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Beginners Cheesemaking Course in Melton

This weekend was so much fun.  I taught my first three cheese beginners cheesemaking course at Melton South Community Centre.

Yes, we had taught cheesemaking courses before, but just mozzarella, and not in long form.  My new course was 5 hours 30 minutes long and the students learnt how to make three basic cheeses; Paneer, Whole milk Ricotta, and Quick Mozzarella.

So let me share the day with you.

Kim and I set up the training kitchen with 30 minutes to spare before the class started.

Training Kitchen Setup

Training Kitchen Setup

The cost per student was $130, and they received a 30 minute Mozzarella and Ricotta Kit, two wooden cheese boards, and all the cheese they made on the day.

We had great feedback from the students that it was great value for money and that they only booked on it because they learnt how to make three cheeses in a day.

The Students

So lets meet these students shall we?

Emily and Petar

Emily and Petar

Emily and Petar were a lovely couple who were from Melbourne.  Both had a wonderful thirst for cheese knowledge and asked many pertinent questions during the day.

Pip and Margaret

Pip and Margaret

Gavin (that’s me), with Pip and Margaret.  Pip travelled from Melbourne, however Margaret travelled all the way from Biloela in Queensland!  She is one dedicated curd nerd.  Both had a great sense of humor and it made the day a pleasure.

The Cheese

So let’s have a look at the cheese that everyone made.

Before we touched the first drop of milk, I taught them how to sanitize their cheese making equipment and utensils and how to keep their work areas clean during the cheese making session.  They sanitized all their gear in between each session to ensure hygienic practices.

Paneer was the first cheese they made.  To make this cheese, you are required to boil the milk then add natural yoghurt and lemon juice.

Preventing the milk from burning

Preventing the milk from burning

Unfortunately it took a little longer than expected, because the electric stoves we had a hand in the training kitchen wouldn’t get hot enough to boil the milk!  I’ve never had this issue on a gas stove top.

It was starting to burn on the bottom, so I quickly made an executive decision and instructed them to add the extra ingredients at 90-95°C.

It’s then drained and pressed between two boards with 2kg of weight.

Pressing Paneer

Pressing Paneer

Fortunately, this worked and after 30 minutes of pressing in butter muslin, all students created their own Paneer.  I think they were going to make a curry to use it in.

Paneer being cut

Paneer being cut

Next cheese was Ricotta, which I don’t have any photos of.  Suffice it to say that everyone’s Ricotta was successful, some making it really soft and others making it a little firmer.  I have a special recipe that allows you to vary the softness of this cheese, which all students got to take home.  There was so much of it, that each batch just fit into their 1 litre containers.

After lunch we made the final cheese, Mozzarella.  This cheese only takes about 30 minutes to make and is of the pasta filata family of cheese.

All students were successful, although Petar need a hand to form the cheese for stretching (I don’t think his milk was acidic enough).  As it was his first try, he was still happy with the result and knew how to fix it next time he makes Mozzarella.

Gavin lending a hand to make mozzarella

Gavin lending a hand to make mozzarella

Once the curd has been stretched and formed into balls, they immersed the balls into iced water to cools down quickly so they keep their shape.

Mozzarella in iced water

Mozzarella in iced water

Here are some Mozzarella that Margaret made, ready to take home.

Mozzarella by Margaret

Mozzarella by Margaret

Success!

Each proud student asked me to sample their cheese, and all were as I expected; delicious.

At the end of the day’s class, the students volunteered to wash up which was unexpected, but very welcome.

I had a few cheese making items for sale at the end of the class.  Mostly books and gear that wasn’t supplied in the kit that we have for sale at Little Green Workshops.

Cheese gear for sale

Cheese gear for sale

Everyone were so happy with their cheese and the course that we even had class photos!

Emily and Petar with their cheese

Emily and Petar with their cheese

Here is Emily and Petar with their cheese.  Emily is holding her cheese in the following order, Paneer (top), Whole milk Ricotta (middle), and Mozzarella (bottom).  That’s Pip in the background photobombing!

Before they all went their separate ways we had a class photo.  There were smiles all round.

Beginners Cheesemaking Course

Beginners Cheesemaking Class Photo: L to R; Petar, Emily, Gavin, Pip, and Margaret.

Both Kim and I had so much fun during the day.  It felt so good imparting my cheese making knowledge and at the end, I shook each person’s hand and dubbed them an official curd nerd 🙂

Anyway, so far this school term, our course has been extremely popular.  We had only planned to teach one course this quarter, however due to demand, we put on another class on 5th June, which has subsequently been booked out.

We were then asked to schedule another Beginners Cheesemaking course for 7th May, which now half full and only has two places spare.

I think we’ve hit upon a winning cheese class formula!  We were even asked by Margaret to see if we could teach an advanced cheese making class, so we are giving it some thought.  It may have to be held over two days.

