Author Topic: Looking for instructor to do weekend cheesemaking class  (Read 2250 times)

Offline TraditionalGoats

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Looking for instructor to do weekend cheesemaking class
« on: June 15, 2012, 11:16:18 AM »
Hi,

Posting for a WAPF chapter leader and a chef who are trying to get this together. 

Looking for someone to come to Minnesota and teach a cheese class.  Topics needed to be touched upon are making fresh cheeses in a food service environment as well as basic cheese making skills, equipment needed, culture differences, basic troubleshooting.  Anything else that you would think important or beneficial can be added as well. 

The head chef at one of the casinos is pushing to get this done.  He has been requested to add artisian cheeses made on site to the menu.  This seems to be a pretty decent draw and the casinos have a bit of money to play with it seems! 

Would like to get this planned for end of summer/fall of this year. 

If anyone is interested please let me know and I will get you in touch with John who is the WAPF leader.

Tracy


Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Looking for instructor to do weekend cheesemaking class
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2012, 12:29:43 PM »
FYI - making fresh cheeses "in a food service environment" or "artisian cheeses made on site" is illegal in every state that I know of. Cheese of any type must be made in a separate facility that is licensed to make cheese - and cheese ONLY. The head chef and John should rethink this.
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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Looking for instructor to do weekend cheesemaking class
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2012, 12:32:56 PM »
Yep, about the most you might be able to get away with is stretching bought curd for mozz, or making a fresh cheese like panir or halloumi (questionable).
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Offline smilingcalico

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Re: Looking for instructor to do weekend cheesemaking class
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2012, 03:13:39 PM »
I'm backing up Sailor and LB, I understand it the same.
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Offline TraditionalGoats

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Re: Looking for instructor to do weekend cheesemaking class
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2012, 07:14:00 PM »
Their argument (and not one I totally agree with) is:

1) this would be done on the reservation which is a sovereign nation.  The dairy standards that stay on the reservation are not the same (if any standard at all) of those in the state.  That argument would not be part of anything served at the casino. 

2) a full scale facility is the goal ultimately.  Not sure how it would be set up but their idea/plan is to use milk farmed locally on the reservation, made into product on the casino grounds (also on the reservation), and served at the casino.  If that can not be worked out, making it on the reservation and marketing it to stores is another goal. 

So, right now they are looking to learn how to make various cheeses and such. 

And if the fresh cheeses are from milk that is dead (pasteurized), why can't they be served?  I understand the basic flow, milk parlor, milk room, cheese room, aging room, to kitchen.  A good plan would have to be made up and if they went forward with something like this I would assume they would research to get it right.  If you are going to sink money into something, a plan is needed!

Part of this is to bring opportunity for some of the reservation members to be more self sufficient too.  Eating better (the WAPF is pushed here), getting healthy, and making food instead of buying it is partially the goal.

And even if they don't get this set up, it is still an opportunity for someone to come and teach a couple of days of cheesemaking to a group of people wanting to learn.  It will be more than the chef and John, I would like to attend, and I know of others who are not in this group who also would like to learn more.  Basically, they are looking for a number that they would have to get together to get someone out to teach. 

I don't know of any laws barring teaching.   ;)

We don't have much in the way of cheesemakers in Minnesota.   :'(  I teach classes about twice a month to my milk customers on how to make cheeses in their homes but that is a very basic way with stuff you can either find on hand or order pretty inexpensively on line.  And most of those cheeses are spreadable types or cottage cheese.  Pretty easy. 

I am not sure exactly where Treasure Island casino is at.  I know it is south of the Twin Cities metro area and I live north of there.  None of my customers are that far south either and I like my money a bit too much to go gambling!  lol 


Tracy

Offline smilingcalico

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Re: Looking for instructor to do weekend cheesemaking class
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2012, 12:15:15 AM »
Not to poke the nest, but am I to understand that the health department does not regulate the restaurant at the casino?
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Offline TraditionalGoats

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Re: Looking for instructor to do weekend cheesemaking class
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2012, 01:55:10 AM »
I would assume someone at the state checks once a year unless there is a complaint.  That is how it usually works.

Sorry I posted this here. 

I was relaying an idea/request for someone to come and teach a class.  I have nothing to do with any reservation stuff or the laws/rules governing such things.  I do know that there are tons of activities on one of the reservations that are not regulated by the state--milk and other "organic" sales, strip clubs, houses of "pleasure", unregulated gambling, stills, fishing and hunting, etc.  I don't drive anywhere near there. 

