Making burrata cheese with the Milk Maid


As a little girl, I used to walk by a cheese shop in the neighborhood, flare my nostrils and exclaim “One day I want to work in a cheese shop.” That funky, musty fragrance has an intoxicating draw for me and always will. My one-month stint as a vegan in college failed only because I missed cheese too much. I still haven't worked in a cheese shop, but when I heard about the cheese making classes with the Milk Maid, I just knew I had to go!

The Milk Maid, aka Louella Hill, is brimming with information and love for cheese. She has studied cheese making in Italy and across the East Coast and is currently working on a book about cheese making in her San Francisco home, which is jam-packed with all things moldy and milky.

The cheese class was held at an outdoor kitchen in the Ferry Building. We learned how to make burrata, a fresh, Italian-style cheese made of mozzarella and stuffed with a variety of creams, from thick cultured cream to sweet mascarpone. The process of making burrata involves melting fresh curd, forming a ball and then quickly stuffing it with cream. Sounds pretty simple, but it actually requires a lot of attention, speed, and probably years of practice. Luckily, everyone was just having too much fun to care about getting it perfect. When “mistakes” happened, they usually just ended up getting eaten. No great loss there.

After an hour of melting, pulling and stuffing, the Milk Maid sent us on a our way, but not without a slice of a gigantic moldy block of cheese that she was trying to get off her hands, and fixings to make more burrata in our own kitchens. On the very crowded bus ride home, I could smell the essence of gym-socks and super funk wafting up from my bag of goodies. I'm sure my commuter buddies were loving it. I sure was!