Greek recipes, main courses, mezes, recipes, vegetarian
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Make Your Own Cheese

Everything tastes better in Greece. Maybe it’s because when I’m there I can take the time to sit back, sip some Greek coffee and savor the food. Or maybe it is because the tomatoes truly are juicier, the fish is always fresher, and all the pites (pies) are locally baked. Whatever it is, whenever I return to the States it seems my taste buds go dormant until my next visit. I miss the tastes of Greece. Most of all, I miss all the varieties of fresh cheese.

Cherished throughout Greece, cheese makes an appearance at nearly every meal: cheese for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, served as mezes, plain or with olives, fried, or baked in pies. While feta has already won over the culinary world, many Greek regional cheeses have yet to be championed. Set your sights (and your taste buds) on Graviera, Kasseri, Kefalotyri, Kefalograviera and halloumi—all are versatile cheeses for nearly any occasion.

Then there’s ANTHOTYROS, a soft Greek cheese that’s similar to ricotta cheese and often associated with the island of Crete. Not to sound cheesy, but it’s my favorite of the all the Greek cheeses. It’s also simple to make. You eat anthotyros plain by the spoonful, stuffed in sfakianes pites (a cheese pie from Sfakia, a beautiful mountainous region of southwestern Crete), or topped on rusk bread along with tomatoes to make dakos. My family and friends love sfakianes pites and dakos, which I serve all of the time, so you needn’t go to Crete to enjoy them. Just keep reading.

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photo by Sarah Arnoff

Greeks have been making anthotyros for thousands of years with sheep’s or goat’s milk. I use good old cow’s milk from the local grocery store. To turn the milk into cheese, you add lemon juice or vinegar to the milk at the boiling point—this separates the curds from the whey. You too can be like little Miss Muffet who sat on a tuffet, eating your curds and whey but I like to stick with eating just the curds—that’s your cheese. As a bonus, the whey makes MIZITHRA cheese with a little more cook time and straining. What a sweet, soft, versatile cheese that is.

Light and creamy, anthotyros and mizithra take only a few hours to make. You’ll have a hefty batch of cheeses that will delight your cheese-addicted friends. Make your own cheese today for a taste of Greece in your own kitchen.


Make Your Own Cheese
 
Make your own cheese!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 gallons whole milk
  • ½ gallon half & half (2 quarts)
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • ¾ to 1 cup white vinegar or lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste
  • Plus 1 gallon whole milk to make the mizithra cheese
Instructions
  1. Pour the water into a large pot.
  2. Add the milk and the half and half and heat on low/medium heat.
  3. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking.
  4. Slowly bring up the heat until the milk first begins to bubble, at the boiling point. Add in buttermilk and stir vigorously.
  5. Quickly reduce the heat or remove from stove and slowly add vinegar or lemon juice to the pot.
  6. The milk will start forming lumps, these are the cheese curds and the liquid is the whey.*
  7. With a slotted spoon, spoon out the curds and place them in a colander lined with cheesecloth. It tastes great warm.
  8. Allow to drain until it forms the texture you like. The longer it strains, the more firm the cheese.
  9. Salt, or even add pepper, to taste or enjoy plain.
Notes
*Note: Don’t throw the whey away! Make mizithra. Strain the whey thoroughly, until not even little bits of curd remain. Next, again bring up the heat. As soon as the whey begins boiling, turn down the heat and add 1 gallon of whole milk. Curds will again form. Stir curds around for a 2-3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon and put these curds into a separate colander. This soft cheese can be eaten fresh just like the first batch of anthotyros.

 

12 Comments

  1. Eleni Phillips says

    I love anthóturo also my dear, so I I think koukla mou Eleni I’ll try to make some. Wish me luck🙈😁

    • elenisaltas says

      So happy to hear that, let me know how it goes! It’s much easier than you think. Also, great name 😉

  2. Just to clarify, you use 2 gallons of milk for the mizithra, pour in pot and add the rest of ingredients as listed?

    • elenisaltas says

      Sorry if that is confusing, Yes I use one the two gallons of milk first along with the first set of ingredients. That first batch makes anthotyros. You can stop there and just use that cheese. But, with the whey that is leftover you add another gallon of milk to make mizithra cheese.
      It does make a lot of cheese!

  3. Hi Eleni, I halved your recipe but otherwise followed your instructions exactly and the anthrotyros is amazing! Perfect for dakos (or just eating with a spoon.) Thank you so much.

    • elenisaltas says

      So happy to hear that It worked out for you! Definitely a great topping for dakos. Thanks for giving this recipe a try!

  4. Jeremy Thorpe says

    Hi Eleni!!!,
    I’m super-excited to try this cheese recipe because these are my favourites!
    After reading the comments I’m now a little confused and so I’d like to clarify…
    …..you use 2 gallons of whole milk, but you only use 1 gallon for the antithesis and you keep back the final gallon for the end to make the myzithra?
    Also you say 3/4 to 1 cup of vinegar or lemon juice….
    Is this 3/4 cup vinegar or 1 cup lemon juice OR …..3/4 – 1cup of either(to taste)?
    Are you Cretan or just Greek? (as the Cretans would joke))
    Where did you get this recipe from?
    I would love to ask you a few things about Crete if possible, I lived there for 18 months including 9months in Gavdos and my final 6 months in Matala in a cave.
    Jeremyartist@yahoo.com I’m trying to write a guide to Crete and I have a few questions, thanks so much for this recipe!!!! Amazing)))

    • elenisaltas says

      Hi Jeremy, love the enthusiasm over cheese! I use the two gallons of milk for the first batch, and then another gallon later to make mizithra. You don’t have to do the last step to make mizithra, but I figured if you have the whey then you might as well! Basically, you need the acidity to separate the curds from the whey so you can either use the lemon juice or vinegar, I go with vinegar. Whatever you choose, use about 3/4 cup to 1 cup. Pour It in slowly, not all at once until you see some lumps forming and stir stir stir around! I’ll email you with the rest of the questions.. lol hope this helps!

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