Mozzarella's Got Flow: Making Cheese in a Bank
Cheesemaking Class, San Francisco Style
If you were of the sort that thought the only kind of cheese one could make in a bank was the stackable dollar-dollar-bill type (hey hey hip hop fans),... that was an understandable assumption.
I feel you. In fact, when I was first asked to instruct a group on cheesemaking in such a financial institution, it took me a few seconds to realize I was the only one giggling. The person at the another end of the phone was patiently waiting.
And it's pretty awesome.
Not only can you make cheese in a bank, you can also stretch it.
I recently had the honor of being asked by 18 Reasons to teach a mozzarella class for twenty-five clients of Umpqua Bank's Potrero Hill branch in San Francisco. How does something like this happen? Well, Umpqua wants to do something a little something special for their clients. They hook up with 18 Reasons, one of San Francisco's coolest community food event organizations (yup, the one formerly connected to Bi-Rite), and 18 Reasons calls me. I like being called. Easy!
The result was a large group of really happy people. This part isn't unusual. I know one might expect a cheesemaker instructor to say this, and here goes, but something happens when you get people in a room together making cheese. True, sometimes a tiny mess happens (whey likes to assert its presence ), but more importantly, you start to see smiles lighting up faces. Did you guess I was going to say that?
The smiles start when people lightly press their fingertip against the curd to see if feels like silken tofu - if it does, it's ready to be cut. And the smiles continue as the group makes decisions about who will cut the curd next so whey can be released. Then, as the shy person takes hold of the knife, the one who wasn't sure if they wanted to be involved, you see another smile as they feel the tug of the blade pull through the firming milk.
And ta da, they've created something delicious together, carrying on the cheesemaking tradition as has been done centuries before them. #milklife
Hope you enjoy the pictures my photographer friend Molly DeCoudreaux took that night. I wanted to give you a little idea of what happens when mozzarella goes rogue (mobile), and what happens when people make cheese in a bank without having to wait for it to multiply on the stock market.
Thank you, Umpqua and 18 Reasons for inviting me join your team!