The School of the American Farmstead offers “Fundamentals of Artisan Cheese,” a two-week intensive course taught by world-renowned master cheesemaker, Ivan Larcher at Sterling College in Craftsbury, VT, in conjunction with Jasper Hill Farm, an American Cheese Society-Certified Educator.
Fundamentals of Artisan Cheese provides the practical and scientific knowledge needed to create exquisite artisan cheese. It offers a whole-system perspective on artisan cheesemaking, beginning on the farm with careful attention to animal husbandry and welfare, forage and feed, dairy production, and milk quality. The course then dives deep into the science and art of cheesemaking by exploring raw and pasteurized milk theory, cheese microbiology, coagulants, curdling mechanisms, and starters. In classroom lecture sessions, as well as hands-on and observational cheese making, artisan production of lactic, hard, soft, Saint Nectaire, and traditional brie cheeses is studied. Additional topics covered include: affinage (cultures, climate control, rind treatment, and handling throughout the aging process), recipe development, sensory and tasting skill development, identification of defects and troubleshooting. Attention to critical food safety concerns, an on-site food sanitation workshop, an overview of plant design, exploration of sales and distribution strategy, and lessons is content-based marketing round out the curriculum.
This course is suitable for confident beginners and capable practitioners alike. Students should have some cheesemaking experience, even if only at the home scale.