Cheese Making Courses Feb to April 2015

1 day enthusiasts course: cost £150 per person, minimum 3 people, max 5 using goat /sheep milk

Below are some one day beginner’s courses – if you would like to do a two day commercial course, please let me know and I will try and fit some of you together – a great way of making cheesey friends and networking.
One day: £125 + VAT = £150 – a home enthusiast course
Two days £375 + VAT = £450 – this is a  very intensive two day course aimed at people looking to make cheese as a living
You will take home your cheese for further pressing with a cheese mould, cloth, comprehensive set of cheese making notes including the science behind cheese making, things to look out for that can go wrong, FAQs and a list of contacts, where to buy things.  During the day, we will discuss the science behind cheese making, common pitfalls, cheese safety awareness, the various steps to hard cheese making, answer any questions you may have and you will be able to help make a larger vat of cheese if you fancy it.
We hope to give you enough knowledge and confidence to make decent cheese safely at home.  We always hold cheese making classes at the same time as making 1,900 litres of goat (or sheep) cheese in our large vat so it can be interesting to compare small makes to large makes – it is the same process.
Goat milk handles in exactly the same way as cow’s milk for anyone wondering!
The two day commercial course is very intense and entirely tailored to you and your requirements and circumstances.  We cover things like the cost of setting up, dairy planning, markets, pricing, equipment required, types of cheese to sell etc – and you will take a way a second set of very detailed notes.  If the date you want is not here – sorry, we cannot do it.  And please bear in mind that we need a minimum of 3 people and a maximum of 5 to run a course, so that sometimes means being patient until we can gather critical mass.
Date 2015 Milk Confirmed Type of Milk Making Comments Attendees so far
Thursday 5th Feb Yes Goat Wensleydale Goat milk handles the same as cow’s milk
Friday 13thFebruary Yes Sheep A hard, manchego style for maturing Sheep milk is very different to cow or goat so a really different experience; an interesting class for those with a little cheese making experience
Thursday 19thFebruary Yes Goat Wensleydale Goat milk handles the same as cow’s milk
Friday 27thFebruary Yes Sheep A hard, manchego style for maturing Sheep milk is very different to cow or goat so a really different experience; an interesting class for those with a little cheese making experience
Thursday 5thMarch Yes Goat Wensleydale Goat milk handles the same as cow’s milk
Friday 13th March Yes Sheep A hard, manchego style for maturing Sheep milk is very different to cow or goat so a really different experience; an interesting class for those with a little cheese making experience
Thursday 19thMarch Yes Goat Wensleydale Goat milk handles the same as cow’s milk
Friday 27th March Yes Sheep A hard, manchego style for maturing Sheep milk is very different to cow or goat so a really different experience; an interesting class for those with a little cheese making experience
Friday 10th April Yes Sheep A hard, manchego style for maturing Sheep milk is very different to cow or goat so a really different experience; an interesting class for those with a little cheese making experience
Thursday 16th April Yes Goat Wensleydale Goat milk handles the same as cow’s milk
Thursday 23rd April Yes Goat Wensleydale Goat milk handles the same as cow’s milk
Friday 24th April Yes Sheep A hard, manchego style for maturing Sheep milk is very different to cow or goat so a really different experience; an interesting class for those with a little cheese making experience
Thursday 30th April Yes Goat Wensleydale Goat milk handles the same as cow’s milk

Start time is 8.15- 8.30am, please bring clean shoes that you do not mind getting wet or clean wellies and a notebook if you want to take notes.  We will provide whites and hairnets and all equipment.

We should finish at about 2.30pm, but you are welcome to stay on for a brew and watch or even join in the rest of the cheese making in the large vat.  If you need somewhere to stay, here is a link to Trip Advisor on all Hawes B&Bs and hotels.

If you are interested, please e-mail Iona at ionahill@gmail.com

Ribblesdale Cheese Runs Cheese Making Classes

Iona started making cheese in 2008, only seven years ago and taught Stu, who is now our Head Cheese Maker all that she knows (which may not necessarily be a good thing!) Stu has been with Ribblesdale Cheese since June 2010 and between us, we have adapted and developed our award winning Ribblesdale Cheese recipes.

