Full disclosure: I’m part of an online women/womxn’s group that generally supports one another in terms of businesses, needs, questions and requests for aid. It’s a great crew, and though I mostly lurk (not all that social, believe it or not), I do comment sometimes. Even better, I can learn about really neat events happening locally, even in the midst of COVID-19.
Through this group, I learned last week about a local shop hosting classes on cheesemaking, specifically mozzarella and burrata.
In perhaps this exact order, the following thoughts ran through my head:
- Cheese is a major food group in my diet (don’t judge me),
- Cheese is a perfect complement for wine (with wine studies being my main dose of formal education at the moment)… and
- I launched a blog all of two days ago about making food from home.
Friends, I believe the answer is obvious from the title that I took the class.
I completely sucked at it.
BUT IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. I MADE THINGS.
But let me back up a bit. I signed up for the class, only $30, which got me into the one hour online session via Zoom, plus materials that I needed to pick up a couple of days prior. Honestly, for everything I got out of this experience, the price was more than reasonable. More on the results in a moment.
A huge shoutout to the folks at Truffle Cheese Shop in Denver for hosting this fantastic experience. If, after reading this post, you’d like to try it for yourself, just click on their “shop” link and you can peruse not only an option to take the class, but also other yummy goodies like charcuterie boards available for purchase. Support small businesses!
For the record, I’m not going to detail everything that occurred in the class, because it would devalue the greatness that came out of it. I also want to support this local business by sending others to it.
I’ll give the minor spoiler that even if you’re not immediately local, I believe that you can still participate. If you want a way to spend a fun evening learning something new, you should absolutely take this opportunity when they offer it again.
So, on to the cheesemaking! As mentioned, I had to go and pick up some materials at the shop a couple of days prior — which was an interesting journey through the icy, snowy roads, but hey, that’s what we do for our art, yeah?
Along with the materials came a packet containing notes about additional preparation prior to class. Particular items I was missing included wooden spoons and a food thermometer. In all fairness, I really do need both of those for other projects, too, like making candy, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. The rest listed common kitchen essentials, so no sweat there.
The most important ingredient, and I cannot stress this enough, was having hot water simmering on the stove.
At the right temperature.
I’m waiting to get some feedback from the shop (so I can try again on my own) to see what went wrong with one of my cheeses, but having hot water at a constant given temperature seems to be the key to the kingdom.
Yep, lost that key down the well, unless I miss my guess. Current running theory is that it just wasn’t hot enough, despite pretty constant monitoring with my thermometer. Then again, I have a dinky electric stove in a tiny apartment, and I’m working through outside conditions of snow and snow and more fluffy white flakey goodness… so I imagine those factors had something to do with it, too.
Another thing I appreciated about this class is that they not only showed us how to make two cheeses — mozzarella and burrata — from the provided cheese curds in the materials, they also discussed the process of making your own cheese from scratch, even going so far as to show a live demo. By the end of class, they had made fresh cheese from milk on the stove! Further, participants were given the recipe so we could try it ourselves at a later date.
No worries, all; I’m totally going to be trying this at some point and posting my (likely horrendous) results!
The virtual tutorial itself was interspersed with historical background on both cheesemaking and the varieties we made tonight, insider knowledge into cheesemaking, especially necessary materials, where to source them, and how they developed over time. On top of that, our hosts Janet, Roger and Lisa showed great patience and coaching as we all muddled through the process.
(Or was that just me doing the muddling? Who knows!)
By the end of class, I had a ball of mozzarella and a mess of burrata. That said, I feel completely energized and eager to try again. Quite a bit of that energy I owe to the wonderful educators at the cheese shop. They gave me a highly enjoyable, hands-on, fully informative adventure that I would recommend to anyone with even a remote interest in how cheese is made.
Thank you so much, Truffle Cheese Shop of Denver! Most eagerly do I await the next learning opportunity!
Cheers, everyone… or should I say, cheese?