Posted by: Joan Spiller | May 24, 2013

Cheese making classes (NZ)


Some of you may recall I once blogged about attending some cooking classes in Wellington. These were held by a fabulously talented lady called Mindi.. So tis fair to say when I saw the brand namecurious cook”  advertising some well-priced cheese making classes, I leapt at the chance to go there as I knew it was something she was involved in!

And so it was that I found myself up to my wrists in curds (and whey – but no spiders, phew!) over the weekend ..

The venue was a place I’ve been to before, Asiana Cooking school. I don’t know that the classroom set up was ideal for a demonstration (I was doing two things – a demo and then a hands on class) but the tutor tried her best in a sub-optimal setting for such a thing.

If I was to be super critical, I’d say she tried to give us too much and it backfired on her. One pot of milk didn’t do as it was told (hate when that happens!) and it got a little confusing to be taught at high speed about ricotta and yoghurt when the demo was advertised as being about mascarpone and mozarella. Like I said, I think she was trying to be generous but looking around the room, I don’t think I was the only one who got a little confused.

The positive side of it was we all had a hand in the whey and were given a shot and making a mozzarella ball .. that was cool. And we got to taste assorted goodies, such as her home made ricotta (“here’s one I prepared earlier” sort of thing) and some mascarpone, also made the day before. Interestingly – and no criticism of the class / tutor: I didn’t like the mascarpone and wouldn’t use that recipe. So I was a little annoyed at that cos man oh man masc is expensive so I was excited to be able to make my own. That said, I am pretty sure I can adapt the recipe now I’ve seen it made – and see if I can’t get it to taste how I prefer it.

And I’m reasonably confident if I called Alexis, I would be given any tips and hints to help me with this. Who is Alexis? Alexis took over from Mindi and is now “the” curious cook 🙂

The afternoon session saw us donning styley bandanas and gloves, armed with alcohol based sanitiser as we walked into the classroom.

Hygiene is critical, that was what I’d always heard and it seems to be the case. Later that day as I plunged my hand into the huge container of curds to break them up and form my haloumi I understood why it would be so important ..

Long story short, we made haloumi and ricotta. And would I make it again? Yes. So that is exciting cos I LOVE haloumi. Ricotta, I’d make again, not only is it super easy, it’s so bloody expensive in the shops so making my own is a no brainer. I even bought a cute little ricotta basket, during the class!

For all I don’t imagine cheese making will become my “go to” fun activity simply because it’s quite a science and between thermometers, chemicals and the whole “it could still go wrong” thing – it won’t be something I’ll find relaxing, it is something I’d do when I am in the mood and if I wanted to save money then it’s definitely something I’d do often!

So, to anyone wanting to go on a cheese making class, I’d say go for it. It could even be a fun activity for a group of friends and something a bit different to the usual tupperware party! 

The tutors name and details are here

Say Cheese 🙂

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. I so want to give cheese making a go

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    • I dunno if Alexis comes to Hamilton but it’s worth a go maybe? She is lovely .. her details are in my post.. I made ricotta last night and it’s SO simple, makes me go “ungh” to think of the times I paid so much for average ricotta in the shops! Next on the list to make “unaided” is haloumi!

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      • Ill give her an email and see… I love haloumi especially!!

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  2. Re-blogged, as some of my readers are veggies and some are vegans, but even the others should like this! ~ Linne

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    • Thank you! (And I learned, which really was cool!) that you can get vegetarian rennet to make cheeses with – the class was worth every penny for that alone!

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  3. Reblogged this on A Random Harvest and commented:
    Sometimes it’s good to get in the whey . . .

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  4. I would love to make my own soft cheeses because I love them but refuse to pay those prices nowadays…maybe if you do some in the future you could share on here so I learn from you the easy way 🙂

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    • hahah it’s a deal. I will be making ricotta later today. And may have a hack at making mozz later .. will see how I feel ..

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      • Ooooh, good lol. Will be waiting….I bought a magazine a couple of weeks ago because it showed how to make ricotta but haven’t tried yet.

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  5. Have you ever heard of Paneer? It’s an Indian cheese that you can easily make at home without thermometers or chemicals. A lot of recipes will label it as cottage cheese but it tastes more like mozzarella.

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    • hi yeah I’ve made it once but botched it royally lol I should give it another go, thanks for the comment / suggestion Megan 🙂

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      • I’m curious, how did it go wrong? I’ve made Paneer several times myself and I was getting ready to post a recipe for it on my blog in a week or so, I’d be interested to know what went wrong, since it might be something I’d want to address.

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      • oh gosh it was ages ago now .. If I recall I think it didn’t set properly so ended up very cottage cheesy?

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      • Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind when I’m writing the recipe. I hope you try it again some day.

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      • I will keep an eye out and definitely try it again thanks!

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