Cheese Making in Efrat
Last week I had the privilege and honor to be hosted in the city of Efrat for a kosher cheese making workshop.
The journey to Efrat is about 3.5 hours from my home in the Golan Heights, and I have to admit that I was a bit nervous driving there as there were missiles being sent from Gaza to the area. But my family and had decided that we were not going to let that deter us from the mission at hand and that was to teach about making kosher cheese at home.
We arrive on time and set the space up. People started to arrive and it was truly wonderful to see that we did have a full house, and that the host had done a hard job of getting everyone to make their commitment and show. There was even one participant that had come from the Kibbutz Ein Gedi on this missile night.
Whole Milk Ricotta
We started the evening with making the Whole Milk Ricotta as this cheese takes the longest to make. I noticed that all but one was getting the curds to separate rather quickly, but this one pot just wasn’t doing it. I then noticed that it was an Aluminum pot. I told the participant that he will get the curds to separate, but it will just take a longer time as the pot was not retaining the heat that is needed. About 30 minutes into the draining another person showed up and they too had an aluminum pot. I explained that they were going to get cheese, just because of the pot it will take a longer time and that they will just have to be stay calm, and be patient.
Everything was going well, the Ricotta was draining and we had spoken about milk, rennet, and other kosher ingredients that are used for making cheese along with some of the kosher aspects as well as health aspects. We were now ready to start with Mozzarella making.
This aspect of the workshop is really where we get to see chemistry in action. The pots were filled again with milk, and the rennet was added. The curds were starting to set, everything was going great when all of the sudden we heard the siren. At first I wasn’t sure what we were to do as I have not been around one for a long time, so I asked if this was real and what was the procedure. I was informed that it was real and that we needed to head downstairs to the bomb shelter for 10 minutes.
Ten minutes, I couldn’t believe that we would have to wait that long. Making cheese is a very precise thing. One minute to long or to short could change your cheese altogether. I couldn’t imagine what ten minutes was going to do.
Well, the time eventually passed and B”H everybody was well , the rackets fell in a remote field. We all went back upstairs to continue the process of making the Mozzarella. It seemed as though everything just took a break while we were gone. The curds looked wonderful, some were a bit slower than others, but they were getting there. Now the time came heat them up and get the stretch going.
As the group started to heat the curds and getting the stretch we could all see that there was going to be success. A few didn’t get it exactly, but got a wonderful cheese instead. Others got what we were looking for.
All in all, as bizarre and strange the evening was, it was a great workshop. May Hashem keep protecting us as it is written “the eyes of Hashem are continually upon it from the beginning of the year to the end of the year” (Dvarim 11,12).
For workshop in Efrat in August so please send an email to email@example.com to stay updated as to when and where.
Till later kosher curd nerds.