The Black Sheep School of Cheesemaking is David Asher's educational endeavor. It is not a brick-and-mortar institution, but a traveling cheese school that offers cheese outreach at food-sovereignty-minded organizations around the world.
To offer workshops to the public, David partners with community kitchens, educational farms, and sustainable food business. These groups are doing the good work of reconnecting people to the food, the farmers and the land that sustain them. They bring folks together round the dining table, and educate and empower consumers to make more sustainable food choices, and The Black Sheep School's educational offerings fit right in with their directives. Together, we are helping to build a stronger and more just food system.-
But, the Black Sheep School is not just a place of learning; it is a school of thought; an entirely different approach to making cheese. Contemporary cheesemaking as practiced in North America is decidedly unnatural; The Black Sheep School provides a much needed alternative.
This new/old approach to cheesemaking is inspired by traditional practices, and based on the ecology of raw milk. The Black Sheep methods include cultivating starter cultures, growing the fungi that ripen cheeses, and working with the indigenous cultures of raw milk. The methods are liberating and empowering - they help cheesemakers wean themselves off packaged powdered cultures, synthetic rennets and unnecessary chemical additives and sanitizers, and help cheeses develop their best possible flavor. The Black Sheep School helps cheesemakers take back their cheese.
The Black Sheep School's Cheesemaking Philosophies
The Black Sheep School of Cheesemaking promotes the use of 'Good' Milk, preferably raw, from pastured, well-raised and healthy animals. However we use both pasteurized and unpasteurized milk in our cheeses, as we understand that some students will not have access to raw milk, or will prefer not to use it. Fortunately, our methods work almost as well with pasteurized milk.
The Black Sheep School of Cheesemaking practices a full-circle cheesemaking: we therefore keep all of the cultures that we need to make our cheese. We will not use packaged starter cultures from Danisco (a subsidiary of DuPont) or other companies because we do not believe that such corporate interference with our culture is well founded or even necessary. The Black Sheep School believes that the culture of cheese is in our hands.
The Black Sheep School promotes a traditional cheesemaking; We therefore use calf rennet in the making of our cheeses. Alternatives to calf rennet are misleadingly labeled as vegetarian, when, in reality, there is no such thing as a vegetarian cheese. If you have concerns with the use of calf rennet, we will do our best to address those concerns in class, but will not make changes to our cheeses. The Black Sheep School of Cheesemaking is against the use of products of genetic modification technology, and will not use GM rennet in class. The Black Sheep School of Cheesemaking cannot please everyone.