Moving overseas - help me learn how to make these things from scratch
We're moving to a very rural area of a developing country next year. I want to learn how to make a few things before I leave that I know will not be available in our area. I was just wondering if people had additional suggestions, and also if there are books/websites you would recommend to learn how to make these things. So far I want to learn how to make:
- Pizza dough
I've been thinking about trying to make cheese as well. I've heard good things about Ricki the Cheese Queen at www.cheesemaking.com
If you're near Western Mass. she has workshops in her home. She sells a bood and dvd online as well as all kinds of cheese (and yogurt) making supplies. I think I want to try to make mozzarella. Good luck!
What kind of cheese are you interested in making? Some soft cheeses are very do-able while other varieties are next to impossible, think Roquefort or Parmesan.
Yogurt can be made at home if you have access to milk.
Fresh egg pasta needs only egg yolk, a bit of salt and flour for the ingredients and something cylindrical for rolling the dough.
Pizza dough is likewise pretty straightforward with a short list of ingredients - flour, salt, water and something to help it rise which can be some dough left from the previous batch or a bit of yeast.
Are you looking for actual recipes? Can you also provide a little more info on the "...very rural area of a developing country"? What might be available there?
I spent some time in the rural Phillipines many years ago and got very hungry for cheese which was not available to buy. I was able to locate fresh milk and made a kind of soft summer cheese that I relished. Happy to share the method, if that's what you'd like.
After taking advantage of the wealth of information available to you from those expats already living in Nepal, Google LEHMANS for additional assistance. It is a catalogue dedicated to self-sufficient living, off the grid, and targets Amish farmers. There is an enormous amount of help, especially in the dairy category. Appliances are either hand-cranked or run on generators.
You write that you will have access to "regular flour" and by that I assume you mean wheat flour. "Flatbreads of the World" contains multitudes of recipes using different flours, as well as wheat flour. If you think about it, pizza is really a specific type of flatbread. Chapatties are daily fare in Nepal and will be a great place to start.
You can make many fresh cheeses at home--which in particular are of interest? Aged ones, of course, would be, well, probably impossible, depending on your circumstances. Pasta and pizza dough should be simple enough, assuming you'll have a flat surface, rolling pin, fresh eggs, access to semolina and other good high protein flours, and a hot oven for the pizza. I'd recommend watching Mario Batali, if you can catch him demonstrating the techniques, or reading Nancy Silverton's or Peter Reinhardt's books for the pizza. Deborah Madison's recipes are reliable and well described, too, in Greens or Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Do you have a great local pizzeria or pasta company or maybe a cooking school where you currently live, so you could get some hands on time before leaving? Mostly, you just have to get in there and try it, with some guidance, whether it's with a person or a book.
You did not say where you were going and that leaves a world of questions. To start:
o Will you have access to a large quantity of "safe" milk? (DIY pasturizing is tricky)
o Will you be able to refrigerate anything? Most cheeses require relatively cool temperatures to cure. Not the thing for, say, the Central African Republic.
o Will you have access to high gluten wheat flour or grain? Most pasta is made from hard winter wheat that is rich in gluten.
Yogurt you can make anywhere you have access to a clean milk supply though it may take you a while to get the right mixture of microbes if you start from wild colonies rather than a "starter" of some kind.
More information would help readers to respond more appropriately.
Joy of Cooking, 1975 edition. This is an updated version of a cookbook/food encyclopedia first published in the 30's.