Almond feta is staple in our fridge. It’s fabulous in salads, on sandwiches, cubed and herbed to serve as part of an appetizer tray. If you make it, please let us know what you think.
Soy-Free | Oil-Free | Gluten-Free | Yield: About 1 pound
Equipment: high-powered blender | 5-quart non-stick pan | stainless steel fork | 4 cup (or larger) heat-safe lidded glass container
- 1½ cups blanched marcona almonds
- 1¼ cups cold water, divided
- ¼ cup oil-free kalamata olive brine
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp salt
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp agar powder
Place a fork into the freezer to chill.
Process almonds, 1 cup water, brine, vinegar, salt, onion powder and garlic powder in high-powered blender 5 to 10 minutes until the mixture is smooth, thick and steamy hot. If the mixture becomes too thick to circulate in the blender, add water or white vinegar 1 to 2 Tbsp at a time to get it moving.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick pan, whisk together ¼ cup COLD water and agar until well combined. Place the pot on the burner with the heat OFF.
Add the cheese mixture to the agar mixture and immediately begin whisking to incorporate. Once the agar is fully incorporated, turn the heat on medium and cook, stirring constantly for 7 to 15 minutes until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pot, becomes one large mass and no longer sticks to the stirring utensil. Be patient, this will take time. Do not undercook!
Test the feta: Dip the tines of a cold fork into the feta and let the fork sit aside for a minute. If the feta begins firming up on the fork you can safely proceed with the next step. If not, continue cooking for a few minutes longer and repeat the fork test.
Turn the mixture into heat-safe glass container, pressing firmly to level it. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then place in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 12 to 24 hours.
Remove the cheese from the mold by placing the lid on the container, then turn the container upside down and tap gently until the cheese falls onto the lid. If necessary, gently insert a butterknife along the sides of the cheese to loosen it, then try unmolding again. The cheese is now on the lid. Place it in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 24 hours.
Next day: the cheese is ready! It may be sliced, crumbled or wrapped whole. To crumble, use fingers or a fork. Store in an airtight container in the coldest part of the refrigerator for longest life – 2 weeks or more.
- A large pot is required for best results as it affords enough surface area for the cheese to cook uniformly.
- Chill the fork in the freezer for best testing results.
- Substitute any blanched/peeled almonds.
- Substitute red wine vinegar for the olive brine.
- Undercooking will result in a soft, spreadable cheese that will not slice or crumble. When in doubt, cook longer.