Iona started the dairy from scratch, on a shoe string, with a zero knowledge base and with no equipment.  She attended a cheese making course at Reaseheath in August 2010 and came away quaking, still lacking in confidence that she did not know enough to be able to make cheese on a commercial scale.  This is not to say that Chris Ashby did not do a sterling job, but working on a 50 litre vat with five other people did not give me the knowledge I felt I needed.

Whilst we will never be as experienced as cheese gurus such as Val Bines, Ivan Larcher or Chris Ashby, we can offer hands on, one to one serious but at the same time light hearted advice and guidance, whether you are a cheese enthusiast or someone looking to change career from someone who started from scratch and is still learning.

Ribblesdale Cheese offer two distinct different types of cheese making courses as follows:

Home Cheese Making Enthusiasts, one day cost £125 + VAT per person

Aimed at enthusiasts who want to make cheese in their kitchen at home.  We will show you how to make cheese using our small crate system, processing 15 – 20 litres of milk.  You will be given a full set of cheese making notes explaining the science behind cheese making, including Frequently Asked Questions raised by other attendees, what to do if things go wrong and a list of where to source your cheese making materials.

We will offer you friendly hands on experience of making cheese on a small scale and try and point you in the right direction to make cheese at home.  Please ask us lots of questions, we are happy to help whilst you are with us, but if you are thinking of setting up commercially, then you should take the two day course as we will not advise you on making or selling cheese commercially, simply on how to make cheese at home.

You will take home your cheese for further pressing, along with the reusable mould and cloth.

You should leave us understanding the basics, what to watch out for and the various stages of cheese making to start to make your own cheese at home.  Some people make a perfect cheese first time and others practice on small quantities of shop bought milk until they feel confident.  Please note that cheese can be made at home using shop bought homogenised milk, but sometimes the set can be a little weak.  I advise home cheese makers to practice using shop bought milk and then when they feel they have perfected their craft, to source some raw milk from a local farm.

We always love to hear from former attendees, but please note that we can only offer limited follow up help as this is a basic cheese making course, albeit on a one to one basis.

Would Be Commercial Cheese Makers, two days, cost £375 + VAT

Day 1 is a sit down office day where we will go through equipment layout, sourcing and costs, dairy planning, potential markets, costings and margins, legalities, food safety plans etc.  We may not cover everything in a day, but we can ask you which topics are most important to you.  A third day can be arranged at extra cost if you have fairly specific requirements.

Day 2 of the course consists of us making cheese using our small crate system as above.  You may have already started to make cheese, in which case this is a perfect chance to ask questions about your cheese making.  If you have not experimented with cheese making, fear not, we will run through the basics with you and we will make a cheese and start to discuss cheese making commercially.

All that we ask that you do not compete with us as a business and respect the confidentiality of information provided.  So far, five of our two day commercial course alumni have gone on to be fully fledged cheese makers, one of them winning a gold star at the Great Taste Awards in his first year!

Consultancy Advice

Iona is able to assist with business planning, market research, preparing financials, costings and sales forecasts in addition to help source equipment, advise on what equipment is needed, dairy layout and dairy planning.  We work closely with our equipment suppliers, Brytec who have helped source the majority of Ribblesdale Cheese’s kit (and no, we don’t get a kick back!)

 Why Take a Cheese Making Course with Ribblesdale Cheese?

There are other places to take cheese making classes.  Chris Ashby runs possibly the best known course at Reaseheath which cost £492 and last two and a half days.  The inestimable Ivan Larcher and our friend Val Bines run excellent one and two day cheese making courses at the School of Artisan Food which cost from £175.

Whilst we do not have the experience of Chris, Ivan or Val, with us, Iona and Stu, you will receive individual one to one tuition and hands on practical experience with no sharing in a professional, friendly and relaxed environment.  We have learned the hard way and set up a small dairy from scratch just four years ago and we know all too well the pitfalls and have learned from our mistakes and we are happy to pass our knowledge on.  We are based in North Yorkshire which is handy for some people who cannot get to Nantwich or Nottingham.  With us, we will tailor our courses to your requirements; we are here to answer your questions and help you achieve your goals, whether it is making cheese at home in your kitchen or thinking about setting up a small commercial dairy.

