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The Science of Yogurt and Cultured Dairy Products: Basic Level

The workshop will provide attendees with information in key areas related to milk quality and its impact on finished dairy products, product evaluation and defects, ingredients in cultured dairy products, and product processing and formulation. 


This course is required as part of The Science of Yogurt and Cultured Dairy Products Certificate but can also be used as a stand-alone Basic Cultured Dairy Products training program. This course begins with an online lecture component followed by a live session on-campus.

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

Milk Quality & Impact on Finished Dairy Products

  • Identify milk components and their influence on finished cultured dairy products
  • Describe characteristics of quality raw milk and how it will influence culture microbiology
  • Determine how quality can be influenced at the production level
  • Explain necessary cleaning protocols in cultured dairy plants

Product Evaluation & Defects:

  • Identify defects in raw milk that may influence finished product quality
  • Describe the different sensory attributes when formulating and tasting cultured dairy products
  • Evaluate the different textural, flavor, and body defects that exists in cultured dairy products

Product Processing & Formulation

  • Describe different starter cultured bacteria involved in cultured product formulation and identify finished product differences
  • Identify bacteriophage and its influence on cultured product production
  • Illustrate the influences of temperatures, air, inoculum, nutrients on culture in product production
  • Describe different standards of identity and requirements to make specific cultured dairy products
  • Compare the differences between cultured product bacteria and probiotics
  • List the different processes required to make particular cultured dairy products

Attendees that would like a Certificate of Achievement for successful completion of this course, which is required for the Science of Yogurt and Fermented Dairy Products Certificate (Basic Level), will need to pass a test (≥ 70%) that is administered at the end of the course. This test is an open book test, but is timed such that there is only limited time to search for information. This 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.



  • Introduction to Cultured Dairy Products
  • Raw Milk Quality
  • Milk Chemistry 
  • Culture Microbiology
  • Batching and Common Unit Operations
  • Processing of Yogurt
  • Processing of Buttermilk, Sour Cream, and Cream Cheese
  • Stabilizers
  • Fruit Preparations
  • Quality and Food Safety in Cultured Dairy
  • Preservation Methods
  • Cleaning and Sanitizing in a Cultured Dairy Facility

Live via Video-Conference/In-person:

  • Cultured Dairy Product Processing
  • Quality System in Yogurt Production
  • Food Processing Development Lab Tours
  • Cornell Dairy Yogurt Production Video
  • Sensory Evaluation of Dairy Products
  • Basic Microbiology
  • Yogurt Flavorings


  • $725-$880 for in-state registrants
  • $880-$1100 for out-of-state registrants
  • Enrollment is limited to the first 20 participants


Lead Instructor

Sam Alcaine
Assistant Professor of Dairy Fermentations
alcaine [at] (alcaine[at]cornell[dot]edu)

Additional instructors and contributors to this course include guest instructors from industry.


Course Dates

  • Hybrid course: online modules and one-day live session (both online and live course participation required.)
    • Online modules and in-person session on May 14, 2024

Course Contact

Louise Felker
Program Coordinator
lmf226 [at] (lmf226[at]cornell[dot]edu)