If there is one thing most of the pathetically polarized American populous can agree upon these days I propose it is this:
CHEESE IS AWESOME.
This uniting sentiment is why I found myself in a beautiful event space in Brooklyn, my hands covered in curds and whey.
A perfect modern update on Little Miss Muffet but no spiders NOR cockroaches sat down next to me, thank you very much!
I attended a cheese making class where we learned how to turn milk into mozzarella.
Hosted by two unique Brooklyn organizations that focus on eating local and sustainability, Our Name Is Farm and Agritecture made sure we were well fed while being schooled by the adorable Jeanine aka The Cheese Teacher.
Yummy focaccia breads from Simon’s Breads, perfectly paired wines from Vinfluence, and gallons of shockingly fresh milk from Five Acre Farms,: this is the recipe for an evening that is equal part classy and cheesy. AKA the best of both worlds.
If you’re not intimidated by cheese cloths and heating up large quantities of milk to high temperatures, cheese is surprisingly simple to make.
It’s also a little gross.
Rennet is the secret ingredient for making cheese. I’d never heard of it before but learned that rennet is an enzyme from the stomach of a cow. A little gross, right? Gross but magical. It’s what allows the proteins in the liquid milk to bond to create solid cheese!
It takes a good amount of smooshing and squeezing to get the milk mush to start resembling the mozzarella we all know and love. But suddenly you pick it up and oooo!
That’s doing exactly what you want pizza cheese to do!
Then you start not exactly rolling…more like bubbling the cheese into balls. You stuff the edges in towards the base and get something that doesn’t look exactly like the cheese balls you’re used to, but pretty close.
Then let it sit in salt water for a while.
For full directions on making cheese, I absolutely recommend one of The Cheese Teacher‘s classes. It would make a great date!
Or, if you’re really brave, you can try it on your own. This is a pretty thorough step-by-step tutorial claiming 30 minutes and 4 ingredients: How To Make Fresh Mozarella Cheese At Home.
Salt, pepper, and olive oil are must-haves. It’s late summer and the height of tomato season, so it’s the best time to be all about Caprese as well. A
And wine! What’s bread and cheese without wine!?
photo: Our Name Is Farm
Shannon, the founder of the wine club Vinfluence, took us through a traditional tasting of 3 whites and 3 reds. All the wines in her club are from small wineries in the USA – products that are not easy to find in a market with massive wineries that drown out the little guys.
I’m still not sophisticated enough to truly appreciate aspirating, but I did appreciate the unique flavor of every wine we tasted. If you want to level up from Trader Joe’s Wine Shop and start exploring to find out tastes you really like WHILE supporting actual family businesses, you need to check out Vinfluence. Or give it as a really sweet wedding present to your favorite wine snob couple. They’ll be impressed.
Follow Agritecture on Facebook to see what fun food & farm events and workshops they have coming up this fall! Or just stop by 10AM-6PM for some amazing urban grown greens!