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Cheese Making

Our cheese making course is a brilliant entry point in to the world of cheese production. From curds and whey to the finished truckle, learn how to make cheese with a day of delicious dairy at River Cottage Cookery School.

As Monty Python had it, blessed are the cheesemakers – and we quite agree. Our one-day cheese making course is a fantastic introduction to the world of artisan cheese.

You’ll be guided step by step through simple techniques to craft a variety of lovely cheeses, including a hard cheese, a Camembert-style cheese and a soft ricotta, leaving with your creations in hand and perhaps a new hobby too. Set against the stunning rural backdrop of River Cottage HQ, the day is a celebration of fantastic food and culinary tradition.

Our expert tutor, Paul Thomas, is a dairy technologist and all-round fromage fanatic. After graduating with a degree in biochemistry in 1999, Paul spent several years working as the affineur at respected cheesemonger, IJ Mellis in Edinburgh. He spent six years as head cheesemaker at Lyburn Farm before setting up Thimble Cheesemakers - producing raw milk soft cheeses. He now provides technical support to cheesemakers around the world and has run the River Cottage cheese making course for a number years.

"Had a great time making cheese. The course is very well designed and staff helpful." Peepies, Trip Advisor.

"Foodie paradise." mavro2014, Trip Advisor.

If you can't find a date you can make, why not try our Easy Cheese Making course?

Your day

09:30 - 17:00

  • Arrive at River Cottage

    You’ll be met at the top of the hill at 9.30 and transported to River Cottage HQ by tractor and trailer.

  • Make yourself at home

    You will meet your host and start the day with tea, coffee and treats fresh from the kitchen.

  • Session one

    In small groups, you will begin the process of making a hard cheese, and learn about starters, rennet, temperatures and techniques.

  • Session two

    Once your hard cheese is progressing, you will move on to create a starter rennet for your soft cheese and get this underway too.

  • Session three

    Using the leftover whey from the hard cheese, you’ll try your hand at making your own ricotta – an easy method to replicate at home.

  • Lunch

    Food is always the focus at River Cottage, and a two-course lunch of local, seasonal fare will be one of the highlights of your day.

  • Session four

    The afternoon will be spent completing your cheeses, shaping and turning them in their moulds. You’ll learn how to care for them as they mature, and enjoy a cheese tasting too.

  • Departure

    There will be time to chat to your course tutor and your fellow scholars before being whisked back up the hill by our tractor and trailer, cheeses in hand.

Please note: This is a guide to the activities that will make up your course at River Cottage. This is by no means set in stone and will depend on seasonal availability.

On occasion cookery schools will use equipment that includes induction hobs. It is recommended that people with pace makers should not work on these units. If you are concerned or would like to check whether or not induction hobs will be used on the course you are interested in, please call us on 01297 630302.

Join us for the River Cottage Food Fair 25 - 26 May

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Further information...

This course is run from River Cottage HQ on the Dorset/Devon borders. Full address details of HQ will be provided once you have booked.

We are a licensed venue. We have a wide selection of the finest organic wines available to purchase.

If you need local accommodation we have a full list available.

We would advise that this course is only really suitable for 12 years of age and upwards. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. We put these guidelines in place for the safety, comfort and enjoyment of all our guests.

Please let us know in advance if you are vegetarian, so that we can cater for you in the cheese making process.

  • Sustainable Restaurant Association
  • Food and Travel Magazine 2017
  • Great British Food Awards 2017
  • Great British Food Awards 2018