Course Details: 

Introduction to Natural Cheesemaking with David Asher

Original Price:
Start Date and Time:

Monday, July 29, 2024

9:30 am
Finish Date and Time (Approx):

Friday, August 2, 2024

5:30 pm


1 Week


To Be Confirmed
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Introduction to Natural Cheesemaking with David Asher

Afternoon Cookery Classes begin at 2PM, however please try to be at cookery school for 1:45PM.

Guests will get a copy of all recipes and tastings of all dishes at the end of the demonstration. Please note you will be joining our main student body for this demonstration.

Details of Recipes to be demonstrated are published approximately 2 weeks in Advance.

We are delighted to have David Asher coming back again this year to teach a week long course on making Cheese.

Join us and cheesemaker David Asher of The Black Sheep School of Cheesemaking for this comprehensive, five-day introduction to natural cheesemaking.

David, a former farmer and goatherd from the west coast of Canada, is a natural cheesemaker and a leading advocate for raw milk cheesemaking. He is the author of The Art of Natural Cheesemaking and the forthcoming Milk into Cheese. During this five-day course, he will cover many aspects of natural farmhouse cheesemaking, from culture propagation to rennet coagulation and affinage, the art of aging cheese.

Students can expect to learn how simple traditional methods can lead to safe, effective, and delicious cheesemaking, using raw or pasteurised milk. David will explore how the philosophies of fermentation of natural wine, beer, sourdough and dairy are all interrelated. He will also focus on the implications of raw milk cheesemaking for human health and the complicated ethics of animal agriculture. The class explores five main categories of cheese and concepts of traditional starters, ripening ecologies, and natural rennet, offering a new understanding of cheesemaking even to those with many years of experience.


At Ballymaloe Cookery School, which is a fully certified organic farm, we have our own small dairy herd of Kerry and Jersey cows who who graze contentedly on organic pastures with lots of clover. They are milked every morning in our dairy to supply the cookery school. David will be using the raw organic milk from our cows, for this cheesemaking workshop.

This course is mainly in a demonstration format as David will show students how to make several types  of cheese.  There may be some small amounts of hands on sessions.

Day 1: David will teach you how to  create and care for the cultures of your cheese. We begin with a session on dairy fermentation, covering clabber, kefir, amasi (an African milk beer) and a traditional cream-top yogurt.

Day 2: David will use the cultures and rennet to make fresh lactic cheeses such as cream cheese, chevre and faisselle as well as geotrichum candidum ripened French lactic goat cheeses including crottin, Valençay and Saint-Marcellin.

Day 3: a focus on rennet cheeses, preparing – in the morning – the basic curd that can become many different styles of cheese. By the afternoon, the curd’s acidity will have developed, and we’ll be able to stretch the cheese into Mozzarella, Queso Oaxaca and Burrata. He also explores the rind ecologies that can transform the fresh cheese into a ripe Camembert.

Day 4: David will make Bleu d’Auvergne, a French blue cheese, and explore the cultivation of blue fungus that gives this cheese its beautiful blue eyes. On this day, he will also prepare rennet in the traditional way.

Day 5: Our final day, we make an Alpine cheese, and see how this one cheesemaking method can evolve in many different directions including Tomme and Raclette. We explore the concepts of rind washing and how it influences the hard cheese’s evolution. With the leftover whey, we prepare a batch of traditional ricotta.


Five days of learning allows students to see many styles of cheese through the many stages of their evolution. It also provides insight into how all cheeses can evolve from the very same milk, with the same cultures and the same rennet. The course will focus on natural methods and full circle, small-scale cheesemaking: no freeze-dried cultures or synthetic enzymes will be used in any of our makes.

Lunch will be provided each day at the cookery school. 

Students, if possible please bring two small jars and three medium sized containers for takeaways: one for kefir culture, one for rennet, one for clabber and two for some cheeses to take home to age.


Bio: David Asher is a natural cheesemaker, and a leading advocate for raw milk cheesemaking. A former farmer and goatherd from the west coast of Canada, David now travels widely, sharing a very old - but also very new - approach to cheese. Through teaching the use of in-house starter cultures and natural rennet, David helps cheesemakers around the world reclaim their traditional cheeses. He also explores the relations of all food fermentations, and the important role of small scale and traditional cheese production in our modern world. David is the author of The Art of Natural Cheesemaking and the forthcoming Raw Milk Cheesemaker. For more information, check out David is on Instagram at @theblacksheepschool.




The prestigious Ballymaloe 12 WeekCertificate Course is run three times a year, with courses beginning in January,April or May, and September.

The course is aimed at anyone with a passionate interest in food. Many of our students use the course as a springboard to become a professional chef; others use it to equip themselves with a marketable skill.

Others still take the course simply to maximize the pleasure they get from cooking at home.

Students develop a deep and detailed understanding of food and how it is produced. The emphasis is on recognising the best ingredients and knowing how to showcase them.

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