Discover the Best Cheese Making Classes in NYC
Cheese making can be divided into four broad stages, namely acidification, coagulation, forming, and aging. Many of the simplest cheeses, like mozzarella, can be eaten immediately after they’ve been formed, meaning they don’t need an aging stage.
All cheese begins from milk, be it cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or even a plant-based milk like soy milk. In the acidification stage, an acid or bacterial culture is introduced to the milk, which causes the milk to produce lactic acid that makes it easier for the milk to solidify into curds. The milk is then heated, at which point a coagulant (typically rennet) is added. During this coagulation phase, a solid curd begins to form, which is then cut into smaller blocks and cooked for a time. Once the curds have cooked, the excess whey is drained from the curds, and the cheese enters the forming phase, where the curds are salted and shaped by hand or placed in a hoop to form a wheel.
Why You Should Learn Cheese Making in NYC
As with any hobby that appreciates quality ingredients and refined techniques, cheese making is a great hobby for anybody that appreciates an artisanal approach to good food. In much the same way that the explosion of the craft beer industry has allowed for beer aficionados to begin experimenting with brewing their own beverages rather than relying on large-scale macro breweries, cheese enthusiasts have a great opportunity to explore their love of cheese more deeply by learning how to make their own cheese from scratch.
While foodies can be very particular about where their food comes from, even amongst foodies cheese lovers have a reputation for being especially choosy about how and where their cheese is made. This devotion to ingredients and methods makes cheese making a hobby especially suited for anybody who wants to dive deeper down the rabbit hole of the craft, expanding their appreciation of the food by getting hands-on experience in how it is made.
This dedication also means that there’s a strong community of individuals with strong feelings about the hobby that they’re more than willing to share. Even in communities that aren’t fortunate enough to have a strong cheese making scene, there are plenty of online forums where individuals organize plenty of tips and tricks or simply share their own creations.
In-Person Cheese Making Classes & Schools in NYC
You can’t make a New York slice without quality, low-moisture mozzarella, so New York City knows a thing or two about making quality mozzarella cheese. Murray’s Cheese in Manhattan, reputed to be the oldest cheese shop in New York, opened in Greenwich Village in 1940 and continues to sell cheeses from around the world - including some of their very own hand-made cheeses from cheese caves in Long Island. Murray’s offers robust educational events where they teach basic cheesemaking and cheese pairing techniques.
Murray’s classes mostly focus on pasta filata cheeses, or cheeses made by kneading and stretching fresh cheese curd in hot water. The Mozzarella Making at Murray’s will teach how to use this technique to produce beautiful balls of fresh mozzarella. The class begins with a sampling of several types of pasta filata cheeses with generous pourings of house wines; it would be unreasonable to try making a cheese without knowing what it tastes like, first. After tasting, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get some hands-on practice making cheese from curd.
Whether you’re looking for a New York slice, a Neapolitan pizza, or a simple Caprese salad, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy mozzarella. For a luxurious option, nothing quite beats the rich, creamy goodness of burrata, which is a pouch of mozzarella curds stretched out and filled with scraps of mozzarella and a bit of cream. Using the same methods as mozzarella making, but with a few extra steps, Murray’s Burrata Making class can teach you how to transform those mozzarella curds into a buttery ball of burrata. For a burrata with a touch of extra flavor added, Murray’s also offers an Infused Burrata Making class.
For a more general approach to cheesemaking theory, Murray’s also offers a Cheese 101 course. This is a tasting course rather than a cheese making course, so while there are great wine and cheese pairings to be found, don’t expect the same hands-on practice found in Murray’s other classes. However, the class does teach all about how cheese is made. Unlike the previous classes focused on one type of cheese, this introductory course covers six cheeses from six different families, delving deep into the ingredients and stages of cheese making from milk type to rind development.
Right around the block in the Gramercy area of lower Manhattan, the Bedford Cheese Shop is another great option for cheeseheads. Established in 2003, the Bedford Cheese Shop has built itself up as a neighborhood institution. The Gramercy location is home to not just a flashy 15-foot cheese case and on-site cheese-aging facilities, but also the Homestead, a private event space where expert cheesemongers conduct classes for aspiring curd nerds.
If you’re looking to make some quality mozzarella, then the Cheesemaking 101: Mozzarella class at The Homestead at Bedford Cheese Shop is a great way to get some hands-on practice. This class begins with tastings of Italian appetizers and wine while soaking up theoretical knowledge about the history and attributes of mozzarella. After this brief bite, it’s time to put that theory to the test with hands-on practice stretching curd and forming it into a perfect ball of mozzarella. Expect to put these pasta filata techniques to the test at home, as you’ll leave the course with a recipe for fresh mozzarella.
The Bedford Cheese Shop also includes an option for those seeking theoretical, rather than hands-on, cheese making knowledge. In their cheese tasting class Cheese 101: Become a Curd Nerd, participants will learn about the techniques that go into making all different sorts of cheese, with a focus on tasting notes and principles for pairing cheese flavor profiles with other foods and beverages - especially wine.
