Affinage: The Art & Science
of Maturing Cheese
Faculty: Eric Meredith
August 5-8, 2020
October 7-10, 2020
The art and science of affinage is a complex alchemy that can take a few hours or last several years. When making aged cheeses, the French consider that milk undergoes two transformations: first, liquid milk is transformed into fresh curd and second, the curd is transformed into aged cheese. This course covers the second transformation in all aspects, while adding tips for clear lines of communication with the cheesemaker and developing profitable relationships with your customers.
Two comprehensive tastings have been designed to hone your palate and expand your knowledge of sensory evaluation in respect to age profiles as well as defects. Classroom sessions will dive deep into the microbiology behind affinage. Later in the week the class will apply classroom theory by working directly with cheeses at the Cellars at Jasper Hill. This day long experiential part of the course will include a soft and hard cheese practical skills workshop. The exercises planned will give you hands on practice to applying in your own endeavors.
Students will be introduced to various methods of maintaining and monitoring the ripening environment. Design ideas for affinage spaces, cheesemaking facilities and distribution areas will be shared and scrutinized to maximize flow, reduce food safety challenges, comply with ergonomic principles and keep quality at its highest levels. Students will leave the course confident in their ability to make decisions concerning cheese ripening room design elements, refrigeration styles, room volumes needed, best materials for function and developing a food safety plan for an affinage facility.
The curriculum is designed in cooperation with Academie MonS. In the US, Maison MonS was a key consultant in the development of the Cellars at Jasper Hill, Vermont’s famed affinage center located 15 minutes from Sterling College, and more recently, Crown Finish Caves in Brooklyn NY.
This course is produced and instructed by the experts at Academie MonS and made possible with the support of The Cellars at Jasper Hill.
WHO IS THIS CLASS FOR?
Cheesemongers interested in:
- Understanding the development of their cheeses
- Improving marketability and value added through affinage
- Expanding their product offerings
- Developing affinage skills or working with professional affineurs to handle their cheeses
Affineurs interested in:
- Creating/expanding/enhancing their caves and services
- Improving their skills
- Working with different cheeses
- Understanding and identifying surface flora
- Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points for cheese
- Managing caves for optimum performance
- Maturing cheeses for outstanding taste, texture, and marketability
Cheese distribution professionals interested in:
- Improving their ability to care for cheese in transit from producer to retailer
- Reducing loss and product returns
- Accurately identifying and understanding changes that happen to cheeses in their care
- Adding an affinage component to their service package
Cheese Retailers interested in:
- Reducing returns
- Distinguishing spoilage from appropriate evolution in cheese
- Understanding cheese and conveying that understanding to customers
- Offering an affinage aspect to their business
- Learning to troubleshoot cheeses in receiving, backstock, and the display case
Cheese professionals interested in:
- Preparing for the ACS Certified Cheese Professional™ exam
- Judging for cheese competitions
THE PROGRAM INCLUDES:
- Cheese make processes and their effects on aging
- Characteristics of cheese paste and implications for affinage
- Glycolsis, Proteolysis, Lypolysis
- Microbes present in cheese: natural and additive
- Environmental factors and how they influence rind development and affinage
- Identifying surface flora: the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly
- Infrastructure, tools, materials and gestures required for proper affinage
- Organoleptic appreciation of the effects of various ripening techniques on cheese
- Classroom theory and discussion
- Hands-on practice in the Cellars at Jasper Hill
- Daily cheese tastings
- Comparative experiments in affinage
- Daily review of questions and issues encountered in hands-on work
- Students train directly with practicing professionals
- Visits to deepen your understanding of affinage’s role in the life of cheese and environmental controls
Intermediate to Advanced. This course is suitable for confident home cheesemakers and those who have experience in commercial cheesemaking. This course is often considered a professional development opportunity to those who work in the cheese industry.
There are no formal prerequisites for this class. Cheesemaking 101 and 201 are highly recommended prerequisite courses for this class but not required. In order to gain the full value of the class, students should have solid cheese-making experience and should come with a general understanding of the biology and chemistry associated with milk, proteins, carbohydrates, enzymes and microbes along with basic algebra. Eric will commonly use metric units and degrees Celsius; please be comfortable with these units of measure before class begins.
- Tuition for this course is $3100.00. This includes classroom lectures, hands-on workshops, lodging during the course and all meals.
- Class size is limited to 6. A minimum of 3 enrollments are required for the course to be held.
- A non-refundable deposit of 20% of the tuition may be made in order to reserve your seat in a course at any time until the full tuition due date, at which time full tuition will be due to reserve a seat in the course.
- Tuition is due to be paid in full 30 days before the course start date. A late fee of $50 will be applied in the case of payments made past the full tuition due date.
- In the case of course cancellation by the institution, deposits will be returned. Course fees beyond the non-refundable minimum deposit are refundable for cancellations up to 30 days before the course start date. Please contact your course coordinator for cancellations after that date.
August 5-8, 2020
October 7-10, 2020
“I was worried it might be an experiential ‘vacation’ vs. a real class. No problem there! Great technical and background info. Good to be around peers with similar challenges. This will help me interpret mold development in caves, and help solidify new cave design.”
-Jon Gougar, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese
“I learned enough at the end of Day 1 that justified my investment. The rest was a well received bonus. The entire course was incredibly inspiring.”
-Jeremy Little, Sweet Grass Dairy
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