Producing food during the PFT programme

Making cheese, brewing beer, making all kinds of products out of apples... While doing the Process and Food (PFT) programme, you will spend quite some time in the kitchen. Read more about the cheese and apple project.

Making cheese, brewing beer, making all kinds of products out of apples... While doing the Process and Food (PFT) programme, you will spend quite some time in the kitchen. PFT student Polina Valkova tells you more about the cheese project in year 1, and Iris van der Woude is enthusiastic about the apple project in  year 2. It was Stefan Baecke from Yespers who came up with the idea for the apple project. The company focuses on sustainable solutions for a fair food chain and chose the apple to show that zero waste is within reach. Help from students was more than welcome. Is it possible to produce something edible out of every part of the apple?

What was the cheese project like?

Polina: “As usual, I had lab classes and group session meetings. Each block I have a new group to work with on a specific project. This block we had to work on the production of Gouda cheese on an industrial scale. The content of the project was related somehow to each of the subjects that I had during this block. We had nine weeks to complete the project. During these nine weeks, we had three workshops with an expert of making cheeses, especially Gouda cheese.

I also could make my own cheese. It was fun. We were six people in total. The whole work was divided equally among us. Of course, there were some parts that we decided it would be best if we do them together. At the end we were supposed to put everything together as a group report. The material studied on microbiology and food safety helped us a lot to finish the group report. After having done the final touches, we were ready to submit it. A week later, we did a presentation in front of our coaches, including the external expert.

What was the apple project like?

Iris: “During the apple project in block 2 of year 2, we designed production lines using every bit of an apple. My group made apple juice as the main production line. From the seeds, core, stamp, crown and skin of the apple we made other products. When we found the right recipe, we upscaled the product from a kitchen scale to an industrial scale. During this upscaling we used all the information that we had gained in our technical classes. This is how we learn to put the theory into practice.

What did you like about the cheese project?

Polina: “Of course I liked learning about and examining each step of the cheese making process. At the kitchen, I worked with the people of my report group. We spent a lot of time together, had the chance to get to know each other. If we were stuck at some point we helped each other by taking the steps together. The making of Gouda is a long process containing steps where you have to wait between an hour to five hours, so we had the chance to go out and to get to know each other better, to have fun. I liked this part since – due to COVID - we do not have classes at school, and I still did not know my fellow students very well. This experience gave me the possibility to make some new friends.

What did you like about the apple project?

Iris: “For me it was fun to work with a group and finally be back in the kitchen to make some recipes for the apple products. This project made me realize that there are so many options in reusing the waste streams. It was nice to work in a multicultural group and to develop new products. The product that I was most pleased about was the apple bars made from the left-over pulp. Supplemented by dates, seeds, and nuts they were really delicious. Mmm!” Working from home was not always easy for all groups, especially since the students were – due to COVID - in different countries with different time zones. They made it work though.

Was the client happy with the ideas the students came up with?

PFT lecturer Marieke van der Hoeven: “Some of the ideas of the apple project were very interesting for Yespers. The company will test some of them on pilot scale the following months. Especially applications for the pulp, which is left after the preparation of apple juice, is of interest for them, because that has a big potential. Ideally, Yespers implements some of these products in the coming year, both in The Hague as well as in West-Africa. Stefan Baecke, the founder of the company, also told me that he liked the interaction with the students and saw that they worked on the assignment with great enthusiasm.

Edible results

Working at the kitchen means that there’s something to eat in the end. Iris made several products but the apple bars are her favorite. She will probably make them more often. Polina had made a whole cheese. After having looked forward to the moment of tasting it, she could take it home last week. Unfortunately, the cheese turned out to be not exactly her taste. Let’s just use the Dutch expression to say that everybody has a problem: ‘every cheese has its hole’.  Lucky for her, the next project will be there before she knows it.

Read more about the Process and Food Technology programme at The Hague University of Applied Sciences:

PFT 3-year programme
PFT 4-year programme