Author Topic: Question for professional cheesemakers  (Read 4850 times)

Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Question for professional cheesemakers
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2013, 02:29:59 PM »
You could always take the approach that I used,

1: Learn German
2: Go to Switzerland
3: Spend the Summer in the Alps on a farm making cheese.

This is what you could call a super-apprenticeship
It helps to grow up in a family/community that speaks a dialect of German like I did  ;)

Think a lot about HOW you want to make cheese. Do you want to be modern, slick, scientific, mechanized, etc? Or would you rather be hands-on, simple, and traditional? There are advantages to both ways, and also both ways appeal to a different kind of person.
We do things the old way, because that's where my heart is. A big advantage to me with this is the low cost at startup for this -our vat, for example, is a 40 gallon copper round bottom kettle we had made special for our operations at a cost of $1200, as opposed to the $5000+ you would pay for a similar item out of USDA approved stainless steel. (But, you HAVE to have the traditional approach to get by with copper, otherwise they wont let you have it)

Overall, the best thing you can do before you get started is to amass a good deal of personal experience. Make cheese at home whenever you can, go to classes/courses, etc. and maybe even volunteer/apprentice some labor for a cheesemaker like you said.

Think also of the scale you want to have. Do you want to produce at high volume, gathering from many local farmers, or do you want to run a small-scale operation, with your own cows/goats to supply your needs?

Offline klschnepp

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Re: Question for professional cheesemakers
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2013, 11:49:39 AM »
I have just made the leap from hobby to profession and I might add that you might want to find out early what kind of cheese you are passionate about making, if you want to be working with cow, sheep or goat milk (or a mix!), if your goal is to have your own business or be a cheesemaker at someone else's company, and what your timeline is.    Naturally, all experience is extremely valuable, but the more targeted you are, the faster your learning curve can be (not necessarily will be, but it increases the odds).     

Naturally, I have met a ton of cheesemakers who just get started and follow the opportunities that come their way and this certainly works!!   But if you want to start your own business relatively soon, there needs to be opportunity in the marketplace.  For example, I live in the UK -- there is absolutely no need for another cheddar!!  So, if I happened to love cheddar, I would really need to set my sights on working for someone else unless I came across a concept that was really viable in the marketplace.   So, I say the first question is what does the market want or need in the area that you plan to live in?   

Hope this helps.

Offline OpheliaBlue

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Re: Question for professional cheesemakers
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2013, 02:49:34 PM »
There's also the VIAC:

It's a little pricey but I plan on doing it once I've saved up. That certification plus some apprenticeships would be great to have under your belt. I'm excited for you, hope you end up making and selling some great cheeses!