Making Burrata at The Farmhouse at Ojai Valley Inn

Transforming cheese curds into burrata at The Farmhouse at the Ojai Valley Inn was a lovely way to spend the afternoon in Ojai, California

While speaking with a friend about something random, I remembered I’d recently received an email from Ojai Valley Inn’s The Farmhouse. Curious, I checked out the website and my eyes caught the Burrata culinary class.

The description was “Join our culinary team to learn to make hand pulled mozzarella and fresh burrata. Top on your favorite summer bruschetta to kick off your summer night. Includes recipe cards and light bites.

So, on a Wednesday, I made my way out to Ojai, eager to learn.

The Farmhouse

The Farmhouse felt familiar to me now. I loved parking near the building, checking in and remembering all of my previous experiences at the space.

From the pizza and mozzarella culinary class to the art of macarons class, I’ve greatly enjoyed spending time at the Farmhouse and walking around the garden.  It’s simply beautiful.

An Introduction to Cheesemaking

At the appointed time, the doors were opened and nine of us gathered at our stations.

I surveyed our table placements. We each had five pieces of curd alongside stracciatella di bufala for filling.

The format of this class was extremely relaxed and casual. Our goal was to learn how to make burrata – and that’s what we did. Chef Rachel taught us how to warm up the cheese curd in hot water, stretch it out, pull it out until it was a thin disk like shape, fill it with stracciatella, seal it by pressing our thumb and forefinger together, set it in warm water and then ice water.

It was a rather simple experience – yet actually complicated in refined technique. I learned that cheese curd is made from combining boiled milk with rennet.

Also, an important key for sealing the burrata is to remember to put the seam side down, as you place it in the hot water bath.

I asked Chef Rachel if we would get any finished pieces to take home, as that is what I experienced with previous classes. She spoke with her sous chef and made it happen. I greatly appreciated that she made each of us a professionally crafted burrata. We were also give little plastic tubs to contain the burrata we made, alongside the chef created one. They were filled with salted water for safe travels.

I asked Chef Rachel about the usage of salted water in our take home containers. She explained that salted water acts as an antibacterial solution, protecting the cheese. In addition, the water keeps the oxygen out, which would dry out and harden the cheese. If the cheese dries out excessively before consumption, it can lead to bacterial growth. Learned something new!

We had two light bites before and during class. One was burrata on a bread point topped with thinly sliced green tomatoes decorated with marigold, basil and tomato flowers.

Another was a stracciatella di bufala on a bread point topped with sliced ham with fresh cracked peppercorn, onion flowers and oregano flowers.

When I asked Chef Rachel about the usage of the flowers, she asked if I wanted to go to the garden and take a look. Eagerly, I replied yes.

A Chef Led Tour of the Garden

It was an absolute pleasure to walk the garden of The Farmhouse with the head chef of the hotel. She taught me about the Ojai Pixie tree tangerines, which are native to the Ventura County area. She showed me the Japanese Black Trifele Tomato and I tasted its slightly acidic flavor.

The borage and onion flowers were a delight on my tongue. She showed me the Lamb’s ear sage and I tasted a leaf. She dug her hands into the group of the raised bed, took out a red onion and casually asked if I wanted it. Enthusiastically, I said yes. She also did the same thing to a set of three radishes.

When we were done, my hands smelled of dirt and love and I felt culinarily inspired.

As we walked back to the Farmhouse, Chef Rachel pointed out the corn and mentioned that back home, when families harvested the sweet corn on their property, they would also make corn soda – which was a complete mind bender. I have never in my life heard of soda made from corn! It later took me down a rabbit hole of weird sodas. I discovered Lester’s Fixins Sweet Corn Soda – and Lester’s Fixins Bacon Soda, Lester’s Fixins Mustard Soda… the list goes on.

As I drove away from The Farmhouse and toward the entry gate for Ojai Valley Inn, I was deeply appreciative of the experience. Making burrata was much easier than I expected. But, it was the moment of shared experience that I appreciated the most.

I later sliced some of the onion and sautéed it into a spaghetti with cream sauce dish I made later for dinner. Combined with sliced burrata that I made in class?  *chef kiss*


- -

The Farmhouse at Ojai Valley Inn

905 Country Club Road
Ojai, California 93023
Your custom text © Copyright 2024. All rights reserved.