MADISON (WKOW)-- The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® program is continually evolving to keep pace with the ever changing world of cheese making and to help cheesemakers reach the highest levels of their craft.
Bill Wendorr, co-founder of Master Cheesemaker Short Course says, "We took a look at areas that the cheesemakers needed some additional information in, and development in, and added courses as we went along." Before entering the program, Wisconsin cheesemakers must be licensed and have a minimum of ten years experience making cheese in Quality Assured plants. They must complete four required courses, three elective courses, a three-year apprenticeship for the cheese in which they seek "Master Cheesemaker" certification, and pass a rigorous final exam.
Wendorff says, "In the beginning when we developed the masters program we weren't too sure how many cheesemakers would really want to be involved in the program because there's quite an investment of time and money to go through the program." Although certification is arduous, cheesemakers believe its well worth the effort. Dan Omundson, a cheesemaker from LaGrander's Hillside Dairy says, "I was very surprised. You know, the first time I came here I thought that I knew a lot. But little did I know I had a lot to learn." Omundson is soon to graduate from the program, and is proud to have accomplished one of his goals; furthering his cheese education.
John Jaeggi, a Coordinator for the Cheese Industry and Applications at the UW Madison Center for Dairy Research says, "By having these courses we're able to help train them, and explain to them and have them understand the impacts of the different cultures different flavor producers that they can use in their cheesemaking process to make a quality product." Quality that keeps Wisconsin on the cutting edge of cheesemaking.
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