Both feta cheese and cheese are fermented milk products. Moreover, they are close "relatives" - that is, similar technologies are used in their manufacture. However, there are still differences, so let's look at how cheese differs from cheese and what they have in common.
From the history of cheese
Making cheese began in such hoary antiquity, which now, perhaps, no one will say - exactly when this happened: most likely, immediately after the domestication of cows and other animals that give milk. The word "cheese" is of ancient Slavic origin, and now it sounds similar in all Slavic languages: sir (Ukraine, Serbia), sir (Croatia, Slovenia), sirene (Bulgaria), ser (Poland), and so on. Over the millennia, the technology of cheese production has improved, which has led to the emergence of different varieties of the product. According to the data available today, the ancient inhabitants of Europe and the nomads of the Great Steppe made cheese for a long time, but the Chinese, most likely, did not know it.
The difference between feta cheese and cheese is that it is produced using a different technology (more on that below). It can be said with certainty that the word "brynza" in the form of brânză is recorded in the language of the ancient Thracian tribes - the Getae and Dacians; and from them it passed into the Romanian language, and later into Russian. That is, the area of settlement of the Thracians (north of the Balkan Peninsula) is one of the areas where cheese was made for a long time. In addition, there is an Arab legend that the Bedouins, transporting milk in leather bags, could receive feta cheese as a result of the heat and shaking. At the same time, sometimes even the name of the “inventor” is called - Kanan. However, apparently, this is just a legend, because the Arabs did not develop a full-fledged culture of making this product.
So, now let's figure out what is the difference between technologies for the production of feta cheese and cheese. The general scheme of cheese production looks like this: milk is taken, which, after adding rennet, curdles. After removing excess liquid, the resulting mass is heated, salted and left to mature (sometimes for several months or even years). But each type of cheese has its own manufacturing nuances: for example, different ripening times, various additives, including some varieties of mold and a number of types of bacteria. Cheeses are divided into hard and soft varieties, and the taste of hard varieties is appreciated more than soft ones.
The main difference between the cheese production technology is simplicity and speed. Rennet whey is used to ferment milk, just like in the production of regular cheese. All actions accompanying milk fermentation and subsequent dehydration of the resulting composition take about 2-2.5 hours. Then the product is placed in a container with brine and kept there for about five days. And that's all - the cheese is ready, welcome to the table! You can keep it both in a container with brine, which is not always convenient, or simply in the refrigerator. Some varieties of feta cheese are left in brine for about a day, after which they are taken out, sprinkled with salt and stored like that. In a word, here, as in the production of ordinary cheeses, there is also room for imagination and gastronomic delights.
Extracting feta cheese in brine is a "feature" that distinguishes it from traditional cheeses. It is clear that due to constant contact with a saturated saline solution, there is much more salt in feta cheese than in ordinary cheese. Besides cheese, pickled cheeses include Georgian suluguni, Armenian chechil, Greek feta and some others. Cheese and similar cheeses are an important component of Caucasian, Eastern European and Balkan cuisine. It is used as a cold appetizer and as an ingredient in many dishes. The Ukrainian city of Rakhiv (Transcarpathian region) even hosts an annual feta cheese festival.
The answer to the question, what is the difference between feta cheese and cheese, is obvious. Cheese is a member of a large cheese family, belonging to the "fraction" of pickled cheeses and differing in some peculiarities of preparation and storage. The differences between these products are summarized in this table.
|Milk of a number of domestic animals is fermented using rennet, then, after removing excess liquid from the resulting mass, it is kept in brine for several days
|Milk of a number of domestic animals is fermented using rennet, then after removing excess liquid from the resulting mass, the product is left to ripen for a rather long period of time - several months or even years
|In a container with brine or in a refrigerator
|In a special room or in the refrigerator
|In the gastronomic use of classic cheese and feta cheese almost everything is the same. Small differences can be only in the preparation of some national dishes