An In-depth look at Wensleydale Cheese, 16th-18th September


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Northern Dairy Cheese School is a series of seminars designed to increase technical knowledge and understanding for current and future cheesemakers, through hands-on cheese-making sessions.

The objective of this seminar is ‘An in-depth look at Wensleydale’ – to look in detail at how differences in the cheese-making process can produce very different cheeses, by examining three slightly different Wensleydale recipes. The seminar attendees will discuss with the cheese-makers how the parameters of making Wensleydale affect the end results, before spending a day in the dairy making a Wensleydale to a recipe they create.
Wensleydale offers a great opportunity to help all of us understand the relationship between moisture, acidity and texture.

To facilitate this, earlier in the year three Wensleydales will be made at The Courtyard Dairy to Stonebeck, Fellstone and Yoredale recipes – using exactly the same milk, equipment and maturation time/methods.
The only difference will be the cheesemaking recipes.  Then on 16-18th September 2024 you can join the Northern Dairy Cheese School to discuss these recipes and design your own recipe:

  • Day one involves discussing the various methods of making Wensleydale with Wensleydale cheesemakers: sampling cheese, examining the differences caused by slight changes in making procedures, and discussing how this affects the making, textures and flavours.  Using this information the seminar attendees will create a Wensleydale recipe to make on day two.
  • Day two involves making Wensleydale as a team, looking at the parameters of the make identified on day one and how this affects cheesemaking, whilst getting hands-on in the dairy.
  • Day three involves a classroom summary, recap and discussion.

Seminar attendees are expected to have previous cheesemaking experience.

The full programme is detailed below.

More about this

This seminar is run by the Northern Day Cheese School:

  • Spreading & Building Knowledge
  • Connecting People
  • Creating Industry Strength

Detailed Seminar Outline: An in-depth look at Wensleydale

  • Day 1: 16th Sept.  Seminar attendees arrive at The Courtyard Dairy in time for lunch (included).
    Afternoon classroom session: taste with the cheese-makers the three different Wensleydale recipes made at Courtyard Dairy, and Yoredale, Fellstone & Stonebeck made that same week.
    Discuss why the differences occur (looking at starters, temperature in the make, acidification profiles, drainage methods, etc.) and how this has affected the end cheese.
    From this, as a team, create a Wensleydale recipe to be made the next day.
    Evening meal included for all seminar attendees.
  • Day 2: 17th Sept.  Arrive at The Courtyard Dairy for 9am.
    Make Wensleydale cheese following the recipe created the day before, taking notes and discussing around the vat the parameters during the making.
    Lunch included.  Evening free to enjoy in the locality.
  • Day 3: 18th Sept. Arrive at The Courtyard Dairy for 9am.
    Discuss the cheese made the previous day, what was different, what we would do next time, and what we would like to learn in future.
    The seminar will finish by midday.
  • Follow up:
    Minutes of the seminars detailing the learning, cheesemaking techniques and recipes used on the day, as well as parameters explored and end outcomes, will be provided to all seminar attendees within one week.
    Samples of the fully-matured cheese made will to be sent out to seminar attendees to sample (at maturity).
    A physical copy of the findings will be kept in the Cheese School Library, with future Cheese School topics and improvements to be documented.

This seminar will be technical and hands-on, and is aimed at people with cheesemaking experience  – it will be expected that you will already  have a good understanding of how cheese is made.  A separate series of events will follow the seminar, however, exhibiting the key findings to be presented to the general public and cheese industry through a series of tastings (virtual and physical) as well as published articles (SCA magazine / GFF magazine).

**The seminar is not-for-profit, so the attendee charge is purely to cover costs (milk, lunch, cheesemaking expenses, power, dairy assistant, etc.); it does not include accommodation which can be found locally – for a list of suitable providers please ask.
Surplus funds, if any, will be used towards future seminars.

If you are a small or new cheesemaker and would like assistance with the attendee charge, there is a bursary provided by The Academy of Cheese & The Courtyard Dairy – to apply, just ask.

Watch this space for Seminar 2, March 2025: ‘Milk – how it affects the cheese: Warm Raw v. Pasteurised v. Chilled Raw’

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