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Course Descriptions

Certificate in Dairy Processing

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  • Format: Online live (Zoom)
  • Cost: $1000-$1500
  • When: Spring & fall each year

The Certificate in Dairy Processing is an ONLINE dairy industry training program focused on providing promising plant workers and operators with a clear understanding of dairy plant processes. Administered by the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) and led by some of the leading experts in the field, the program will use a practical applications approach to educate students on the basic aspects of dairy processing. In particular, this course features a ten week series of modules covering key aspects of dairy processing through online sessions and other learning opportunities. The ten module topics are outlined below. In addition, each participant will be expected to complete a short project of their choosing with the assistance of a mentor.

The Certificate in Dairy Processing online course will be composed of 10 modules each covering an important aspect of dairy product manufacturing.

Module 1 – Understanding Milk
Module 2 – Dairy Microbiology, Testing and Equipment 101
Module 3 – Processing Equipment
Module 4 – Milk Quality from Farm to Plant
Module 5 – Food Safety and Sanitation
Module 6 – Production of Cheese
Module 7 – Cheese Ripening and Defects
Module 8 – Cheese Usage, Evaluation, and Functionality
Module 9 – Production, Functionality, and Applications of Dairy Ingredients
Module 10 – Production of Other Dairy Products

Download a detailed description of the Certificate in Dairy Processing modules

Cheesemaking Fundamentals

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  • Format: Online On Demand (Self-paced/pre-recorded) & In-person
  • Cost: $300-$350
  • When: ~8 times per year

Don’t miss this opportunity to build a strong cheesemaking foundation. Learn the basics of cheese science from Center for Dairy Research experts. This on-demand workshop will cover basic cheese manufacturing science, principles of moisture and pH, basic mathematical calculations commonly used by cheesemakers, and common government regulations. Get all your questions answered. This course is a prerequisite for CDR’s new Advanced Cheese Technology Course.


  • Fundamentals of cheesemaking
  • Prep and care of equipment
  • Testing and grading of milk and dairy products
  • Pasteurization
  • Composition
  • Starters
  • pH control
  • Common defects and how to overcome them
  • Cheese science primer
  • Laws related to cheesemaking
  • Relevant mathematical problems related to plant operations
Process Cheese

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  • Format: In-person & online on demand (self-paced/pre-recorded)
  • Cost: $750-$1200
  • When: Spring & fall each year

The Wisconsin Process Cheese Short Course covers the basics of formulation and manufacture of pasteurized process and cold-pack cheese products. This course will begin with the basic theories and chemistry of process cheese manufacture and will include the practical aspects of process cheese making.

Overview of Topics

  • Basic Theories of Process Cheese Manufacture
  • Properties of Emulsifying Salts
  • Formulation of Processed Cheese
  • Defects Found in Processed Cheese
  • Practical Aspects of Manufacture
  • Assessing Rheological Properties of Processed Cheese
  • Importance of Dairy and Cheese-based Flavors and EMC’s in Processed Cheese
  • Basics of Dairy-based Ingredients Used In Processed Cheese
  • Starch Options and Their Impact on Processed Cheese
  • Stabilizing Options and Their Impact on Processed Cheese (Gums & Hydrocolloids)
  • Behind the Process of Manufacturing Spray-Dried Cheese
  • Use of Colorants and Their Issues in Processed Cheese
  • Manufacture of Cheese Sauces
  • HAACP for Process Cheese
  • Manufacture of Cold Pack Cheese
  • Use of Preservatives in Processed Cheese
  • Flavorings Used in Processed and Cold Pack Cheeses
  • Basics of Process Cheese Packaging


  • Process Cheese Sauce Formulation
  • Process Cheese Spreads
  • Cold Pack and Club Cheese
  • Process Cheese and Cheese Food
  • Process Cheese Sauce - High Temperature Processing
Advanced Cheese Technology

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  • Format: In-person
  • Cost: $1200-$1500
  • When: Spring & fall each year

The Advanced Cheese Technology Short Course is an intensive five-day course covering cheesemaking production principles and technology. You must complete the Cheesemaking Fundamentals course before registering. This course is intended for apprentice cheesemakers with at least 12 months experience or students with a basic science background. Students should have experience in algebra and general chemistry. Completion of this course will give the student six (6) months credit toward the apprenticeship requirement for the state cheesemakers license.

Each Cheese Tech participant must take the Cheesemaking Fundamentals course before registering for this course.

