Greeks favourite feta is a soft white cheese manufactured from the milk of sheep or goat. Feta has significant importance in culinary cultures and becomes a staple to various food recipes.
Its amazing taste and texture add a new life to the recipes. But, there’s always a question about feta. Many of the people have a question that is feta cheese vegetarian?
So, today I am here to answer this question and also various yummy feta cheese substitutes.
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Is Feta Cheese Vegetarian?
And, the answer is No. The feta is not a vegetarian cheese. Feta is made of animal rennet that coagulates milk during the manufacturing of cheese. Thus, feta cheese is not vegetarian. It could be vegetarian if it is made of microbial or vegetable rennet.
Still, there are various types of feta that are vegetarian. But, feta cheese is traditionally made of animal rennet. One can try other vegetarian versions of feta.
There’s a simple deciding factor to know whether a slice of cheese is vegetarian or not. And, this deciding factor is the usage of animal rennet.
Animal rennet is an enzyme that is found in the stomachs of calves or baby goats. It is also known as renin or chymosin.
The use of animal rennet is very common in the cheese-making process. Its prime function is to coagulate milk into curd.
But, the vegetarian versions of cheese have vegetable rennet in them. It could be vegetable rennet or microbial one.
Vegetable rennet is an enzyme having the same coagulation properties as animal rennet. However, it is extracted from various vegetables. While, the microbial rennet is acquired from some species of molds.
Vegetable or microbial rennet is not as important as animal renin. And, the reason is the animal renin yields more consistent results. But still, vegetarian cheese manufacturing involves the use of vegan renin.
So, all those guys who have questions like are feta cheese vegetarian? must try the vegetarian versions of cheese.
Traditional Feta Cheese
Feta is a white soft cheese having crumbly or grainy texture. Usually, the combination of sheep or goat milk is used to produce feta commercially. Feta has become a staple to the serving tables in Greece.
Interestingly, it is of prime importance in various countries as well as throughout the world. It gives a new and luscious touch to our ordinary food recipes.
The word Feta is synonymous with the ”Slice” word in the English language. Feta is an ancient cheese and also have its roots in Greek history. Greece is a country with the highest production of feta cheese annually.
For the manufacturing process, they use fat-rich milk. This milk could either of sheep or goat. Sometimes, the mixture of both is also commonly used.
To produce feta of better quality, animal rennet is used. As it gives creamy or grainy texture to feta. This animal rennet has high proportions of the enzyme Chymosin.
And, the prime function of this enzyme is to coagulate milk into semi-solid curd. The formation of curd is the first step in the manufacturing of feta cheese. So, now you understand that why feta cheese is not vegetarian?
What Does Feta Taste Like?
Now, you have a better idea about is feta cheese vegetarian or not. So, let’s have a look at what does feta taste like? Feta is salty and a little tangy in taste.
Also, it has a buttery flavour with a crumbly texture. Feta having sheep milk in it is more creamy and delicious in taste. While the feta having goat’s milk is slightly hard.
Because of its salty or tangy flavour, feta is popular in a number of food recipes. Interestingly, feta goes great with salads, sandwiches, and pastries.
Also, feta has nutritional significance. Feta enriches with fats, proteins, and essential minerals.
Popular Types of Feta Cheese
Although a significant amount of feta is produced in Greek, many other countries also prepare feta cheese. There are almost six different varieties of feta are available.
These may differ in ingredients, method of preparation, and taste. Here I am going to discuss three major types of feta which are of prime importance.
The manufacturing process of American feta usually involves cow’s milk. So, its texture varies greatly from the traditional feta. It is more crumbly and less creamy in appearance. And, its predominant flavour is milder than ordinary feta.
It is a popular type of feta in Southern France. Its Cheese-making process involves sheep’s milk. So, the French version of feta has a more creamy and buttery texture. In contrast to traditional feta, it is milder in taste. Some types of French feta also have goats milk and are slightly tangier to taste.
In Bulgaria, the manufacturing process of feta is a little bit different. It involves the milk of ewes that is rich in fats. This version of feta is quite softer and creamier.
And, its texture is also not crumbly. In addition, its taste is more delicious and less tangy in contrast to Greek feta.
Best Feta Cheese Substitutes
If you are reading this article, then obviously you are in search of some vegan cheeses. Vegetarian cheeses are those in which there is no involvement of animal rennet.
Instead of animal rennet, vegan cheeses have microbial rennet in them. Here’s a list of all the vegetarian cheeses that will substitute feta fully. So, try them to achieve a texture in your food dishes just like feta.
The best substitute you can try to replace feta is Cream Cheese. Cream Cheese is a white soft cheese you can use in various food recipes.
I think it is a great option for all the vegetarian guys. Its major ingredients are cream and milk. And, there’s no use of animal rennet in the manufacturing process.
Cream cheese has a sweetish taste but you can add some salt to make it salty like feta. As a feta substitute, cream cheese gives you an option to use it in sweet and savoury foods as well.
Besides this, if you want a crumbly texture, then use goat cheese. Goat cheese has a salty as well as tart flavour just like feta. So, it gives your food the same touch as feta.
Another substitute for feta is Ricotta cheese. Ricotta is the best option for vegetarian guys. The production of ricotta requires milk either of goat or cow.
There’s no use of any animal enzyme for coagulation purpose. As the coagulating process of milk involves the use of organic acids.
Ricotta is less salty and tangier to taste than traditional feta. In my opinion, ricotta goes well as a topping for salads, kinds of pasta, and other food recipes. Try ricotta as a substitute for feta, surely it will delight you.
The preparation of cottage cheese involves the usage of microbial rennet instead of animal enzymes. So, cottage cheese is the best option for vegetarians.
Cottage cheese gives you the same texture as feta. But, they are different in taste. The cottage is milder in taste than feta but still goes great with the number of food items.
To match the flavour of feta, you can sprinkle some salt to the cottage cheese. Use cottage in your diet as a substitute for feta, it will really wonderful.
So, I elaborate on all the facts about traditional feta. Also making the concepts clear about is feta vegetarian or not?
Some interesting feta cheese substitutes along with their taste. Now, use all these alternatives for feta and make your dishes luscious.
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