The Black Sheep School Cheesemaker returns!

Artisan cheesemaker David Asher @theblacksheepschool returns to Roebuck Farm in April 2024 to teach two distinct back-to-back natural cheesemaking workshops.

Tickets are HERE

David is a Natural Cheesemaker, and a leading advocate for raw milk cheesemaking. A former farmer and goatherd from the west coast of Canada, David now travels widely, sharing a very old but also very new approach to cheese. Through teaching about the use of in-house starter cultures and natural rennet, David helps cheesemakers around the world reclaim their traditional cheeses. He also explores the relations of all food fermentations, and the important role of small scale and traditional cheese production in our modern world. David is the author of ‘The Art of Natural Cheesemaking’ and the upcoming ‘Raw Milk Cheesemaker’.

Workshop #1

22-26 April 2024 @roebuckfarm
NZ$1000 catered (to your hearts content)

From culture propagation to rennet coagulation and on to affinage, this comprehensive and hands on course covers many aspects of a natural farmhouse cheesemaking. Students can expect to learn how simple traditional methods can lead to a safe, effective, and delicious raw (or pasteurized) milk cheesemaking; how the philosophies of fermentation of natural wine, beer, sourdough and dairy are all inter-related. There will also be discussions of the implications of raw milk cheesemaking for human health, and the complicated ethics of animal agriculture.

Day 1: we learn to create and care for the cultures of our cheese. We begin with a session on dairy fermentation, covering Clabber, Kefir, Amasi (an African milk beer) and a traditional cream-top yogurt.

Day 2: we use our cultures and rennet to make fresh lactic cheeses such as Cream Cheese, Chevre and Faisselle as well as Geotrichum-candidum ripened, French lactic goat cheeses such as Crottin, Valençay and Saint Marcellin.

Day 3: we look at rennet cheeses, preparing, in the morning, the basic curd that can become many different styles of cheese. By the afternoon, the curd’s acidity will have developed, and we’ll be able to stretch the cheese into Mozzarella, Queso Oaxaca and Burrata. We also explore the rind ecologies that can transform the fresh cheese into a ripe Camembert.

Day 4: we make a French Blue Cheese, Bleu d’Auvergne, and explore the cultivation of blue fungus that gives this cheese its beautiful blue eyes. On this day, we will also prepare rennet the traditional way.

And Day 5: we make an Alpine cheese, and see how this one method can evolve in many different directions including Tomme and Raclette. We explore the concepts of rind washing and how it influences the hard cheese’s evolution. And with its leftover whey we prepare a batch of traditional Ricotta.

Five days of learning allows students to see many styles of cheese through the many stages of their evolution, and provides insight into how all cheeses can evolve from the very same milk, with the same cultures and the same rennet. The course will focus on natural methods and a full circle, small-scale cheesemaking: no freeze-dried cultures or synthetic enzymes will be used in any of our makes.

Workshop #2

29 April -3 May 2024 @roebuckfarm
NZ$1000 catered (to further your hearts content)

This class is for the aspiring home-cheesemaker, fiendish fermentor or farmstead producer wishing to improve their game and make more traditional raw milk cheeses without manufactured cultures, that’s preferably previously taken an introductory class with David Asher.

The second course focuses on more challenging cheeses; those that require more careful curd handling like Brie, high temperature cooking like Comte, or more complex ripening like Stilton. It also explores the subjects of commercial adaptations of natural methods, the in-house production of rennet, and the diverse microbial ecologies of cheese to much greater degrees. And proposes a new theory of natural fermentation that envelops all modes of traditional food preservation including sourdough, natural wine and vegetable fermentation.

The class will offer a review of natural methods before entering into the throes of raw milk cheesemaking. In five days we will cover a breadth of makes, including white rinded half-lactic cheeses, washed curd cheeses, milled curd cheeses, and a full alpine make, focusing on styles that are only hinted at in the introductory course.

Day 1: We will begin by preparing hand-ladled Camemberts and Bries, learning what makes these cheeses as creamy as possible.

Day 2: On the second day, we will wash our curds to make both a small & mouldy (cat fur-ripened) Saint Nectaire, and a big orange rinded wheel of Gouda.

Day 3: We will make a Stilton, exploring the curd milled method that gives the cheese its beautiful blue veins.

Day 4: We will learn about firmer milled curd cheeses, preparing and pressing a truckle that will ripen into a cloth-bound Cheddar or naturally rinded Cantal.

And on day 5: We will conceive a traditional full-alpine cheese, cooking the curd to a high temperature before pressing it into a massive wheel of Comté.

This second level course explores how natural methods help evolve the best characteristics in all styles of cheese. It’s sure to be an ambitious and delicious week!

If David’s last workshop here are anything to go by, these will sell out.
Book your place here!

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