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Cheese making is an ancient and surprisingly complicated art form that has been practiced for thousands of years. Craft Cheesemakers do exactly what their name states- they make cheese. More specifically, high-end quality cheese- think bandaged cheddar not Kraft Mac n Cheese.
This is food science at both its primal and prime. As a Craft Cheesemaker, you’ll use techniques tested by time to turn milk into a wide variety of forms, and then start tinkering with those techniques to develop your own flavors and textures.
You start by adding bacteria to milk so that it will ferment (mmm, don’t start salivating yet). The type of bacteria you add and how long you allow it to ferment depends on what type of cheese you want to produce (e.g. Harvarti requires different combinations of elements than does Brie).
Once the cheese ferments, curd forms, and then draining and brining take place. And again, the process varies by cheese. Sometimes you’ll heat the cheese, other times you’ll let it dry slowly, and other times you’ll add mold to it (oh, yeah. Ever wonder about those spots in blue cheese?).
Patience is important in this process- some of the most renowned cheeses were long works in the making. And quality ingredients are key, so a lot of Cheesemakers work on a small scale, and develop business relationships with local reputable dairy farms.
Craft Cheesemakers enjoy a vibrant community of fellow artisans that often host competitions to recognize and reward their fellow compatriots skill. Opportunities with the U.S. and a large number of countries abroad make this a rewarding position with the potential for world travel.