Prof Paul McSweeney has taught courses on cheese science at University College Cork for nearly a decade and has given graduate-level courses in universities and research institutes in Mexico, Turkey, South Africa, Italy and Argentina. Courses in cheese science ranging from 6 to 24 h in duration are available for a variety of audiences including industry personnel and graduate students.

The science which lies behind the manufacture and ripening of hard and semi-hard rennet-coagulated cheeses is discussed with particular reference to factors of concern to cheesemakers in industry. Students will be introduced to the range of rennet-coagulated cheeses and discussion will concentrate initially on the principal operations which occur during cheese manufacture (i.e., preparation of cheesemilk, acidification, rennet coagulation, syneresis, salting)

Rennet-coagulated cheeses are ripened (matured) for a period ranging from 2 weeks to 2 or more years during which the flavour and texture characteristic of the variety develop. Cheese ripening involves changes to the microflora of the cheese, including death and lysis of the starter cells and the development of an adventitious non-starter microflora. During ripening, cheese flavour develops due to the production of a wide range of volatile and non-volatile flavour compounds by primary (lipolysis, proteolysis and metabolism of residual lactose and of lactate and citrate) and secondary (metabolism of fatty acids and of amino acids) biochemical pathways. The biochemistry of flavour development in cheese during ripening will be covered in depth.

Topics which can be covered include:

1. Introduction to cheesemaking
2. Principal families of ripened cheese
3. Preparation of cheesemilk
4. Cheese starters
5. Rennet coagulation of milk
6. Conversion of gel to curd
7. Salting and other finishing operations
8. Cheese yield
9. Cheese ripening
Microbial changes which occur during ripening
Metabolism of residual lactose and of lactate and citrate
Metabolism of free fatty acids
Metabolism of free amino acids
10. Acceleration of cheese ripening

For further information, please contact Prof PLH McSweeney.