So, well done to our four new curd nerds.  May there be many more cheese to come!

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Cheese Making Kits

I love making cheese!  It is one of life’s simple pleasures, not only in the eating of this delicious fare, but in the making of this dairy delight.  So what better way to get started yourself than with cheese making kits.

During my time as a home cheese maker, I’ve created over 30 different styles of cheese in my very own kitchen, and it all started for me with a simple cheese making kit.  Making each cheese starts off with one simple ingredient; Milk.  The better your milk, the better your final cheese.  That’s a lesson I learnt the hard way.  I now only buy unhomogenised milk with which to make my cheesy creations as it sets a much better curd after renneting.

Over time I have purchased more equipment to complement my cheese gear so that I could make cheeses from soft like Queso Fresco and Mozzarella, to long maturing italian hards like Parmesan and Romano.  However, all these cheeses wouldn’t have been possible without my first cheese making kit.

Cheese making kits - Queso Fresco

Cheese Making Kits

Here at Little Green Workshops, we are able to source cheese making kits, ingredients, and equipment from multiple suppliers, bringing them all together in one convenient place.  Each kit is for a specific style of cheese, however once you master the basics, you can adapt your recipes and create rare cheeses that will delight you, your family, and your friends.

Mozzarella & Ricotta Kit

Mozzarella & Ricotta Kit

This Mozzarella and Ricotta kit is ideal for beginners.  In no time flat, you can be sampling your creation with a slice of homegrown tomato, basil, and some freshly baked bread.  I can think of nothing better as a summer treat.  This kit is used during our Beginners Cheese making course and is perfect for the first time curd nerd.

You can learn more about the Mozzarella & Ricotta Kit here.

Hard Cheese Kit

Hard Cheese Kit

This is our best-selling cheese kit.  Using the kit’s instructions you can make the following cheeses; Farmhouse Cheddar, Gouda, Monterey Jack, Feta, Cottage Cheese, Colby, Cotswold, Leicester, and Ricotta.  However, using this equipment and ingredients, I’ve also made Caerphilly and Wensleydale.

You can learn more about the Hard Cheese Kit here.

Soft Cheese Kit

Soft Cheese Kit

This is an idea beginners cheese making kit that includes ingredients and equipment to make; Lemon Cheese, Yoghurt Cheese, Queso Blanco, Chevre, Crème Fraiche, Fromage Blanc, Neufchatel: (American), Cream Cheese, Quark, Bondon Cheese, Whey Ricotta, and Feta.

I’ve also made Queso Fresco, Chili Queso Fresco, and Haloumi with this kit.  You can learn more about the Soft Cheese Kit here.

Feta Cheese Making Kit

Feta Kit

Feta was the first cheese I ever made.  It was incredibly simple, and this kit is great value and features square feta baskets among the equipment list.  You can make the following cheeses with this kit; soft Danish style feta, to harder crumbly Greek style feta to be eaten fresh or stored in oil or brined.

You can learn more about the Feta kit here.

Blue Cheese Kit

Blue Cheese Kit

I know that blue cheese is an acquired taste, but I love it.  The creamy texture and sharp flavour are unmistakable and deserve to be pride of place on your cheese board.

Our Blue cheese making kit contains equipment and ingredients to make; Danish Blue, Gorgonzola, Stilton, and Castello Style Blue.  I’ve also created my own blue cheese recipe that I’ve named Petit Bleu.

You can learn more about the Blue Cheese Kit here.

Italian Cheese Kit

Italian Cheese Kit

Italian cheese is in a class of its own.  Most have a piquant flavour that is created with the use of a Lipase enzyme, which adds character and depth to these cheeses.  Using this Italian cheese kit you can make; Cultured Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Romano, Pepato, and Whey Ricotta.

Make sure that you have somewhere to age the harder Italian cheeses as they take up to 1 year to fully develop.  I have converted a bar fridge for that very purpose and turned it into my ‘cheese cave‘.

Learn more about the Italian Cheese Kit here.

Camembert Kit

Camembert Kit

Bloomy rind cheeses such as Camembert are always a family favourite.  The delicate flavours are enhanced by the soft fuzzy rind that’s created by using Penicillium Candidum mould.  This Camembert Kit makes 25 batches of Camembert Cheese, with each batch producing 4 individual Camembert Cheeses.  It is an Intermediate Cheese Kit, ideal for those with some cheese making experience.

You can learn more about the Camembert process and the Camembert kit here.

Top Up Your Kits

If you’re like me, you will soon run out of ingredients for your kit.  Be happy in the knowledge that we have a wide range of cheese cultures and moulds, and other ingredients like rennet and calcium chloride that will help you make cheese long into the future.

So, there you have it.  A full range of cheese making kits for the home cheese maker.  I hope that you now have enough information to make that next step forward on your cheese making journey!

Cheese Making Kits

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