of sheep and goat’s milk. However, feta in other places sometimes uses only one type of milk.
Feta made in Israel is most often made from sheep’s milk. It tends to be less salty than others and has a creamy texture.
Feta made in France is typically made with sheep’s milk. It’s milder than Greek feta and has a fairly creamy texture. However, when made with goat’s milk, the French version is drier and tangier.
Bulgarian feta is almost always made with sheep’s milk. That makes the cheese fairly creamy. However, unlike other fetas, Bulgarian tends to have a yeast-like, somewhat grassy flavor to it. It’s also a tangy cheese, but the saltiness varies.
American feta cheese is often made with cow’s milk, which means technically it isn’t actually feta. However, it is often treated as and used in the same way feta is.
This feta tends to be more tangy than salty and often has more of a crumble than a creaminess.
The amount of time the feta cheese is aged will alter both its taste and texture.
The cheese is placed in a brine solution for anywhere between two months a year.
The longer you age the feta the more peppery it becomes. In addition, it also becomes harder as it ages.
Unlike other cheeses which are often soft and mild, feta cheese is hard and crumbly. It has a wonderful salty, tangy flavor.
Depending on the type of animal the milk comes from, the cheese can be either a stronger or milder flavor. If you want a sharp, tangy taste, try to find some Greek feta. However, you want a less intense flavor, look for a French feta that hasn’t aged long.