Wisconsin March 08, 2019
You Can Learn How To Make Fresh Cheese On This Wisconsin Farm
There’s just no denying that we here in Wisconsin love our cheese. We’re America’s Dairyland and Wisconsin produces more than a quarter of all cheese made in the US. If Wisconsin were a country, it would be the fourth largest cheese producing country in the world. According to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Wisconsin produces 2.8 billion pounds of cheese per year. We have 11,000 farms with 1.27 million cows producing the best dairy the country has to offer.
That being said, becoming a Wisconsin cheesemaker is no easy feat. Wisconsin is the only state in the nation that requires cheesemakers to be licensed if they want to sell their cheese. But if you want to make your own cheese at home, in your own kitchen? That you can do and it’s totally easier than you think!
Rose Boero raises Toggenburg goats on her farm in Custer, outside of Stevens Point. She came to dairy farming and cheesemaking as a second career, after spending much of her life as a nurse.
Already familiar with making some cheeses at home, Rose went all in and became a certified Wisconsin cheesemaker. That involved a two-year process of taking classes at UW-Madison and UW-River Falls and completing over 240 hours of apprenticeship. Wisconsin has the toughest restrictions and regulations for cheesemaking in the country.
In the end, Rose became certified and now she helps teach the art of at-home cheesemaking right from her home on the farm. These types of opportunities crop up in Madison or Milwaukee, but Rose saw a need for them in the center of the state. She's committed not only to teaching that some types of cheese can be made quite easily, but also to helping pass on where food comes from.
Rose has been making her own cheeses for years and has all kinds of tips and tricks for home cheesemakers and now also has the professional experience of creating cheese commercially.
Class dates are subject to change and can be affected by a number of things. At the moment, there are farmstead classes scheduled for April 13th and May 11th, 2019. Private or individual group classes can be scheduled, so make sure you reach out to the farm and let them know what you're looking for - they're super accommodating!
There are two cheesemaking class options. One is called "Discover the Magic of Cheesemaking" and participants learn to make quark, mozzarella and a pressed curd cheese. There is a video tour of artisan cheese plants in Wisconsin and a taste test in which you'll learn to identify the specifics of different cheeses and compare a dozen award-winning artisan cheeses. Enjoy a small cheese-inspired luncheon, and gain an understanding of what makes one cheese different from another. That class is $50 per person or $40 for students.
There's also a shorter, simplified class that only focuses on mozzarella and ricotta for $25. Both classes are hands-on - there's no standing around and not participating here. Not only will you feel comfortable repeating the process at home, but you'll learn where to find the necessary supplies and equipment to do it again on your own.
As someone who has been making her own cheese for ages, Rose has all kind of things she's created to help with the process. Check out this homemade cheese press weighed down by a bowling ball. These work-around solutions are how you know Rose knows what she's doing; she has perfected it all and knows how to make it work!
We here in Wisconsin love cheese, but few of us have any idea how it's made. Rose's grandma lived on a farm and made her own cheese and now Rose is not only continuing that tradition, but making sure to pass it on through these classes.
This is basically the perfect, most Wisconsin way to spend an afternoon. Celebrate a birthday or achievement or just treat yourself. You and your friends will love this totally unique and awesome way to spend some time together and you'll learn something new and amazing. It probably should be required that all true Wisconsinites learn about cheesemaking, after all, right?
learn more about these classes here. The farm is called Tea Rose Toggenburgs and is located in Custer, about 10 miles west of Stevens Point. You can also reach out to Rose directly for any additional questions – just email her at [email protected]
If you really love cheese,
you have to check out this epic cheese trail that takes you to so many factories in stores in one short trip that you might get sick of cheese by the end of it!