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Old World vs New World: a Ricotta Comparison

As I mentioned in my last post, I was up at Coach Farm in Upstate New York last Friday. In the days since, I've been trying to wrangle all the video clips together into a watchable form.

Thus far, I've got a quick video that illustrates how they're doing a brand-new product: ricotta cheese.

If you're a cheese person, you already know that ricotta is a classically useful product for cheesemakers because it's made with the cast-offs of the cheesemaking process: the whey.

Coach Farm is doing their ricotta in the same old-fashioned way that Italy's alpine farmers do it:

1. Collect the whey in a pot and heat it to 180°F (they're also adding in some milk to make it creamier).
2. Add an agent (rennet or an acid) to help the curds form.
3. Collect the curds in cheesecloth and allow to drain.

Simple, right? So simple you could do it on the side of a mountain over an open flame... which is what I saw when I went to Italy last year.

In that case, the farmer first made pecorino cheese and then reheated the leftover whey to make a delicious ricotta. You'll notice the environs are a little different.

I'll repost that video below the Coach Farm one for comparison.





More video fun yet to come!
Miss Ginsu

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5.13.2009

I can haz cute now?

Had a terrific trip to upstate New York yesterday to tour Ronnybrook Farm and nearby Coach Farm.

I'll get into the dairy details and post some tasty video soon enough, but I wanted to get to the cream first: all the squishably adorable baby animals.

Behold, my friends... the cute.

Jersey Calf at Ronnybrook
A charming Jersey calf at Ronnybook Farm. Check out that little black tongue.

Newborn Dairy Cow at Ronnybrook Farm
Newborn dairy cow at Ronnybrook Farm. Those nose freckles are killing me.

O Hai. A wee little kid at Coach Farm
O hai... a wee little kid at Coach Farm.

A slightly older, cock-headed goat at Coach Farm
A slightly older, cock-headed goat at Coach Farm.

Yet another charming Alpine goat at Coach Farm
Yet another charming Alpine goat at Coach Farm.

Yours in love of cuteness,
Miss Ginsu

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5.09.2009

Italian Pecorino Cheese: A How-To Video

In my short career in video blogging, I've run through making fresh paneer cheese, watching the Salvatore Ricotta folks stuff cheese into cannoli and now, my latest clip documents the making of uber-traditional pecorino in the Italian countryside.

I'm afraid you'll start to believe I'm a bit cheese-obsessed. I assure you, the theme is entirely coincidental. I swear the next video will be about something other than cheese.

Meanwhile, I have to say, this is really my favorite clip yet, featuring some truly charming Italian sheep and goats I met in the mountains of Abruzzo while on a farm stay near Sora, Italy. They were excellent actors, all. Very cooperative.

Abruzzo, Italy

A very charming goat

Sheep stomach

You'll notice that, in making the cheese, the shepherd uses nothing more than milk in a big, black cauldron, a stick(!), some sheep's stomach and coarse salt. That's it. There's a campfire on hand for making ricotta, which is a byproduct of his pecorino processing.



Aside from the shepherd's snazzy threads, there's very little here that's any different from the way people have been making cheese for thousands of years.

Looks easy, no? But before you go and get yourself a herd of your own, know this: the shepherd and his wife get up before dawn every day to do this. Weekends. Holidays. Every day. There's no vacation from a herd of sheep and goats.

Meanwhile, I secreted a wheel of this very cheese back to the states in my luggage and am going to ask Anne Saxelby to nestle it in her cave to age for a bit. We'll see how it tastes after it's had a few months to rest.

Cheers, ya'll!

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7.16.2008