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Baked feta is a traditional Greek dish frequently served as an appetizer. It can be made from several types of feta cheese such as those made from goat's, sheep's, or cow's milk. Some well-aged feta cheese can usually yield a strong and salty taste when baked. Recipes for this dish typically call for the feta to be mixed with flavoring ingredients and softened in the oven for a relatively short time.
The amount of feta cheese required for this dish depends on the desired serving size, and cooks experienced in Greek cooking advise that this ingredient be as fresh as possible. Most packaged feta comes sealed in brine that helps to hold in its flavor. Different feta batches can have sharper tastes, depending on the length of time they are allowed to age. The cheese used in baked feta should ideally have a firm texture in order to stand up to the oven heat without running or melting too much. Many recipes have instructions for slicing the feta into relatively thin slices to ensure it softens evenly.
Flavoring ingredients for baked feta are often oregano, black, pepper, salt, and lemon juice to taste. Most recipes call for drizzling small amounts of extra virgin olive oil over the surface of the freshly-sliced feta just prior to baking. The olive oil helps the rest of the flavoring ingredients bind to the feta cheese. Some cooks also like to add thinly sliced tomatoes on top of the feta slices as well. Garlic salt or fresh minced garlic and marinara sauce are usually added to this dish as well.
Feta cheese does not melt as thoroughly under heat as do some other types of cheese with higher fat content. Baking feta in the oven gives it a soft and thick texture, and the best results usually come from using semi-hard feta. Baked feta is normally cooked for about 10 minutes in the oven at roughly 350° F (about 177° C). The dish is visibly done baking when the edges of the feta cheese become browned. Once it is removed from the oven, baked feta is often served on top of small baguette bread pieces or spread over the top of flat bread.
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