fresh Mozzarella and fresh Ricotta – Viking class

Yes, you read that correctly.  We made fresh, warm, mozzarella cheese from cut curd.  And, using whole milk and heavy cream, we made fresh ricotta with a subtle hint of lemon.  The Viking class was small and intimate, allowing ample discussion time.

Since purchasing this book last summer, I’m on a quest to taste as many cheeses as possible.  I choose a new one from the Whole Foods counter once or twice a month. Not knowing the flavor of what I choose is half the fun.

The class began with brief introductions and – let’s get started!

curd, previously frozen; it seems that finding curd locally is somewhat difficult
(online sources include Golden Age Cheese in NY and Todaro Brothers in NY)

cutting the curd as thinly as possible

smaller curds will melt more evenly in the boiling water
added a little salt to the curd and hot water; 
v e r y   s l o w l y work the warm, melted curd, moving as if tossing a green salad
The goal is to develop a smooth, creamy mozzarella; 
too much handling and the cheese will be rubbery.
We formed the cheese into a ball, pulling the sides toward the bottom as if forming a loaf of bread.
Mozzarella cooling in cold buttermilk:
Kelly removing her cheese from the buttermilk and placing it in a plastic bag for storage in the refrigerator.  We added some of the buttermilk to the bag to prevent crust formation on our newly-made cheese.
My mozzarella, pictured the next day coated with olive oil and Herbes de Provence.  Taste testers were impressed that I made the cheese and highly complimentary of the flavor.
my last bite—
cheese is beginning to form a crust on edge, but center remains smooth-day 6
Making ricotta-
Mise en place

 Though ricotta is traditionally made with whey, we used whole milk, heavy cream, lemon juice, and salt…
(vinegar, rather than lemon juice, would yield a more neutral flavored ricotta)
…and low heat

The class had an extended conversation related to stirring.
Our team stirred very little during the heating process.  Our cheese making process resulted in a smooth texture, fine curd ricotta, with a subtle hint of lemon. 
watch closely for the curd to form

 our first taste

 we always appreciate instructor Tanya’s assistance

 preparing several layers of cheesecloth
It’s time to pour our cheese into the cheesecloth; extra hands are very helpful
notice the thickness of the mixture
our yield

 preparing to tie the bag…

 …and hang to drain

The cheese tasting portion of the class included several cheese selections as well as parings.
Viewing the cheese plate, the wine glass is at 1:00.  
Our first tasting was the cheese at 12:00, and we worked clockwise around the plate.
Silver Goat
creamy white
goat’s milk; cheese produced in Canada
paring:  tomato jam and the most wonderful flavored almonds
(whole almonds, egg white, sugar, salt, pepper, and finely chopped rosemary)
waxed rind embossed with embossed black herringbone design
aged 3 months
mixture of sheep, cow, and goat’s milk; cheese produced in Spain
paring:  sweet quince paste, sweet chutney, grapes 
reddish brown rind developed from tomato/olive oil wash
aged 20 days to 4 months
(alternative to parmesan)
ewe’s milk; cheese produced in Tuscan region in central Italy
paring:  bitter spicy olives, nuts, grapes, Granny Smith or Pink Lady apple slices

Grand Camembert
edible soft, washed rind
cow’s milk; cheese produced in France
very mild cheese, wrapped in paper
(in Brie family)
paring: fig/almond cake, fresh raspberries

Chaumes (pronounced Shohm)
orange soft washed rind
aged 4 weeks
cow’s milk; cheese produced in south west France
soft, creamy, buttery cheese, melts easily and is delicious
paring:  grapes
(softer the cheese – higher the fat content)

herbal brine/wine/cider wash forms golden rind

  • “Classic”. Aged three to four months. The wheels are wrapped in a silver label.
  • “Surchoix”. Aged four to six months. Gold label.
  • “Extra”. Aged six months or longer. Black 
cow’s milk; cheese produced in north east Switzerland
firm cheese
paring:  sweet pickles, sweet German mustard (delicious!! with this cheese)

aged 1 year
cow’s milk; cheese produced in Ireland
semi firm, yellow cheese
paring: pickled vegetables with hint of worcestershire 

Center of cheese plate
cow’s milk; produced in England

forms it’s own crust/coat
strong flavor
paring:  chutney, raspberries, strawberries, Granny Smith apple slices, pears, steak

the table….after the feast

notice the footed cake stand in the center of the table…
cheesecake truffles – made of cream cheese, butter, amaretto, powdered sugar, dried cherries, chocolate chips, and rolled in finely crushed graham cracker crumbs

This was a very informative and enjoyable class.  If you enjoy cheese, this IS the class for you!