Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ham and Cheese – Chef Rahm Fama Makes Mozzarella Fresca

Last night I enjoyed a fantastic dinner at The Lodge at Vail's signature restaurant, The Wildflower. Before dinner Executive Chef Rahm Fama treated us to a very enjoyable demonstration on how he makes his fresh mozzarella cheese.

The charismatic chef clearly enjoys interacting with the guests, and not only was knowledgeable and technically skilled, but also had just the right amount of "ham" in him to turn what could have been a tiresome demonstration into an engaging and entertaining performance.

I was able to film the presentation with my little Flip cam, so pardon the low-end production value in the video I've posted below. I need to thank fellow press member Allan Lynch for allowing me to use some of his footage. I had some momentary battery issues, but luckily Allan was also capturing the scene.

After the demo we enjoyed a very impressive dinner at what's considered by many the best restaurant in Vail. I will be posting some beautiful photos of the food Chef Fama prepared for us, including a simple amuse bouche made with the fresh mozzarella.

By the way, those of you following me on Twitter got a few sneak previews (did that foie gras look amazing, or what?) If you're not already following me, here is the link. Enjoy!

38 comments:

Zach said...

That was really very enjoyable to watch! Thank you so much for filming and posting it. I'm off to eat some mozzarella now!

rontayo said...

that looks awfully delicious. where would one endeavor to find some renin if he/she would like to make some??

Anonymous said...

the guy claim that in old days in Italy the women got the salt water from ocean. I am sure he meant mediterian sea which is not ocean.

Anonymous said...

This was a nice instructional video on how to turn curds into cheese, but how do you create the curds to begin with?

I looked at this site as a guide, http://www.leeners.com/cheese-recipes-mozzarella.html , this site was the only one I could find that listed exact amounts for one gallon of milk, instead of several.

In this video, the chef only says vegetable rennet with milk. In the link, it lists several ingredients, some that I can do without I'm assuming from what they do. But is citric acid really necessary?

Quote: "Citric Acid is used to cause the curds (milk solids) to separate from the whey (liquid)."

So my question is, do I need to use this ingredient? Or will the curds separate by themselves without this ingredient.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating! Thanks so much for sharing.

milkshake said...

There are two ways to curdle milk protein: 1) Add milk-curdling enzymes like chymosine - they clip off the bound phosphates from the milk protein, and the casein precipitates out 2) The alternative is to not to use enzymes and just acidify the milk preferably with citric acid and heat it up, this binds up the calcium from milk and the casein precipitates also, with phosphates intact, but the properties such as texture of the product would be different. (Other acids work as well, sour milk curdles because lactic acid forms there by fermentation of sugars).

I would recommend not to deviate from the procedure in the video and use the best quality, high-fat milk. The best mozzarella is made from water buffalo milk which is a bit richer than cows milk.

Matt said...

I love your site Chef John but if you ever use Foie Gras in any recipe I swear I'll never come back here.

gourmetcruelty.com

Anonymous said...

@milkshake: so to curdle the milk, its basically choosing between using citric acid or rennet? you don't need both, correct?

Chef John said...

Matt, I'm glad you love the site, but i LOVE foie gras, and you will eventually see it here, so save yourself some time and stop visiting now.

Banning foie gras is ridiculous and ignorant. The only cruelty is it's so expensive more people can't enjoy it.

Chef John said...

check around, you can buy cheese curds. Even the chef didnt make his, he bought from a dairy/cheese vendor

Chef John said...

yes, was not the "ocean"... thank god you caught that! ;-)

milkshake said...

right.

Chef, don't listen to Matt - he should try to eat some ortolan. My ancestors always force-feed their geese by hand to fatten them up, and the result is well worth it.

milkshake said...

I think you need some initial acidity for rennet to work properly but much less of it (than if you used no enzymes). Cheese-makers would use sometimes buttermilk starter rather than adding acid, step-by-step curd for fresh mozzarella is for example here:

http://biology.clc.uc.edu/Fankhauser/Cheese/Pasta_Filata/Pasta_Filata.html

milkshake said...

sorry the mozzarella curd link got clipped so it does not work, it should have been:

//biology.clc.uc.edu/Fankhauser/Cheese/Pasta_Filata/Pasta_Filata.html

Anonymous said...

