Monday, July 28, 2008

1001 kitchen tips # 28 - Glazed goats cheese

Life changing results can come from accidental discoveries. In 1928 Alexander Fleming found that a mould floating around in the air in his laboratory had landed in one of his petri dishes of staph and was halting it’s growth. He’d discovered penicillin. Possibly with less life saving ability, but just as important in around 2001 we discovered the perfect goats cheese glazing technique.

"Make sure it's good....." That's what we were told at the weekly menu meeting at Claridges the week the executive chef added a new canape to the menu - glazed goats cheese with chilli jam and rocket. How to actually do it? That was up to us to find out. As we found out it isn't as easy as cutting the goats cheese (as you need to roll it to a smaller size for a start) and blow torching the top – because by the time the cheese was glazed it had also melted away. A couple of hours to go to the canapé party and we had no goats cheese.
“Get it in the blast freezer and then try it” said the sous chef. We clingfilmed it and took it down. The blast freezer was located in the pastry kitchen, so was full of parfaits, chocolate cases and the like. There was a small time slot for the goats cheese before the next round of pastry. It worked. Better. This time less melted away, though it lost the perfect edges but we finally got a glaze.

How do I make this?

You may ask.
Skin removed, the cheese is mixed in the mixer. It is then rolled by hand into a long sausage shape in cling film (using the cling film tightening technique shown last year) and chilled.

You learn by experience. Over time we came up with a better technique to cut it. Once chilled the roulade can be unrolled out of the cling film by 1/3.

Then you cut using the hot knife technique to the bottom of the cheese but not through the bottom layer of cling film. It’s important you have a good quality sharp knife for this, and watch your fingers.
Then unroll the cheese and all the slices come away in one go. Speed is important when you are doing 200 or 500 at a time as we were.
Now you dip the knife in hot water and run it over the top of the goats cheese slice to smooth it off and fill any holes. This is as far as we got till one particular day when we ran out of preparation time in the afternoon. We had to set aside the prep and go to set up our starters for the evening functions. We got a commis to load all the trays of goats cheese in to the freezer saying we would come back to it later. We forgot to tell him to cling film it as you do with everything in the freezer to prevent freezer burn. After the next morning’s meeting we found the goats cheese still in the freezer and, rather worringly (heart in your shoes), uncovered. Would it be freezer burnt? Dried out? Was it situation critical? We tested one.
It had glazed almost before the blow torch flame had touched it. For some reason the exposure to the freezer air made it glaze instantly – so it kept its shape without melting away. Our Chef was happy with the result as he did his tour of inspection, though we didn’t tell him how we did it – I mean who would give away secrets like that?

These days I use my blast freezer for this purpose - as it is much faster there isn't a chance of it drying out, though your domestic freezer will be fine, it will just take a bit longer.

1 comment:

Lulu Barbarian said...

So you're saying to go ahead and leave them uncovered in the freezer? That actually seems like it would make sense, a bit of dehydration on the surface ought to speed the glazing?

I'm totally in awe of you professionals figuring this out and making these with such speed. I'll just clunk along and try making ONE anyway, because this sounds delicious.