Lecture Topics

  • Dairy Starters/Ripening
  • Standardization of Milk
  • Cheese Yield
  • Coagulants and Coagulation
  • Cheese Chemistry
  • American Cheese Styles
  • Italian Cheese Varieties
  • Swiss and Eye Cheeses
  • Acid Set Cheeses
  • Acid-Heat Coagulated Cheese
  • Mold Ripened Cheeses
  • Surface Ripened Cheeses
  • Cheese Technology
  • Cheese Sensory
Cheese Grading

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  • Format: In-person
  • Cost: $850
  • When: Spring & fall each year

The Wisconsin Cheese Grading Short Course is an intensive three-day course covering the principles and practices used in grading natural cheeses. This introductory course is intended for cheesemakers, production supervisors and quality control personnel interested in assessment of cheese quality. The course will be structured around the cheese grading standards covered by Wisconsin Ag Chapter 81 and USDA Grading Standards. Cheeses used in the grading lab sessions will be selected to show the majority of flavor, body, texture, color and appearance defects found in the industry today.


Day 1
» Function of Grading Process
» Basic Principles of Sensory
» What do Judges Look for While Evaluating Contest Cheeses?
» Grading Process vs. Judging
» Common Occurring Defects
» American-Style Cheeses (All Cheddars, Colby, Jack)
» Brick, Muenster, Havarti
» Smeared Ripened Cheeses

Day 2
» Mozzarella (fresh, LMPS, Whole, etc)
» Gouda, Swiss
» Feta
» Hard Italian
» Mold Ripened
» Sheep/Goat
» Latino Cheese

Day 3
» Flavored Cheeses
» Cream Cheese/Mascarpone/Spreads
» You Grade the Cheese

Master Course Series

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  • Format: In-person
  • Cost: $850-$1200
  • When: Fall each year

The Master Course Series highlights a hot topic each year that both new and Master cheesemakers can find value in learning about.

Buttermakers Apprenticeship

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  • Format: In-person
  • Cost: $1200-$1500
  • When: Once per year

The Wisconsin Buttermakers License Apprenticeship Workshop is an intensive five-day course covering buttermaking production principles and technology. CDR created this course for aspiring buttermakers who have completed the buttermakers short course and need apprenticeship hours for their buttermakers license. This unique workshop provides the opportunity to complete a 40-hour apprenticeship with a Wisconsin licensed buttermaker. Class size is limited to allow for an interactive hands-on experience. Students will have the opportunity to make unsalted, salted, cultured, high fat/European style, flavored, and blends of butter from goat, sweet, and whey cream. While the butter is churning, CDR and industry experts will share their knowledge on the topics listed below. Please register early, as class size is limited to 12.


Discussion Topics:
» Preparation and Care of Buttermaking Equipment
» Compositional Analysis of Cream and Butter
» Blending and Standardizing Cream
» HTST and Vat Pasteurization of Goat, Sweet, and Whey Cream
» Preparation and Use of Buttermaking Ingredients
» Butter Manufacturing
» Calculating Yield, Salt, and Moisture Adjustments
» Helpful Hints with Experienced Batch & Continuous Churn Operators
» Acidity Control
» Composition Control
» Discussion of the Butter Category
» Grading, Sensory Evaluation, and Discussion of Commercial Butter Samples
» Defects – Causes and Resolutions
» General Review for the Buttermakers Exam

Buttermakers Short Course

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  • Format: In-person & online on demand (self-paced/pre-recorded)
  • Cost: $600-$850
  • When: Spring & fall each year

This course will cover the production of quality butter with an emphasis on flavor, composition and shelf life. Manufacturing and laboratory sessions are designed to illustrate and correct difficulties before they occur. Ideal and usual industry practices will be highlighted. This course will be valuable to buttermakers of all experience levels.

  • Wisconsin & USDA Regulations
  • Micro
  • Pasteurization Requirements
  • Buttermilk Usage
  • Cultured Butter
  • Other Processing Steps
  • Batch Churns
  • Continuous Churns
  • Calculations
  • Rework
  • Quality Standards for Cream Used In Butter
  • Butter oil and Anhydrous Milk Fat
  • Packaging
  • Cleaning and Sanitation
  • EM Surveillance
  • Sensory Analysis
  • Butter making in small churns
  • Chemistry Lab
Food Safety Workshop (HACCP)

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  • Format: In-person & online on
  • Cost: $300-$600
  • When: Spring & fall each year

Food Safety (HACCP) is a workshop designed to cover an introduction to HACCP in a plant setting. A variety of topics include the potential of dairy plant hazards, prerequisites, validation of HACCP plans, implementing HACCP, and regulations. This workshop will include breakout exercises including the design and modification of flow diagrams.

This workshop is open to all dairy and food processors, suppliers and regulators who wish to learn or review the basics of HACCP in a dairy plant. The exercises in the workshop will allow attendees to create or modify flow diagrams of particular dairy products.