Hunter Park Kindergarten

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Cheese Making

Annalise made a basket out of a piece of egg carton and wanted cheese to put in it. This has been an on going interest. She's made them several times asking Jo and Sharon for cheese for her baskets. So I suggested why don't we make some cheese for your basket.
I was thinking it would be too hard, but as least we can learn where cheese comes from. We googled you tube and got Chef John Food wishes How to make Cheese Video Wow so easy. So I got the ingredients together that night (supplying a cube of cheese for the basket in the meanwhile) and the next day, mainly Annalise, Caleb, Erin, but also Katy, Connor, Ollie, Hunter all helped me make it.

First we squeezed lemon juice, then heated the milk to a simmer ("not boiling!"- Chef John) stirring as we went. (Any spare lemons most welcome.) Once heated I added the cultured buttermilk (to avoid splashes), plus lemon juice and white vinegar. We sat it the milk while it curdled. (I love sharing science experiment type stuff about how things and made with the children. Casein plastic is made in similar way.) I passed the ladle with holes (name please?) around and we slowly ( a bit of a challenge for some) spooned it into the cheese cloth. Then we hung it, took it down, mixed it with the salt, and chilled it in the fridge overnight.

Looks Yummy.

While the curd hung, we tried a sip of whey, basically a protein drink, tasting similar to a natural yoghurt. Possibly an acquired taste.

Next day we made some more, once again accompanied by various songs we made up as we cooked, ( "moo moo jersey cow", "We're the same" by Annalise and Isobel, Italian opera style by David "we are making cheese now, we make the cheese, we aim to please. Lovely rigga goat ta, we make the cheese, we aim to please."and of course "Little miss Muffit.")
Then we served up the cheese (Reserving some to send to Mark at New World supermarket to say thankyou for the cheese cloth, and Erin who was away,) with olive oil and pepper.

Delicious, we ate it all up, save that which we reserved.
Sarah-Jane says she can get us some farm milk so we must give that a try, which lead to Annalise sharing her knowledge of cows, and a discussion of where milk comes from, and what animals make it.
Hearing us sing Ella's mum Jo can to see what we were doing and says she'll be taking a cheese making course at some stage, so we're hoping when she does she'll come and share her learning with us.
Meanwhile I've found mozzarella and feta recipes on the web and I'm really excited about cheese.
I'm not sure the children are, as there seemed less interest today (except in the eating part) but I'm sure I can continue my learning at home even if we move on to other things here.

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