September 16, 2010

Back in March, the first Kentucky Cheesemaking School drew such interest that some were turned away. Organizers knew a second school was necessary, and so the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture is once again teaming up with Kentucky State University and industry partners to offer a three-day, hands-on Kentucky Cheesemaking School in October to show producers the basics of making a commercial, value-added cheese product.

“The school is for anyone who wants to learn to make cheese using milk from goats, sheep or cows,” said Terry Hutchens, UK extension goat specialist. “They will learn the latest technology and the basics of good sanitation practices and quality analysis.”

The school, hosted at the Clark County extension office and Miller’s Bluegrass Chevre, Farmstead Goat Cheese is Oct. 25 through 28.

Session one is Oct. 25; participants will meet at the Clark County extension office to learn about the latest cheese making technology, sanitation practices and cheese quality analysis. Session two is Oct. 26 through 28 at Bluegrass Chevre, where participants will learn to make hard cheeses like Colby and Cheddar and begin a process for softer cheeses such as cream cheese, Brie and Camembert. On the second day, participants will continue making soft cheeses and begin making feta and Parmesan. The third day, participants will finish all cheeses, begin making yogurt and also take part in a sensory evaluation of all the cheeses.

Hutchens said organizers expect participants will have a basic knowledge of milk quality, handling and sanitation by the end of the school. They should also have honed basic skills in cheese manufacturing, ripening, milk testing and cheese evaluation.

“We aren’t stopping at how to make cheese,” Hutchens said. “We want them to understand how cheese making knowledge can add value to their operations and also to have a basic understanding of how to market the cheese they make to enhance their income.”

The school begins with registration at 8 a.m. EDT Oct. 25. Each day’s session will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. Space is limited, and registration is filling fast for the current school; however, organizers will maintain a waiting list. If another school is scheduled in the future, those on the waiting list will automatically be selected first for the next date. Registration is $375 per person, which includes all learning materials and lunches. A $75 deposit must accompany registration and should be sent form by Sept. 30. The remainder of the fee is due the first day of school.

In addition to UK and KSU, sponsors of the school include the Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office, the Kentucky Dairy Development Council and Bluegrass Chevre. Cheese making instructors are Clair Hicks and Joe O’Leary from UK and Steve Zeng from Langston University in Oklahoma.

For more information about the Kentucky Cheesemaking School, or to obtain a registration form, contact Hutchens at 859-257-2465 or via e-mail to thutchen@uky.edu. For more information or directions to Bluegrass Chevre, e-mail Miller at gourmetgoats@msn.com, visit her website at http://www.bluegrasschevre.com or call 859-421-9683