I had never considered making cheese, until I met Graham Redhead at a Fair Food dinner in Bungendore last year. He was running a cheese-making course that weekend and happened to sit at the same table. I was so fascinated by what he said and the way he said it, that I asked to join the next class that night.
Graham travels around Australia giving cheese-making courses so it isn’t often that he lands in Canberra. He sent out some pre-reading notes before the class and started the course 7:45am for 8 am. I was a little concerned about losing my precious weekend lie-ins but went anyway… and am so glad that I did.
No time to waste, Graham got straight into an overview of the course and by 8:30 am we started to make Brie, Chabichou and Quark. By the end of the first day, we had completed Farmhouse Cheddar, Chabichou, Ricotta and Quark and had prepared brines and starters for day 2. The pace was intense, but the day flew by. I felt as though I had achieved so much in a few hours, I was buzzing when I left.
After a brief recap of day 1, we were into making Mozzarella, then Greek Feta and finalising the Brie. We finished everything by 2pm and had time to sit down and taste some different cheeses with wine and talk about different milks, the pros and cons of pasteurised milk versus homogenised and generally learn some interesting things.
Why do the cheese-making course?
- I learn by doing and I admit I am a complete beginner when it comes to cheese making. However, I now understand how cheese is made. Some of the things I learnt and retained were that making a soft or hard cheese doesn’t depend just on what starter culture and rennet you add. It also makes a great deal of difference to the taste and outcome on how big or small you cut the curd, what temperature you heat the milk to, for how long, and whether you nudge the cheese or stir quickly.
- There is something for all levels of cheese making enthusiasts. From people who just like to eat cheese and are curious, to chefs, scientists and passionate cheese making hobbyists.
- There is a maximum of 12 people on the course and you make everything in pairs, so you can discuss your experience with someone right there.
- You get to take six cheeses home and share your experience with your family and friends in the best way possible – by eating the products you have created either on bread with tomatoes and basil or making a lasagne from the mozzarella.
- Graham can talk about cheese until the cows come home – which is really fascinating and inspiring.
- You get skills to make cheeses when you want and Graham gave us detailed notes and recipes to get started straight away… and you get better each time.
Go to cheesemaking.com.au. It really is worth giving it a go!