Chef john. If you use your farmers cheese curds method would it come out right for this method?

Chef John said...

no won't work. No rennet and tiny curds.

tut said...

Wow must be awesome to meet all those people and see how they are changing the way we look at food,grow it,purchase it,Watch Chef John,cook it and eat it.Thx Chef for the video,an have fun K!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fun thing to try. I've made ricotta, but not for many years. I especially liked the plastic wrap method of forming the small mozz balls.
Luisa Vacaville

ClaireWalter said...

I was also present at this mozz-making demonstration. Chef Rahm Fama said he buys Polly-O cheese curds, which might only be available in commercial quantities -- or maybe not. Any supermarket or cheese shop that carries Polly-O should be able to order it for you -- or at least tell you what sizes the package comes in.

Claire @ http://culinary-colorado.blogspot.com

Lysa Hill said...

Awesome! This video made me pine for my commercial kitchen again!! Huge bowls, lots of counter space, and best of all, someone to wash all the dishes. Still, I am going to give it a shot in a small batch at home. Thank you so much. Love this site.

BTW, totally agree with Chef John about the foie. People should research both sides of an issue before they jump on a bandwagon. Check out this clip from the hilarious and practical Anthony Bourdain.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABeWlY0KFv8

anne said...

This looked fascinating, so I spent some time looking for a local source of pre-done curds. Nope. So, I looked for online sources. Well I'm too ummm.... frugal ... to want to spend the shipping on a huge block of curds. That meant making my own curds. So after a bit of research online and a couple of dollars of ingredients, today was the day.

I had to guess how much whey to press out and how 'dry' to make the curds. But it was magic - they melted into a ball just like on your video. From 1 gal milk to 1 lb mozzarella in a couple of (relaxed) hours. I flattened out a couple of pieces into approximate rectangles and laid fresh basil leave on it then rolled it up. Next time Prosciutto rolls:)

Thanks for the inspiration I'll do this with some frequency.

Anonymous said...

Great video.. but where is the ingredients list promised? !

Chef John said...

Who promised ingredients? This was just a demo but the ing are just mozzarella curds, water, and salt.

Anonymous said...

Dear Chef John.
This is soooo awesome.The cheese,man,it's so sexy!!!There should be a giant statue of whoever came up with this idea.
By the way,I used to follow your recipes on youtube,so I've never really say thank you for making all these videos,but if you do read this,I'd like you to know (maybe u already knew)that your works are highly appreciated by lots of people that you don't even know exist (especially people from Asia,like me).I'm a young chef myself,and I believe that no other chef can teach others how to cook the way that you do.Merci!!!

Justin said...

Hi Chef,

Do you think lemon juice or vinegar can replace the rennet?

Chef John said...

no, sorry

Anonymous said...

Dear CeeJay,

Please make Foie Gras for us :)

Cheers,
JG

Anonymous said...

How much rennet

Chef John said...

no idea, he didnt make the curd, he buys it and just makes the mozz

Anonymous said...

Where do you find the curd

Chef John said...

Check the cheese dept of large grocery stores.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the chef's name is Rahm. Means cream in German. Dairy must be in his blood.

Anonymous said...

"Who promised ingredients?"

Well, the YouTube description says "Get the full story! Visit http://foodwishes.com to get the ingredients, and watch over 300 free video recipes." :)

But with 200k views for the video, maybe it's time to make a "how to make awesome curd" video? Or is there one somewhere that I've missed?

Anonymous said...

Diddo, I would like to know how to make the curds.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Video, I will be trying it soon. As far as the curd making goes though, I had one question...People always say you should use a high-fat milk. Is there any reason not to just add some cream to your milk, or just use only cream?

Chef John said...

Sorry, I've never made the curds. The chefs buy the curd ready to use.

Anonymous said...

... and there his reputation was ruined. Do not promote dairy skills if ones cheats with half fabricat...

Anonymous said...

Could this be done with lactose-free cottage cheese? I am severely intolerant to lactose, and no commercially available Mozzarella cheese is completely agreeable to me.