This reservation is rather large.  There are farms of sorts on it as well as little towns.  I think they could manage to build whatever was needed to make it work if desired. 

Some of the food served is grown or raised on the reservation as well.  Animals are butchered at inspected facilities and not out back.  There are several E2 and a couple of USDA facilities in MN and numerous custom plants which of course would not be able to be used for this.

I know that the chef (I have forgotten his name) is a "real" chef and graduated from some fancy school and knows his stuff.  He does not know how to make cheese tho, can cook with it but not make it.   He is coming to the next class I am teaching which just does small batches of cheeses that most people have requested--cottage cheese, cream cheese, chevre, basic and easy stuff in 1 gallon or less milk.  I have no idea how to do any of this on a larger scale, home use is what I teach. 

And since there are no schools or classes near by, it would be kind of fun to pay for someone to come and teach a class.  Especially since I can not leave the farm for more than one milking and go to a class for a weekend on one of the coasts.   ;)  And these two people can generally get things rolling and find the funds to make it happen.

They were not going to build a facility at this time, just wanted a class or two with more of a professional edge to it instead of the home use cheese that I teach.

Tracy

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Looking for instructor to do weekend cheesemaking class
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2012, 01:42:05 PM »
Tracy,

I have chefs contact me all the time here in Kentucky to learn how to make Mozzarella, Creme Fraiche, Mascarpone, Cream Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Ricotta, Ricotta Salata, Queso Blanco........etc, etc in their restaurants. Yes, I can certainly teach them how to do that, but as I said above, it is illegal to make ANY cheese in an unlicensed facility. Being an award winning chef that graduated from a fancy school, doesn't change the laws and being a "sovereign nation" doesn't make skirting the laws ethical either. If/when someone gets sick from eating cheese, all of us suffer the public backlash.

You asked "And if the fresh cheeses are from milk that is dead (pasteurized), why can't they be served?".

Because the same laws apply. Fresh cheese, whether from pasteurized milk or not is MUCH more susceptible to contamination. That makes it especially dangerous to produce in a mixed use facility.

I know that you aren't directly involved and are just the messenger, but your friends should know what they are getting into.

If they are interested in learning to make cheese in a proper facility, I would be interested. If they are interested in making cheese in their kitchen, I would not. The dilemma either way - it's hard to teach properly if you don't have the right equipment on hand.
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Offline TraditionalGoats

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Re: Looking for instructor to do weekend cheesemaking class
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2012, 06:59:20 PM »
Thanks Sailor.  I will pass that info on to them.

I realize the backlash.  The majority of milk from my goats and cows goes to people seeking out the raw milk from small farms.  Every time there is an "outbreak"--real or not--there is a bit of backlash to deal with.  It usually brings more people to the farm to get milk (which is crazy) but it also brings up questions and methods used or what is considered proper process info the forefront. 

And some people just don't get it.

Tracy

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Looking for instructor to do weekend cheesemaking class
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2012, 02:29:04 PM »
Want to be clear about why three commercial cheesemakers here have posted essentially the same message. I feel like we are not in any way trying to be discouraging. It would love, love, love for hand-made cheese to be served to people as part of a restaurant experience. And logically speaking, I feel like ample controls may be put into place to minimize any risks, both in cheese recipe design and making.

Where it breaks down is that logic does not necessarily coincide with the law. And because cheesecraft constitutes so much of our life, we spend a great deal of time and effort working within the regulatory framework and forming relationships with inspectors and administrators to 1) Make sure we let them know that we share a focus on food safety, that it's not antagonistic and 2) Make sure we elucidate our position as artisans, and that the practices we use are both safe and customary in smaller-scale cheese plants. When someone comes along bypassing the process, even with the best intentions, it kind of rubs us the wrong way, because we want to make sure that safety is maintained and that there's no consequence to us from someone who uses a more rogue or non-standard approach.

I've spoken about the sovereignty potential with our local WAPF leaders (puget sound), and the recommendation I made to them on the issue is that 1) It might be doable legally, hasn't been specifically tested in court 2) I do not feel like it is a good way forward philosophically. We should not be trying to figure out loopholes, but rather work as much as possible within the law, and then when the law interferes with our basic rights, then we should practice civil disobedience. We have 60+ years of learning about how to change culture and law, and fancy legal maneuvers have never prevailed.

At the same time, people should be able to exercise basic rights, such as the right to choose what to eat. Where the lines blur is when someone prepares food for the public. In this case, there are multiple considerations, including some framework to protect the public good.

I think there are many ways you can do this properly on the reservation, but they all require building a cheeseplant. For your scale, this is not very expensive. A portable one could be built to satisfy demand and sell to the public.

