Monday, 23 January 2012

Week 2 Ballymaloe... I blinked and it was gone!

This week went by in an absolute flash. We covered so much this week!
We covered techniques such as jointing lamb and chicken, filleting fish, making soda breads, how to make sour dough starters, tray bakes, making marmalades and jams and another week of trying to work on our pastry making skills. It certainly was an information filled and fun filled week!!

Yoghurt, Butter, Cheese and more Cheese!!

Wednesday was our theory day this week. It broke up the week quite nicely so we weren’t all so wrecked by the time Friday’s cooking had finished!! It also meant it was a perfect opportunity to hit the pub on a Tuesday night!

Eddie O'Neill, an artisan specialist from Teagasc spent the morning with us, teaching us about how to make yoghurt, butter and various types of cheese. It was really fascinating to see how many products can be derived from the most basic thing - milk. We are extremely blessed in Ireland that we have such a fantastic source of great quality dairy.

In Ballymaloe, their 2 Jersey cows produce deliciously creamy milk, which gives them a lovely rich yellowy butter and thick creamy yoghurt that you can see below.

Wine, oh wine!
Wednesday afternoon was dedicated to learning about wine. We were taught by Colm McCan, the very talented sommelier from Ballymaloe House. We tasted six or seven different wines, while learning about tannins, acicidy, balance, fermentation, vintages etc. It was a really great base to start off on. We will have to select wines to accompany our dishes for our exams at the end of the course so it will be a good challenge to learn as much as possible over the next few weeks. I am very much looking forward to our next class!! :D

How to make homemade butter
I was on butter duty this morning at 8am so I got the chance to make my own batch of butter. It is so simple to make your own homemade butter and believe me it is so tasty. You don't need to have your own cows or anything! All you need is some good quality double cream.

Using the K beater in a Kenwood mixer, beat or whisk the cream until the solids and the liquids in the cream begin to separate. When you think you have over whipped the cream, you are essentially on the way to making a fantastic butter! As soon as the cream begins to split, stop pulsing the mixer. (You will see then this happens as the liquid will separate from the solid).

The texture should look like the picture.

Wash the butter thoroughly five or six times with cold water, straining in a sieve after each wash. All the buttermilk needs to be removed so that the butter doesn't perish or go off.
Using the back of a wooden spoon, push as much water out of the butter as possible after each wash.

When you have finished washing the butter 5 or six times, weigh the butter and add in 2% salt. Make sure to mix the salt through very well and also taste as you go along as some butters may not need as much salt.

Place the butter in parchment paper and roll into a log shape, twisting at both ends. Refrigerate when finished and cut slices of butter from the log as you require.

The end for now
So thats the last of my update for week two. There will be plenty more to come after this week.

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