By Preston Young, MBA
What started as a casual scroll through social media turned into an unforgettable day of cheese-making magic. Rachel and I discovered a class offering at Stony Creek Brewery, where we would learn the art of crafting fresh mozzarella. The article said to send them a message, and they would let us know if there were available seats, so we did and hoped to receive good news, which we did!
The journey began when an ad on our social media feed caught our eye: a gentleman traveling around, sharing the secrets of crafting fresh mozzarella. Intrigued, we signed up for the class. This wasn't just any class—it was a chance to learn from an ex-restaurant owner with a rich culinary background and years of experience making all different sorts of cheeses.
His pivot from restaurateur to cheese-making instructor was fueled by his wife, who gently urged him to “get a job”. And so, he embarked on a journey to teach others the art of cheese-making.
As we walked into the brewery, our first stop was the bar, where we grabbed a beer, then, we headed outside where the pizza truck was and ordered some pizza. With our refreshments in hand, we joined the class and found a seat, ready to immerse ourselves in the world of cheese-making.
The cheese-making process began with a head start: we were provided with curd. Curd, we learned, is a delicate creation that requires time, precision, and patience to produce. Starting with this essential ingredient gave us the perfect entry point into the craft, allowing us to focus on the transformative steps that follow.
Armed with curd, we embarked on our mozzarella-making adventure. We started by breaking the curd into small, manageable pieces. As hot water was added and the curd rested, we witnessed its gradual transformation.
The stretching process was where the true magic happened. With skillful guidance, we delicately stretched the curd, ensuring it didn't lose its integrity through over-stretching.
Throughout the process, our cheese-making instructor shared insights and tips garnered from his years in the culinary world. From controlling water temperature to understanding the curd's behavior, every step became a lesson in the science and art behind crafting exceptional mozzarella.
After a series of carefully orchestrated steps, which included additional hot water and more stretching, we proudly unveiled our handcrafted mozzarella balls. The accomplishment was awesome, and the mozzarella plopping into our take home containers looked like edible treasures. We each walked away with at least a dozen large mozzarella balls.
The journey, however, didn't end in the cheese-making classroom. Back home, we incorporated our freshly made mozzarella into a variety of dishes. Garden-fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, Caprese salads, sandwiches and more, our mozz did not disappoint!
As we savored the fruits of our labor throughout the week, we reflected on the unexpected paths that life takes us on. A chance encounter led us to a cheese-making class, which in turn introduced us to a passionate individual who channeled his love for food into an inspiring journey of education and fun. Our journey through cheese-making at Stony Creek Brewery became a reminder that the most memorable adventures often start with a simple curiosity.