Have Curd Knife, Will Travel! – Grande Prairie Cheese Making Class June 7th.

A while back I was asked if I would travel to Grande Prairie and teach one, possibly two, cheese making classes for Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC).  Grande Prairie is about 500 km north-west of Edmonton, where I live, and I have never been there before.  Of course I said yes, and I started to prepare for the class.  20140423-094429.jpgMy days started at 4:00 AM when I had to get up to get ready for the airport. I knew that GPRC was going to be providing equipment for the students to use, but it is always good to bring some of my own like I do when I teach classes here in Edmonton.

I decided to bring my ricotta baskets and a few moulds.  Picture from my Instagram feed.

I decided to bring my ricotta baskets and a few moulds. Picture from my Instagram feed.

I had a small suitcase that I was using for supplies, it had to be checked due to the fact I had my curd knives packed in it. Picture from my Instagram feed.

I had a small suitcase that I was using for supplies, it had to be checked because I had my curd knives packed in it. Picture from my Instagram feed.

I was also bringing up some cheese for the participants to try, I brought up some “Little Squirrel”, the last of the “Amber Crossing” and some 6 month old “YEGmental“. My wife thinks I am showing off when I bring cheese to these classes, but I like to think I am showing people where the basics can lead too.

I arrived in Grande Prairie and was picked up by Shar from Grande Prairie Regional College, who also has a wonderful site “Tales From A Small Kitchen” and we headed out to the Saskatoon Lake Agriculture Hall, where the class would take place in the hall’s commercial kitchen.  It was about at 15 minute drive from the airport.  We prepped the equipment and I made a quick batch of mozzarella to show the class how to stretch the curd when the time came.  We had 6 people in the class and we covered 3 cheeses.  Two were hands on and one was a demonstration cheese.

Class members sterilizing equipment.

Class members sterilizing equipment.

The kitchen had a great setup  to allow for "work stations"

The kitchen had a great setup to allow for “work stations”

A central sink on the island was perfect for our needs.

A central sink on the island was perfect for our needs.

 One of the watching "paint dry" moments that happens with cheese making.

One of the watching “paint dry” moments that happens with cheese making.

The class made Whole Milk Ricotta, and they all had a success with it.  Some more so than others, but success none the less.  I have found that with this version of ricotta that you can follow the recipe exactly but get different results than someone next to you.

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3 groups and 3 different results, it happens.  We did troubleshoot their makes and got things on track for the next time they make cheese at home.  Next I made cottage cheese for the class and went over how to use rennet and calcium chloride in cheese making.  Then came the fun part of Mozzarella making.  Everyone pretty much got the hang of it right away, there were some hiccups along the way but that often happens with Mozzarella.  I did not get pictures of this part of the class as I was trying to help out and finish up the cottage cheese.

In the end I welcomed 6 more people to the ranks of home cheese makers.  The trip was worth the 21 hour day, I made cheese, I reconnected with a friend in Grande Prairie and had one of the best burgers of my life in a little diner in a town called Sexsmith.

Would I travel to Grande Prairie again?  In a heartbeat – Have Curd Knife, Will Travel!

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