22 Warren St
(between Broadway & Church St)
New York, NY 10007
Y.N. is the queen at finding food deals (did you know you could sign up for Red Mango’s mailing list and get a free froyo? Y.N. did.) and cooking classes. She invited me to a mozzarella-making class she bought on Groupon. I’ve started learning a lot more about cheese from my cheese connoisseur roommate, B.A., who used to work at Murray’s Cheese Shop, so decided to take the plunge and join Y.N., M.F., and R.C. on this cheese-capade. The class was hosted by Brick, an Italian restaurant in the heart of Tribeca. The restaurant is supposed to be medicore (according to Yelp), which may be why they are offering classes on Groupon. The class was about $34 per person with the Groupon and included 1 bottle of wine between two people, a little plate of antipasti, and enough cheese curds to make a little ball of mozzarella. Definitely not good bang for your buck but it was a fun experience nonetheless!
We each got a bowl and two pairs of gloves to begin.
This was our cheese-making teacher, Patrick. He is a senior at Fordham University graduating with a degree in Sociology. Random. His family owned a dairy farm, which is why he knows so much about cheese. He gave us a brief history of cheese while making snide and sarcastic jokes throughout. His jokes made us feel awkward but increasingly were more funny the more wine we had…
So eventually we got to the cheese-making. Note that mozzarella is super easy to make and only takes about 5 minutes… the class is an hour and a half, meaning we spent most of the time dicking around and getting tipsy. Anyway, step one: put cheese curds in bowl. Easy.
Step two: pour hot, hot brine into bowl of cheese curds. We chanted, “TWO TO THREE and THREE TO FOUR” to remember the ratio of salt to water … I believe that was two to three tablespoons of salt to three to four cups of water. I think. Oops. Anyway…
Step three: squeeze together the curds with the hot brine until it is combined and unified into one ball. We had two pairs of gloves so we wouldn’t burn ourselves. We were told to stretch and play around with the curds so that it changed the protein composition and added flavor.
Pictured here is my beautiful creation. That’s it. That’s really it. Patrick then asked us a series of questions to which we of course all got right (including the “TWO TO THREE AND THREE TO FOUR” ratio for brine). As a prize, we were each gifted cheese curds to make more mozzarella at home.
The class was fun mainly because I was with great company. It was a good excuse to drink on a Sunday night with my girlfriends while learning a little something, which yes, I know, I could have just googled and learned in a couple minutes. It was the experience that mattered and Patrick certainly made it entertaining to say the least. I have two bags of cheese curds at home so stay tuned for some homemade pizza!