Those of us who enjoy Greek cuisine know that Feta cheese is a key ingredient. It’s salty, tangy, and delicious on its own or as part of a tasty salad. And while it tastes fantastic, it’s not easy to melt. It always seems to end up dry and crumbly instead of creamy and smooth.
But what if there was a way to avoid all that? Say, a way that didn’t involve you standing over a hot stove stirring furiously as your cheese drips into a puddle of goo?
Well, good news: There is! You can quickly melt Feta cheese in your microwave. It’s fast, simple, and yields delicious results every time.
Here’s how to melt feta cheese in the microwave.
First, let your cheese sit at room temperature for a few minutes. Next, crumble it into small pieces and place it on a microwave-safe plate or bowl. Add a pinch of cornstarch, then drizzle with a bit of milk. Nuke it in 30-second increments on medium, stirring until smooth and creamy after each round.
In today’s article, we’ll go over each of these steps and give tips along the way. We’ll also address a few critical concerns about microwaving your cheese and explain why it’s perfectly safe.
Can You Melt Feta Cheese in the Microwave?
You can melt Feta cheese in a microwave; however, it calls for some special attention. Feta is high in acidity content which prevents it from melting easily and instead causes it to form clumps or a stringy texture.
So how do you get around that?
The trick is to add a drizzle of starch-based thickeners like cornstarch or flour and then a dash of milk. This will help break down those acid bonds, allowing your Feta cheese to melt without clumping.
However, don’t overdo it with either ingredient. If too much milk is added, it will dilute your cheese and change its flavour profile. While too much starch will make your Feta taste chalky. So go easy on both until you find a ratio that works for you.
The final part is letting your cheese sit out at room temperature for a few minutes before microwaving. This will ensure that your cheese is as soft and pliable as possible when you’re ready to melt it.
Why Did My Feta Cheese not Melt?
The high acidity content of Feta makes it a tricky type of cheese to melt.
For instance, a 150 g (5-ounce) block of Feta contains an average pH value of 4.6 (slightly acidic). That’s significantly lower than most other cheeses, which typically fall between 5 and 6 on the pH scale.
So, how does pH affect the melting of your Feta cheese? Well, let’s break it down.
A food’s acidity is proportional to its pH value, and vice versa. In our case, Feta cheese has a low pH level, indicating that it is high in acidity.
As a result, its acid level dissolves calcium, which binds its protein chains. When exposed to heat, these protein chains tighten and release moisture, leaving not enough to melt the cheese.
Instead of melting, your Feta becomes dense and soft, and when baked, it forms a nice crispy brown crust.
However, all is not lost. You can increase the calcium content of your Feta cheese by sprinkling it with a little starch. This will help dissolve some of the acids and give you a better chance of getting your cheese to melt.
How Long to Melt Feta Cheese in the Microwave?
It depends on how much cheese you are trying to melt, your microwave’s wattage, and its temperature. A general rule is to microwave it in 30-second bursts until it melts.
And because it is difficult to melt, you’re advised to add a splash of milk to make it easier.
On top of that, crush your Feta into tiny bits to speed up the melting process. This way, the microwaves will penetrate them better and get them soft and gooey faster. Learn more on how to microwave American cheese in the microwave.
Tips for Melting Feta Cheese in the Microwave
Although difficult, it is possible to melt Feta cheese in a microwave. If you’re looking for an easy way to do so, try these tips:
- Use only designated or approved microwaveable containers when melting Feta cheese. A glass or ceramic bowl is best, as plastic can melt and contaminate your food. Also, avoid metal bowls, as they may cause sparks resulting in a fire.
- Allow your Feta cheese to reach room temperature before microwaving it to make melting easier. However, exceeding more than two hours at room temperature can result in spoilage.
- Crush your Feta cheese into small pieces before heating it, large chunks will take longer to melt and burn. However, be careful not to make it too fine, resulting in a watery texture.
- Do not overheat your Feta cheese, as it may curdle and become unusable. Instead, heat it on medium power in 30-second intervals. This gives you more control over the heating process and ensures that your cheese does not boil or burn.
