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The Science of Cheese: Advanced Level

The workshop will provide attendees with a review of information in key areas related to the complex chemistry of cheese making, cheese styles and standards of identity, advanced microbiology, advanced cheese problems and defects, and food safety challenges in the cheese industry. It is expected that the attendee has a variety of applied experience as this course is designed to test overall knowledge and problem-solving as it relates to cheese making.  This course assumes the attendee understands applied concepts and science as it relates to cheese making before arrival.


This course may be used to fulfill the pasteurization component requirements for the Cornell Dairy Foods Extension Certificate program in all certification tracks but can also be taken as an individual course by people interested in vat pasteurization methods, rules, and regulations.


This course will provide attendees with information in four key areas that are listed below, along with key learning outcomes in each area:

Complex Chemistry of Cheese Making

  • Discuss the role and importance of proteins at the molecular level in cheese production
  • Identify the role and importance of milkfat at the molecular level in cheese production
  • Describe the role and importance of rennet and in cheese production

Cheese Styles and Standards of Identity

  • Identify the six different types of cheese styles and how they are made
  • Discuss how to make variations of the six different cheese styles
  • Find the standard of identity and for each type of cheese and discuss what each requirement means
  • Understand the scientific terms used in defining standards of identity

Advanced Culture Microbiology

  • Select bacterial cultures based on culture characteristic that will
  • Understand how bacterial cultures are categorized
  • Discuss how cheese varieties are defined
  • Select cultures for specific cheese characteristics for different cheese varieties
  • Discuss how temperature, acidity and salt can influence culture growth
  • Identify when a culture is not functioning properly using scientific methods and identify potential reasons why

Advanced Cheese Problems and Defects

  • Discuss cheese composition chemistry and key characteristics of quality cheese
  • Identify and discuss typical and atypical cheese body, texture, and flavor defects and their causes
  • Classify the problems that can arise during affinage

To earn a certificate for successful completion of this course, attendees will need to pass a final closed-book test. Attendees enrolled in the Cornell Dairy Certificate. The course also includes a pre-course test to determine the knowledge of all attendees before the start of the course. Test questions will include multiple choice, short answer, and true/false questions.


Day 1:

  • Food Safety Challenges
  • Food Safety Culture
  • Complex Chemistry of Cheese and Cheese Making

Day 2:

  • Regulatory Applications in the Industry
  • Advanced Culture Microbiology
  • Critical Issues in Moulding, Brining, and Curing
  • Cheese Issues and Defects
  • Affinage


  • $800-960 for in-state registrants
  • $960-1150 for out-of-state registrants
  • Enrollment is limited to the first 20 participants.


Lead Instructor

Robert Ralyea
Sr. Extension Associate
rdr10 [at]
(607) 255-7643


Course Dates

  • October 6-7, 2021
    • Live via Video Conference   COURSE FULL

Course Contact

Louise Felker
Program Coordinator
lmf226 [at] ()