Way too much, I know. If you want someone to come out, there are about a few dozen people around the country I would say are very well-qualified to offer something very valuable (combination of technical expertise and great teaching style). But most of them are not very sympathetic to food service type of production. If you like, I can go through my contact list and help you with some names.

Quote
I don't know of any laws barring teaching.   ;)
There are for this, actually. Recall that the authoritative chain goes: county health dept, state health body, state dairy code, fed FDA, and fed health. Somewhere in there, multiple spoons are in the pot. However, most jurisdictions have a private event exemption.
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Offline iratherfly

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Re: Looking for instructor to do weekend cheesemaking class
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2012, 10:23:00 PM »
I too am a WAPF member and I am all for old wise food traditions. Having said that, as most cheesemakers suggested here, cheese does require its own facility and equipment due to its susceptibility to contamination during fabrication (and aging, if cheese is aged). Cheesemaking is not cooking. It's a natural culturing process that requires manipulation of microbes in a live product over time in order to bring upon flavors, aromas, textures and visual presentation.  Obviously when one creates and environment where microbes can/should thrive, it is also an invitation for contamination and disaster. It is only common sense to assure public safety by setting some standards -so that the variables of this volatile production environment are maintained under reasonable control.

Pav, as per your comment, in my case in the state of NY, there is only the Department of Agriculture that certifies me.  In many states (NY included), the making of fresh Mozzarella and Ricotta is allowed in a restaurant kitchen (in some cases, even in a store and table-side service in a restaurant!)  That is because these cheeses require heat treatment that is far higher temperature and longer lasting than pasteurization anyway, so it falls under the category of cooking - not culturing foods.  Production of Mozzarella in a commercial kitchen environment however, is limited in many states to curd that is purchased in bulk from a supplier who is a certified dairy plant. (So the commercial kitchen production is really just stretching the curd).

All that aside, if you want to create a dairy plant, don't be overwhelmed by the scary sound of that term. The reality is that the legal certification requirements for a small scale facility are usually far easier than certifying a commercial restaurant kitchen. It does need to be separated from any kitchen or baking. It is usually a room with bright lighting, which can be sealed off hermetically. The walls are washable, painted with non-porous paint. The floor is also non-porous and must have a drain. Air needs to be ventilated and temperature controlled. Lights and electrical outlets must be covered. Hot water are required as well as a deep double sink + separate sink for hand washing.  You will need separate refrigeration for raw products from that of the ready-to-consume products.  Fresh cheese (under 60 days) will require pasteurization and that's really the only piece of equipment that you are required to have if you wish to make such cheese.  A vat pasteurizer will be gentle enough for cheesemaking and most models enable you to use the vat for both pasteurization and cheesemaking. Many models call for 208v electrical setup -again, just like in restaurant equipment.  All working surfaces, shelving and tables should be stainless steel or food-grade plastics (just like a restaurant kitchen). That is also true for utensils and cheese moulds. Cheese packaging materials and cleaning supplies should be stored separately in their own enclosed cupboard.  You should plan on having a freezer for cultures and possibly the basic instruments that any cheesemaker need: thermometer, salometer, pH meter. That's pretty much all there's to it.  Your inspectors will ask you to submit to them a general description of your process (simplified recipe). They may also ask you to pass a state-approved course or test for sanitation practices and/or pasteurized operation.  In some places you will need a milk dealer license. These are all simple paperwork things that you can do in a day or two. There is no high heat cooking so no fire proofing, no vents, no gas safety etc.

What I would suggest is that you contact a dairy consultant that can come down and give you practical advice. Such person can teach the employees and management the food safety requirements, work with you on designing a proper cheesemaking room/facility and work with you on creating a recipe for solid cheese that works well with your environment, milk, workforce and end-consumers.

Alternatively, you may consider sending the head chef (or group of people) to VIAC where they can learn everything they need in no time. Through connection with VIAC you may be able to pick a good dairy consultant and experienced cheesemakers and interns to start the operation. Here's a link: http://nutrition.uvm.edu/viac/index.cfm?pg=Cheesemaking%20Certificate%20Program&section=programs

Offline Mozzmaker

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Re: Looking for instructor to do weekend cheesemaking class
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2013, 03:05:24 PM »
Hi,
If you decide to make awsome " home made " mozzarella for your guests to brag about, then, buyig a good quality curd and going from there is the way to go. Very little waste, time efficient, safe, and the results can be MAGIFICENT.
I am an awrd winning Mozz maker, let me know if you are interested in a lesson.
Gino
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