- Stir your Feta cheese while heating to evenly distribute the heat and prevent burning. If your Feta cheese burns, discard it immediately, as per food safety guidelines. Burnt cheese may contain carcinogens that are harmful if consumed.
- Since Feta cheese does not melt easily, add a pinch of cornstarch to help it along. Starch will keep your it smooth and creamy by preventing protein clumping.
How to Melt Feta Cheese in the Microwave?
A simple step-by-step guide for how to melt Feta cheese in a microwave.
Step 1: Let it sit at Room Temperature
The first step is to take your Feta cheese out of the fridge and let it sit on your counter for about 30 minutes. If it was not refrigerated, skip ahead to step two.
Step 2: Crumble into Tiny Bits
You can use a knife or your hands to crumble your Feta cheese. The smaller it is, the faster it melts.
Step 3: Spread Your Crumbles on a Plate or a Tray
Make sure the bowl you use is microwave-safe. Spread your crumbled Feta cheese in an even layer on the bowl to make melting easier.
Step 4: Sprinkle With a bit of Cornstarch and Milk
Add about 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch and one tablespoon of milk to your Feta cheese. You can gradually increase these amounts until you find what works best.
Step 5: Zap It in Your Microwave for 30 Seconds
Put your bowl into your microwave and cook in 30-second increments, stirring each time. Use medium power to ensure you don’t overheat it, as Feta cheese can easily burn. Continue nuking and stirring until you have a melted cheese that is smooth, creamy, and spreadable.
Step 6: Use it on Sandwiches, Pasta, and More
Remove your bowl from the microwave and let your Feta cheese cool for a few minutes. You can use it immediately or store it in an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. Serve over pasta or as a sandwich spread.
Faqs on How to Melt Feta Cheese in the Microwave
1. Why does Feta cheese spark in the microwave?
Feta cheese is mainly made from sheep’s milk, which contains traces of minerals such as magnesium and zinc. When these metals come into contact with microwaves, they bounce and collide, creating sparks that can ignite if exposed to oxygen.
2. Will Greek Feta melt?
Although difficult due to its high acidic content, it is possible to melt Greek Feta cheese. To prevent clumping and ensure even melting, add a pinch of starch. Also, keep the heat low to medium to avoid burning it.
3. Will Feta melt into a sauce?
Yes, Feta cheese will melt into a sauce, but it will require adding a splash of milk or water. Milk is preferable as it creates a creamier texture. The amount you use depends on how much cheese you melt and how smooth you want your finished product.
4. Is Feta cheese healthy?
Unlike most cheeses, Feta is low in fat and high in protein. This is particularly important for people who want to lose weight or lower their cholesterol levels. It’s also high in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin B12. It does, however, contain lactose (milk sugar), so those who are lactose intolerant should avoid it.
5. Can you eat Feta cheese raw?
Yes, you can eat Feta cheese raw. It’s so versatile that you can use it as a condiment or as an ingredient in various recipes. Some people first melt it and then drizzle it over their favourite foods. Others enjoy eating it straight out of its container.
No matter how you choose to enjoy your Feta cheese, make sure it is always served at room temperature. This will allow for optimal flavour and texture when eaten.
6. How to store Feta cheese?
You can store Feta cheese for a week in your refrigerator. However, store it in a brine solution if you want it to last longer. Simply add one tablespoon of salt per quart of water and submerge your Feta cheese in it. Keep it in an enclosed container for up to six weeks.
Once you’re ready to use it again, just drain off any excess liquid and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours before melting.
7. How do you increase the shelf life of Feta cheese?
Due to its crunchy texture, Feta cheese is more likely than other cheeses to dry out. To extend its shelf life, you can immerse it in a brine solution and store it in an enclosed container in your refrigerator. However, this process will only last for about four to six weeks.
If you want to preserve your Feta longer, try freezing it. This method should allow you to keep it fresh for up to six months.
By following a few simple rules, you can easily melt Feta cheese in your microwave.
Unlike other cheeses, Feta has high acidity and moisture content, making it difficult to melt. Adding a splash of starch and milk eliminate these problems and makes melting a breeze. Starch prevents clumping, while milk creates an even consistency.
These guidelines, paired with short intervals of heating and frequent stirring, will help you melt Feta cheese fast and easily.