We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Monday, 11 February 2013

King David, the Vikings, Miss Muffet and I

What do King David, the Vikings, Little Miss Muffet and I have in common?
Answer: Cheese!

Rennet at the ready

I am loving this cheese adventure! And combining this latest learning craze into the school curriculum is working well. Quite clearly cheese-making is a science... as the natural bacteria in milk (lactobacillus) reacts with the lactose in the milk it releases lactic acid which will coagulate or set some of the protein in the milk. This makes it insoluable in water and causes the water to separate from the solids. Okay this needs a little simplifying for Year 2, but there is still the scientific knowledge gleaned by hands-on practice!

In Bible we learnt that David the shepherd boy took ten cheeses to his brothers when he went to fight Goliath (I Sam 17:18) and Job asks of God if he didn't pour him out like milk and and curdle him like cheese (Job 10:8-12). (Not sure exactly what he means by this yet!) In History, we learn that our cheese-making today is much as it was in the time of the Roman Empire. As Roman legions travelled around, they took with them different recipes and skills of cheese-making and established the cheese trade. Then we find the monks. These scholars, working in the monasteries before the Viking invasions were also skilled cheesemakers (from them, we still have Wensleydale cheese today). Then the Vikings brought with them their own Scandinavian cheese-making recipes and techniques (we are going to try Norwegian brunost next week). And this is only scratching the surface of the amazing history of cheese! In Maths tomorrow we are going to weigh our cheeses and see just how much cheese we got from our litres of milk. And if we are to sell our cheese, how much should we sell it for to make a profit? As well we are fastidiously measuring the temperature at various stages of cheese-making with the great thermometer that Gudrun gave us. And then of course there is Little Miss Muffet and the literary narrative of nursery rhymes!

So after previously trying cottage cheese and cream cheese, today with Mama Lucy, we branched out into the mozzarella world. A bit more of an art, or so it seems on the first attempt! But I have to say it is rather fun trying and very satisfying! And hopefully it will be all the more satisfying tomorrow when we have the treat of cheese on pizza! I've also just now tried my first ricotta cheese using the whey from the mozzarella. However, this seems to have been a long job with a poor, rather minimal result. But we'll try again, anywhey.

So thank you very much to good friends who have helped with the gift of cheese-making books and equipment and of course Gudrun for the lessons and advice!  Next cheese: Halloumi ...

Separating the curds and whey

Ahh! It's hot!

Deep in concentration! What next??

Mozzarella Cheese!

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