Stretchy yummy mozzarella is fun to make and eat
Dr. Aditya Raghavan loves cheese. Bored of just eating cheese, he decided to make his own. “Chevre was the first one I tried because it was so easy. It turned out fine, and I was hooked,” says the Mumbai-born physicist who works in the field of mathematical ecology at the University of Alberta, Canada.
In Chennai to propagate the slow-food movement, Aditya also conducted a cheese making workshop at Ashvita Bistro. A group of enthusiastic women and a lone man turned up on a Saturday evening to learn how to make their own mozzarella.
“The mozzarella that you get packaged in the stores isn’t the real deal. That’s more like pizza cheese,”says Aditya, as he adds rennet to about 12 litres of fresh cow's milk that has been ripened with vinegar. Everyone furiously takes down little tips and hints that he gives during each stage of the recipe.
According to Aditya, this is the best cheese to make in Chennai. “The boiling and stretching of the cheese kills the bacteria in it, so it has a longer shelf life. It’s also the only cheese that is fun to demonstrate in a class like this. Other recipes just involve boiling, adding cultures and letting it sit,” he explains. Everyone gets a chance to be involved in the last stage of the cheese-making process: stretching and rolling a ball of mozzarella.
The group also got to taste an array of cheeses from Mango Hill, Pondicherry. “I deliberately chose some difficult cheeses for the Indian palate,” says Aditya. This included camembert, an introductory blue cheese, garlic-infused Gouda and a Gruyere cheese with nutty notes. “I’m yet to meet a cheese I don’t like,” he says, laughing at someone who makes a face at a mouldy wheel of cheese.
The evening ends on a refreshing note with a classic combination of tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil.