I attempted my first unassisted batch of brocciu today in the kitchen of the chateau. Everyone else had gone to the brocante (a big flea market) in Chauveny and Mike and I stayed back to have a leisurely lunch and make the brocciu.
Patty had introduced us to her cheese man who is impossible to get near at the Chauveny market, but parks his cheese van by the Abbey on Fridays and is available for chatting. We had asked him for some “petite lait”, pronounced “petite lay” which, coincidentally, Patty would also love to receive from the cheese man, though not for the purposes of making brocciu.
He brought us two buckets of it to the market (for free) and told us where to go to get the fresh milk. We went to the farm and asked for some fresh milk and they brought us 2 liters for 2.50 euros. A cheap project!
When I started the process today, it looked like everything was going well. I figured out the temperature conversions and did everything right on schedule. We figured out that at the exact same moment that the pot boils, the brocciu arrives. We watched and watched and it started to smell like cake, just as it should. It arrived. The foam on top began to part and we turned off the flame and I dipped my ladle in the pot to scoop it out and there was nothing there. What happened to the brocciu????
We had done everything right, I checked and rechecked the proportions and couldn’t figure it out. The tough part was that I could see the brocciu in the pot, but every time I tried to scoop it out, it went through the holes. I then realized that the woman, instead of giving us fresh-from-the-udder goat milk had given us normal drinking milk. Sure enough, I took a sniff and it was so mild. I drank a little and tasted normal, 2% or maybe even fat free.
Mike said that he hadn’t thought it would go smoothly the first time. I was disappointed, but with the discovery of the wrong milk, I was relieved that it wasn’t human error. I could at least have hope that I could still make brocciu given the correct ingredients.
I have decided to try again. I’ll have Mike call the farm ahead of time and ask for all the correct ingredients. I am determined to get this right before leaving here, so I can be confident that I know how to make it. Stay tuned for its arrival.