What Do You get From the Course?

You will get one to one tuition from Iona and Stu who are there to answer all your questions.  Iona will explain the process of pasteurisation, the various steps of cheese making and the science behind cheese making, for it seems to us to be a mix of science, intuition and skill/experience, though one of our cheesey friends described cheese making as ‘a black art’!

We provide the milk, starter, rennet and salt and use of our food grade crate system, whites, hair net and a comprehensive set of cheese making notes.

You will also take an approx. 2kg cheese home with you, together with the cheese cloth and mould, both of which can be reused.

We will explain how to continue pressing your cheese and we will give you some wax so that you can wax it at home, to allow it to mature and develop flavour and texture.

We also provide a list of where to buy equipment and dairy supplies from.

What Will I Be Making?

We only make hard cheeses as these can be matured, have a long shelf life and are easier to transport home.

Every other Monday, we make a cow’s milk Wensleydale and on Tuesday to Thursdays we process goat milk.  We can make a goat milk style Wensleydale or a Gouda.  Making a Gouda is usually for more experienced cheese makers.

When Do You Run The Courses?

We run the courses from January to the end of October each year, depending on Iona’s availability and subject to a minimum of three people.  We do not run courses during our busy times: November to December, or on Saturdays.

Apart from a handful of sheep make days which are on Fridays, we do not make cheese on Fridays, so because we do not have the milk on Fridays,  we are unable to run classes on Fridays, except for sheep cheeses which we make about 8 times a year.

We process goat milk most Wednesdays and Thursdays, therefore, we offer one day classes on Thursdays – when there are enough people – and two day courses are on Thursday and Fridays.

Please e-mail iona: ionahill@gmail.com or call us on 01969 66 77 88.

Who Will Be Teaching Me?

Iona will be making the cheese with you and explaining about cheese making whilst Stu is making a large vat.  Stu is also on hand to ask questions and if you are interested, you can join Stu in making the large vat.  Please ask us lots of questions!

How Long Does the Course Last?

We generally ask people to arrive between 8.30am and 9am and depending on how warm our little dairy is, we should be finished at around 2.30pm – 3pm or later if you would like to help process the large vat.

What Do I need to Bring With Me?

If you want to bring a pad of paper to make notes, please do.  Please bring clean shoes as you may not fit into our wellies and be prepared for your shoes to get a little wet.  Otherwise, bring comfy clothing, it can be cold in our dairy in the winter and very warm in the summer, so if you are dressed in layers, it may make life easier.

 

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4 responses to “Cheese Making Courses Feb to April 2015

  1. Pingback: Cheese Making Course Availabillity | Ribblesdalecheese's Blog

  2. Pingback: What to buy for the person who has everything? A cheese making class voucher! | Ribblesdalecheese's Blog

  3. louise pope

    Hi, Just wanted to leave a note to say to anyone thinking about attending a course…..do it! I attended the one day course that Iona ran yesterday (3rd Feb cow’s milk Wensleydale) and can’t thank her and Stu enough for such an informative and enjoyable day (Iona – the cheese tasting really topped off the day. Thanks). It was great to be making alongside other beginners and to see how we all got slightly differing results at each stage of the process but yet all ended up with some great looking cheeses. For me what was equally as informative was to be able to compare our efforts with what was happening at the same time with that day’s make, being done by Stu as we all worked with Iona. It all made for a great opportunity to really start to understand the process of producing cheese and gain confidence that you really can do this at home. We all went home eager to experiment further I’m sure.
    All the best for the future, Louise

    • Louise – this is really lovely of you, thank you.

      I am glad that you enjoyed your cheese making day. I appreciate you already make cheese but hope that you still got something from it.

      I agree with you, I think being able to ‘feel’ (and sorry for all the innuendo!) other people’s curd at differing stages is really important to give you the experience and confidence of how a make should be, so that when you get home, it all makes sense. I realise you already have a fair bit of experience, but hopefully our time together was validating, and good for you to know that you are definitely on the right tracks.

      With best wishes and please do update me on how you are progressing with your various makes, you too all the best going forward,

      Iona

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