Hard & Semi-Hard Cheesemaking ADVANCED

Course Duration

5 days


Ivan Larcher



2024 dates

Monday 29 July – Friday 2 August


8:30 am to 5:00 pm




A deep dive into hard and semi-hard renneted cheesemaking in its many forms: semi-soft, semi-hard, hard cooked curd, uncooked pressed curd, including raw milk cheesemaking developments in Australia. Hard cheeses – from semi-soft vacherin-styles, to semi-hard tommes and Raclette-styles, to cheddars and uncooked pressed cheeses, to cooked-curd Alpine styles in all their aged glory – are the culmination of an artisan cheesemaker’s craft, whether working with cow, goat or sheep milk. Ripening times and conditions are key to great flavour and texture development, but so are milk quality, cultures and stirring and pressing techniques. Relatively low yield and long lead-time to selling means you need to maximise the ‘wow’ potential for these cheeses, to extract their full economic benefit. Winter is the perfect time to do this course!

There are no pre-requisites for this course, but it is an advanced cheesemaking course. Previous commercial cheesemaking experience and study is recommended, including having undertaken our Artisan Cheesemaking Fundamentals course.


  • key equipment and ageing options and how to minimise cost
  • choosing cultures for acidification and ripening
  • understanding how to cultivate the yeasts, moulds and bacteria for optimal hard cheese texture and complex flavour
  • focus on how to control the key mechanisms underlying hard cheesemaking, including management of acidification and syneresis in the vat and then in the moulds
  • rennet options
  • cutting, stirring, washing and pressing techniques
  • salting and brining techniques
  • optimal rind control parameters
  • several semi-hard and hard cheese makes in our purpose-built cheese training facility, under Ivan’s supervision
  • making hard cheese the artisan way – in a copper vat over a fire
  • working at commercial scale with our Long Paddock Cheese semi-hard and hard cheeses in our fromagerie, under Ivan’s supervision
  • affinage for hard cheeses, including in our fromagerie ageing rooms
  • a tour run by Ivan of our Long Paddock Cheese facility, during which you can ask questions about facility design, equipment etc
  • a fun Winter’s evening with a Raclette party at our onsite wine colleagues’ establishment, Boomtown Wine
  • opportunities throughout to ask questions of and seek guidance from Ivan about cheesemaking throughout the course.
hard cheesemaking
copper vat cheese


  • Cost: There is a 10% discount for existing students of The Cheese School and for cheesemaker/startup cheesemaker/associate members of ASCA (Australian Specialist Cheesemakers’ Association).
  • Participant numbers are limited to just 8-10.
  • Accommodation: there are lots of options for short-term accommodation near The Cheese School.
  • Meals: breakfast and lunch + tea and coffee are included in the cost. There are several nearby pubs and restaurants and other options available for evening meals. Please advise of any dietary restrictions on registration.
  • Cheese to take home: you can take the cheese you make home with you, with guidance from Ivan on how to ripen it.
  • Area: Castlemaine is a vibrant town nestled in Central Victoria, celebrated for its thriving artisanal food scene and creative artists. The Cheese School is conveniently located at The Mill, a hub for food and artisan manufacturing. Our onsite food and beverage neighbours include a cafe, coffee roasters, winery, ice-creamery, baker, small goods-maker, chocolatier, brewery &taproom, fruit and vegetable store, as well as numerous artists furniture makers.
  • Payment details: 50% is payable on application (by EFT to our bank account), with the remaining 50% payable 3 weeks before the course starts.
  • Cancellation Policy: Once a course/class is booked, the booking is FINAL and all amounts paid are NON-REFUNDABLE. If, however, you are unable to attend, provided you give us at least 14 days’ notice by email before the start date of the course/class you booked, you can assign your booking and your payment will be credited either: (a) to a new available date (within 12 months of the original course/class), or (b) to another person who may attend the course/class in your place.
  • We reserve the right to postpone or cancel a course/class at short notice should events beyond our control make this unavoidable. Should this occur, you will be offered the choice of: (a) a place on our next available scheduled course/class of the same type, or (b) a full refund.
  • Redeeming Gift Vouchers: Should you wish to redeem a gift voucher as part of your enrolment, please ensure you provide the unique voucher number when registering on our website.
  • Apply: please click the Book Now button above to fill in the registration form. You will receive an email confirmation letting you know we have successfully received your details. We will also be in contact you within 7 days to provide further information about your nominated course, including an invoice for the 50% deposit.

We have kept the cost of our courses down compared with equivalent courses elsewhere. We want to encourage those interested in professional cheesemaking to learn the skills from the master! We also offering a discount for the ASCA member categories mentioned above, as we believe in fostering a collaborative small-scale dairy community in Australia through their industry association.


Hard and Semi Hard Cheesemaking Advanced. 5 days. $1850+gst per person. 

Hard and Semi Hard Advanced