Head north into Midtown Manhattan to find classes from CocuSocial, a marketplace for cooking classes that connects food lovers with expert local chefs and restaurateurs. CocuSocial partners with local restaurants and hotels to schedule fun, affordable, and accessible cooking classes, meaning you can find a quality cheesemaking class in a neighborhood institution.
At CocuSocial, you can learn how to make Fresh Mozzarella and Burrata by hand in a 2-hour beginner-friendly crash course on cheese making. The class begins with some cheese making theory, as you learn the coagulation process that transforms milk into cheese curds. From curd selection to water temperature to salt usage, expect to learn everything there is to know about the process from milk to cheese. You’ll then put that theoretical knowledge to the test as you make your own balls of mozzarella.
If you find yourself walking through the streets of SoHo, look for a place called Home Cooking New York to cover your needs in learning to cook a big dish of whatever your heart fancies. Home Cooking New York has been providing intimate, hands-on cooking classes for complete beginners and novice home cooks looking to take their cooking to the next level. Each class features a combination of demonstration-style teaching and hands-on practice, with each participant situated at their own chef’s station around a communal work table. With a max class size of 10 students, topics covering a wide range of techniques and styles, and each class ending in a sit-down meal, these classes offer an incredible environment for picking up new culinary skills.
The Cheesemaking Workshop at Home Cooking New York caters to those looking to learn how to make multiple styles of cheeses. In addition to hand-pulled mozzarella making, this class also teaches how to make a simple creamy ricotta, a buttermilk paneer perfect for Indian-style curries, and a vegan-friendly cashew cheese. The class even covers tips for incorporating these handmade cheeses into delicious recipes, like a crispy mozzarella sandwich and a quick Indian curry, which you’ll make and enjoy in the sit-down meal that marks the culmination of the class.
Virtual Cheese Making Classes & Schools
To supplement the host of in-person cheese making classes available to New York City residents, a selection of online cheese making classes are available to those who need a bit more flexibility to learn from their own home. These classes are an alternative method to get access to hands-on guidance from an expert instructor who can demonstrate each step of the process and provide guidance or answer questions in real-time, all without the need to commute to a local cheese shop.
Be aware that these online classes generally ask for a bit of extra preparation. While in-person classes provide the necessary materials and a workspace set up specifically for cheese making, an online class typically provides a list of supplies and asks each participant to acquire those materials and set up a workspace prior to the class date.
Currently, the best options for online classes focus on cheese tastings and cooking classes that incorporate cheese into recipes. These are great ways to make use of cheese, but if you’re more interested in the process of making cheese, be sure to check back regularly as CourseHorse’s list of available classes is always updating with new dates.
New York City is home to The League of Kitchens, an organization that organizes online culinary experiences taught by immigrants broadcasting from their own homes. These classes are a great option for cultural enrichment as you learn how to make traditional dishes and support members of the NYC community. Those with a taste for Greek feta may enjoy the Greek Online Workshop and a Greek Cooking Online, where a Greek immigrant teaches how to make traditional dishes like spanakopita and bouyiourdi. Those who enjoy Latin-American dishes with milder queso blanco and cotija cheese might appreciate learning how to make esquites, a type of Mexican street corn, in the Mexican Online Workshop.
While some people like to cook, others simply enjoy tasting rather than making. New York City is also home to NYC Wine Company, an organization that tries to make wine accessible to all by teaching people how to get in touch with their palate. While classes like Islands & Volcanoes, a series of two wine tasting classes using grapes sourced from vineyards on islands and volcanoes, hone palate development by focusing on wine, these classes provide lists of wine pairings for those looking to become true gourmands rather than specialized sommeliers.
Private Group Cheese Making Classes in NYC
Anybody who has learned to cook at a young age by following instructions from grandma or another family member knows that cooking can be an incredibly social activity, and making quick cheeses like mozzarella is no different. And even if you don’t have a seasoned Italian grandmother to show you the ropes, you’re in luck. If you’re a foodie looking for a team-building event, CourseHorse has several postings for cheese making classes for private groups in NYC.
Your best bet in NYC is to get your team working on stretching beautiful balls of mozzarella. In Chelsea Market, Big Mozz offers a team-building Mozzarella Making class where you and your team learn all about the art of mozzarella making. The Mozzarella & Pasta Making class from Hungry Pop offers a lightweight cooking experience that provides hands-on experience making not only fresh mozzarella from scratch, but also a stuffed tortelloni and fettuccine pasta. Depending on availability and the preference of your group, this event takes place in a private space located either in the South Street Seaport or Hudson Yards.
If you’re looking for a more specific cheese making experience than what is currently available, you can contact CourseHorse to learn about additional options for cheese making classes, and they will get to work scheduling the perfect event for your group.
Booking a private class through CourseHorse is simple. Once you’ve secured a date, you’ll receive a confirmation within 24 hours, and your event provider will personally follow up with an email introducing themselves and providing additional information about the class. If you need to add or remove people from your group after booking, CourseHorse makes that easy. You can change your headcount after your initial booking, and CourseHorse won’t finalize payment until you’ve finalized your headcount. CourseHorse recommends using Zoom for any online classes, which they use to host their virtual classes, but they can accommodate other platforms like Microsoft Teams or Google Meets for your convenience.