So I’ve decided to become a cheesemaker. I got the idea wandering about a cheese shop in LA and when I found classes in San Francisco taught by someone known as “The Milk Maid,” that sealed the deal. My new hobby was born.
To prepare for my first class I decided to dedicate the entire day to cheese. This wasn’t hard to do as the classes are held at the Ferry Building, which is like a mecca for the creamy delicacy. My first stop was Hog Island Oyster Co. where for the first time I managed to resist their amazing Kumamotos for a shot at their ultra rich grilled cheese…
Mezzo Secco, cave-aged Gruyere and Fromage Blanc
w/house made pickled vegetables
This is a serious sandwich. It’s not all doctored up with clever fillings, just fabulous bread stuffed with a perfect combination of sinfully delicious cheeses. The pickled vegetables are a brilliant side too (and my next hobby – stay tuned!).
Cheese Left to Right: Capriago (Sebastopol, CA),
Herbiette Tomme de Bordeaux (France), Pleasant Ridge Extra Aged Reserve (Wisconsin),
California Crottin (Redwood Hill Farms)
That’s right, I kept going. I followed a meal of bread and cheese with a snack of, well, bread and cheese. I did swap the Cava for Pinot Noir though. And it was after a couple hours of shopping, maybe one. My favorite was the Capriago, an Asiago-style cheese made from goat’s milk.
After a long afternoon enjoying all the Ferry Building has to offer, it was time for class. Just outside the doors a table of illustrations and smiling faces led me to the CUESA Dacor Outdoor Teaching Kitchen, where Urban Kitchen SF holds the events. Here’s a peek at my first adventure with queso…
Meet Louella Hill, the Milk Maid. She’s my cheese hero.
In her hands, fresh Queso Blanco. They were slicing and frying this upon arrival!
Fried Cheese: the perfect way to start, well, anything.
Reacting to perfectly set milk.
My fellow classmates cutting the curds.
Heating and stirring the curds. This takes 20 minutes so while switching off
stirring duty we enjoyed a taco intermission…
Freshly grilled tortillas from Mijita (in the Ferry Building) topped with avocado,
cilantro, lime and Queso Fresco.
Draining the whey. (Save it! There are several uses for whey,
Louella made ricotta with it after class.)
Salting the curds.
After squeezing and working the curds thoroughly, packing the fresh cheese.
At the end you can add flavors, this batch has dried peppers.
Take Home Kit: Lipase, CaCl, Rennet

This week I’ll begin my Queso Fresco/Blanco experiments. I’m feeling pretty confident but this may be because Louella is a fantastic teacher and made it look very easy. These are good starter cheeses though, and I’m determined. Once I get the hang of it I’ll post my favorite recipes. Wish me luck!

2 comments on “Homemade Cheese Class: Latin Cheeses”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *