Sunday, April 10, 2011

Simple Cheesemaking @ Formaggio Kitchen

Have I mentioned how excited I am to be moving into a space where I won't be sharing a kitchen or a refrigerator with anyone? A place where if I decide on a whim to make a huge batch of ricotta I can hang cheesecloths filled with drippy cheese everywhere?

In preparation for this joyous occasion I went to the :Simple Cheesemaking" class at Formaggio Kitchen. The bubbly Jessica taught us how to make our own butter, ricotta, and yogurt. So really it should probably have been called "Simple things to do with dairy in a slightly more solid form" but that's less catchy.

 This was the plate that greeted me upon entering the annex. Butter, ricotta, and yogurt plus some accouterments (My favorite being the Confitures de l'Ardèche blackberry preserves. They also produce an insanely good chestnut preserve as well)
This right here is the most perplexing piece of butter I have ever tasted. This is Buffalo milk butter from Campania. It has the texture of shortening and a sweet, almost vanilla flavor. I'd love to try it on French Toast or something sweet.

I did learn one very important thing while tasting all the butters. It's not really butter that I respond to, it's salt. It's not that I didn't appreciate the varying degrees of richness (though I'll take my $3 kerrygold over Plugra any day of the week) I enjoyed them so much more when I dipped them in one of the salts they had on the plate. I might be part deer. 

This is Jessica showing us how the butter seperates from the buttermilk.

The watching of the actual process of making these things is kind of hard to make interesting with photos so I'll post more when I get a chance to actually try making them myself. I'm particularly interested in making the ricotta and parlaying that into stuffed pastas. And apparently it's not that difficult to make ricotta into Ricotta Salata, which could also be a fun experiment.

My only complaint about the Formaggio classes is that it really depends on the group you have with you. I've had some hits and misses. At this particular class I sat next to a woman who vacillated between asking me to repeat everything Jessica said and shushing the girls sitting on the other side of me.

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