We recently did an article about Kate Johnson’s cheese making certification program at The Art of Cheese in Longmont, Colorado (click here). In it, we mentioned that Kate has awarded 3 of her students with her Platinum-level certificate, the highest one. It means that these cheese makers have completed a certain amount of classes with Kate and have achieved the highest level.
Kate had “An Evening With Three Cheesemakers” in November where these three prepared trays of their own cheeses and answered questions about their cheese making. (All the photos were taken by Al Milligan.)
Niwot Home Cheesemaker since 2013
From Kate’s flyer: Karen’s interest in cheesemaking comes from her love of science, food, cooking and entertaining. She took her first class from Kate Johnson in 2013 and was hooked! She has been a committed student and regular cheesemaker ever since. Karen participates in local herd shares to have access to fresh goat, sheep and cow’s milk. She loves to experiment with various techniques, cultures and ingredients. Her favorite cheeses to make are parmesan-style and white mold rinded cheeses. When not making cheese, Karen is a Mental Health Care Counselor and is a wife and mother of three children.
Karen told us: “I age my cheese in three mini fridges with temperature controllers. I keep the blues, whites and hard cheeses separate so they don’t cross-contaminate. I keep pretty detailed notes about each cheese I make so I can repeat if it works out well—but some of the best cheeses have come from accidents when not keeping exact times and temperatures.”
Greeley Home Cheesemaker since 2014
From Kate’s flyer: After years of traveling to cheese festivals, Ripley took an Alpine cheese class at The Art of Cheese and got hooked on cheesemaking! Now he makes over 25 different cheeses including Jarlsberg and Swiss. Ripley is a home cheesemaker on the go – he was spotted recently at the Weld County Fair demonstrating cheesemaking and at The Colorado Cheese Festival in The Art of Cheese booth!
More info: You can follow Ripley’s cheese blog (cheese.sunspotdesign.com), for more information about his cheese making experiences.
Ripley told us: I started with a wine fridge that I converted to a cheese cave by slowly drinking all of my wife’s wine and replacing it with cheese. Then, a friend gave me a dorm frig, then I bought a full size frig and it is full of cheese now. No room for anything else.
I started making cheese with grocery store milk, buying the cheapest $2 a gallon milk I could find and now I have graduated to using fresh raw organic milk from R Patch of Heaven (https://rpatchoheaven.wordpress.com/) and WiMo Farms (http://www.wimofarms.com/). Now, my cheese is so much better. The thought about using the best milk you can get your hands on holds true, as I have discovered.
I currently have about 60 lbs. of cheese in the frig and most of it will be eaten by my friends and family.
Longmont Home Cheesemaker since 2014
From Kate’s flyer: Denise loves to cook, so when her husband suggested ‘they’ learn to make cheese, it seemed like a great opportunity to take some classes at The Art of Cheese. Her favorite cheeses to make are Spanish-style cheeses, an interest that grew out of her visits with artisan cheesemakers in Spain. She’s pictured here with her Nubian doeling, nicknamed “Cheese”! Denise is also learning to milk and care for dairy goats and dairy sheep at two local farms.
Denise told us: I have one goat named Cheese – she lives out at Kate’s farm. And, I have a couple of “adopted” dairy sheep at Sky Pilot farm. I bottle feed all the lambs that their moms can’t take care of. In the spring, I will be buying my own sheep (just a couple) that will live out at Sky Pilot farm – dairy sheep with Awassi genetics that has much higher butter fat than the typical dairy sheep, so exceptionally good for cheese making.
I age my cheeses in 2 wine refrigerators. I’m bursting at the seams, and thinking it’s time to either buy a larger refrigerator and convert it to a cave, or add a 3rd wine frig.
All the cheese books and cheese classes teach you how to constantly tend your young hard cheese to keep the mold off the exterior. So, two years ago when we were about to leave for 2 month in Spain, I enlisted our son to come by our house at least once a week to clean my precious Manchego. The day we returned home, as soon as we landed my phone rang. “Ummm…. Mom? I, errrrr…. Well, your cheese is a little fuzzy.”
I held my breath when we got home and I opened the cheese frig. I was horrified to find my beautiful basket-weave Manchego completely overtaken by multi-colored molds. So I did some quick research, ran out and bought a stiff vegetable brush, and dry brushed the cheese. Below all that growth was a beautiful brown exterior that looked just like many of the Manchegos I had eaten in Spain. Still, I had no idea how it would taste. So we cut into it and both my husband and I were blown away by the depth of flavor of that cheese.
Since that day, I’ve never again cleaned and fussed with my hard cheeses. They are flipped regularly in the cheese cave, but I allow the mold to grow, and although I’m no scientist, I’m convinced that my lazy approach to cheesemaking contributes to the flavor of my cheeses.