Microbiology & Cultures for Cheesemaking ADVANCED

Course Duration

4 days


Ivan Larcher


$1480 + gst

2024 dates

Monday 23 Sept – Thursday 26 Sept


8:30 am to 5:00 pm




Artisan cheesemakers are sometimes referred to as microbe farmers. Milk is a superb vector for microbial activity, and the endless range of textures, flavours and aspects of the world’s vast array of cheeses is due, to a large extent, to the microbes – bacteria, yeasts, moulds, viruses – that work on and in milk. After the milk itself, microbes are the most important component in the making of great cheese.

The cheesemaker’s job is to understand their microbial helpers’ needs and activities, and work with them to produce the desired outcome – delicious cheese. To do so, the cheesemaker’s knowledge of both wild and commercial microbes, and how they work together at the different stages of cheesemaking and ripening, is essential.

This course is a deep dive into the world of microbes and cultures relevant to cheesemaking. It will be taught by Ivan, together with a microbiologist who is expert in dairy microbiology.

There are no pre-requisites for this course, but it is an advanced course for cheesemakers who are already reasonably familiar with the science, practice & range of microbes and cultures relevant to cheesemaking. Previous commercial cheesemaking experience and study is recommended, including having undertaken our Artisan Cheesemaking Fundamentals course.


  • a deep dive into the world of bacteria, fungi/yeasts & viruses, and how they are relevant to cheesemaking and ageing;
  • a closer look at microbes of technological interest to the cheese industry (starters, NSLAB, ageing) and their key effects on cheese characteristics;
  • the use of commercial cultures in dairy and how best to source them;
  • the bad guys (pathogenic and spoilage), and how to find, identify and control them;
  • using cheese cultures to troubleshoot cheesemaking problems;
  • a practical demonstration of simple in-house tests (using petri dishes etc) + their pros and cons;
  • wine and cheese tasting one evening;
  • opportunities throughout the course to ask questions of and seek guidance from Ivan about cheesemaking and the business of cheese.
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  • 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.


Microbiology & Cultures for Cheesemaking ADVANCE 4 day $1480 per person + gst

Microbiology and Cultures