Marcus Ferguson

Cheese Making at Home

  • Recommended

    $249

    Includes personal feedback and tuition. More

  • $99

    Learn in an online classroom with no more than 20 classmates. More

Course Description

Learn the art and science of cheese making with Marcus Ferguson, an award-winning cheesemaker from an organic farm in Somerset.

**Course available to pre-book today - classrooms open 31 January 2022**

Marcus first learned to make cheese here at River Cottage and has gone on to win Best British Cheese at the Virtual Cheese Awards. He now returns to share his wealth of knowledge so that you can learn to make impressive cheeses at home.

Marcus will guide you through the process of how cheese is made and provide you with the necessary skills and confidence. Throughout the four lessons, you’ll learn to make four different types of cheese - a Caerphilly, Camembert, Ricotta and Labneh. Marcus also shares his tips on how to adapt common household items for cheesemaking, rather than buying expensive specialist equipment.

Cheesemaking consists of moments of magic as the milk transforms and Marcus guides you through these periods with an explanation of the science of cheese making as the milk takes its “leap towards immortality”.

Course outline

  • Introduction to cheese, methods, equipment, theory

    In this first lesson, Marcus will guide you through the main ingredients and how to source them. You’ll learn all about cultures, rennet, the best milk to source, curds, cooking and draining.

    Marcus will then guide you through the maturing and aging process: why this is done, what to look for during maturation right through to the finished product.

    Marcus will discuss benefits of making cheese on a small scale at home-making versus professional.

  • Camembert and Caerphilly

    This lesson will guide you through making two very impressive cheeses. You’ll start with Camembert, a mould-ripened cheese particularly suitable for making at home.

    Next, you’ll start work on your second cheese: Caerphilly, a hard cheese that matures in as little as two weeks.

    Both require very similar preparation and ingredients, but small variations lead to big differences in the finished product.

  • Ricotta and Labneh

    Your third cheese is Ricotta, which you’ll make from the whey left over from making the Caerphilly.

    Marcus will also show you how to make one of the simplest cheeses of all, the Middle Eastern strained yoghurt cheese called Labneh and he'll show you how to prepare a simple starter using the whey from the labneh.

  • Professional tasting and making your own equipment

    Marcus will also guide you through making your own equipment which is not only a lot cheaper but creating your own moulds is brilliant creatively and can lead to new styles of cheeses, too.

    Marcus will also guide you through aging and tasting cheeses, what to look out for and how to know when the cheeses you make on the course at their flavourful best.

Choose how you want to learn

  • The Expert option

    Recommended
    MF

    Develop your learning further with marked assignments and personal tuition from Marcus Ferguson

    • Start course anytime from January 31st 2022
    • 4 weeks tutor access for personalised assignment feedback & coaching
    • 4 assignments marked by Marcus Ferguson
    • Certificate of completion
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • Group chat & direct message with tutor & classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
    Learn more
    $249
    Start anytime from January 31st 2022
  • The Peer option

    Discover the benefits of group learning in an online interactive classroom of no more than 20 people. Get the most from shared knowledge and community study

    • Start course anytime from January 31st 2022
    • Practise what you learn with your peers
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • 4 course assignments
    • Group chat & direct message classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
    Learn more
    $99
    Start anytime from January 31st 2022

Food & Drink classroom - how it works

  • Start anytime

    Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors

    Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors
  • Test yourself

    Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments

    Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments
  • Personal tuition

    Get assignment feedback from expert tutors

    Get assignment feedback from expert tutors
  • Share ideas

    Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

    Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

Meet Marcus Ferguson

MF
Marcus Ferguson is an award-winning cheesemaker from Feltham’s Farm. Marcus first learned to make cheese here at River Cottage and has gone on to win Best British Cheese at the Virtual Cheese Awards in 2020 and 2021.

His astounding rind-washed cheese Renegade Monk is a very worthy winner and a fantastic example of a small artisan cheesemaker that is reinventing British cheese. His cheese is sought worldwide and features on Michelin-starred menus throughout Europe.

Marcus’ dairy is based on Feltham’s Farm, 22 acres of organic land in the north of Somerset’s beautiful Blackmore Vale. We have always farmed using organic principles, so that means no chemicals on the land and no antibiotics or restricted treatments for our animals, which are all free range and fed organic food. We do not use chemicals, pesticides, or GM modified seeds, we try to avoid single use plastics (difficult with PPE these days), and where possible we use biodynamic principles too.

He and his wife Penny Nagle run the dairy and farm. The cheese business came about almost by accident, after Marcus was made redundant from a corporate job in London. He wanted to do something on the farm but at 22 acres it was too small to farm conventionally while making enough money to live on.

Marcus has always been obsessed with cheese and after a one-day course at River Cottage, there was no turning back. Just a few years into the adventure they have won numerous awards and the order book keeps getting fatter. In many ways, it seems that this is a mid-life crisis that seems to be panning out OK.

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