The first class was a lesson in making ricotta, mozzarella, and burrata cheeses. I could not believe how easy it was to make fresh ricotta and I can't believe that it has taken me this long to learn. It is simply a matter of cleaning your tools thoroughly, heating some milk, adding salt and buttermilk, stirring and straining. Voila! Ricotta.
|Fresh ricotta forming curds.|
|Drained ricotta. Just add a little cream.|
|The mozzarella cooks while the ricotta cools.|
|Draining cooked mozzarella curds.|
|Mozzarella curds before shaping.|
|Vanessa salts the cooking curds.|
|Mozzarella curds have been shaped into a block. The creamy ricotta rests before stuffing the kneaded and stretched mozzarella.|
|Vanessa carefully reheats the mozzarella, which has been shaped into balls.|
|Tying the stretched and stuffed mozzarella into a pouch.|
|Finished burrata: mozzarella stuffed with creamy ricotta.|
We then prepared glazed apricots to serve with the burrata as a kind of crostini. It was fairly easy to do.
|Mise en place for the glazed apricots.|
|After the apricots were mixed with orange juice and vanilla, they were laid out on a pan.|
|The apricots were generously sprinkled with brown sugar.|
|A torch was used to brulee the apricots.|
The class easily fit into the two hour time-slot. It does seem a bit wasteful to use so much milk to make so much cheese, but the results are definitely worth it.
Vanessa recommended a book from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company called Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll. You can buy a kit for basic cheesemaking from them, or from Amazon.com, or (if you are very lucky) from a local cheese supply shop. It happens that there is a home cheese/wine/beer making shop tucked away just off Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills where I was able to find the book, vegetarian rennet, and other supplies right after I took the class. The book contains instructions for making aged cheeses as well as fresh cheeses. Even though I have a wine cellar, which would be an excellent location for aging cheese, the worry about contamination is a bit much for me to deal with. But I have no doubt I'll try my hand at some more fresh cheese really soon.
Next up, I'll write about the other class I took, based on Julia Child's work.