A funny thing happened on the way to the press

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A funny thing happened on the way to the press

  1. 1. A Funny thing happened on the way to the Press: Over view of the Cheese makingprocess & preservation methods."The goal of this class is to give you a basic understanding on the cheese making process,where to get supplies, and how to age your cheese. There will be some limited samplefor us to try. There will be a limited number of handouts. There is no cost for the class.PART ONE:Crown Tourney Crafts Person Fair 2010 (photo by Cathryn of Chester)Cheese 101Green Cheese1 How to Make“Grene chese is not called grene by the reason of colour, but for the newness of it…Softe chese, not to new nor to olde, is best…Harde chese is hote and dry, and euyll todigest. Spermyse is a chese the which is made with curdes and with the juce ofherbes…Yet beside these…natures of chese, there is a chese called rewene chese, thewhiche, yf it be well orderyd, doth passe (surpass) all other cheses.”2This style of cheese in the Middle Ages was called Green Cheese, New Cheese, FarmersCheese, Chese auyn, or Slipp-Coat Cheese. This type of process to make soft cheeses isalso called “Bag Cheeses”. Green cheese is a term that refers to a type of cheese that waseaten quickly, not aged to a hardened state. Soft cheeses are among the oldest and easiesttypes of cheese to make.1 Definition of “Green Cheese” – “The terminology is also used to refer to a young Cheese, i.e. one that hasonly been matured for a short time”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_cheese2 Sass, Lorna, J., To the King’s Taste, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975, pg.48
  2. 2. “My Lady of Middlesex makes excellent slipp-coat Cheese of good morning milk,putting Cream to it. A quart of Cream is the proportion she useth to as much milk, asboth together make a large round Cheese of the bigness of an ordinary Tart-plate, orcheese-plate; as big as an ordinary soft cheese, that the Market women sell for tenpence…”3Columella (Lucius Iunius Moderatus) lived in Italy not far from Rome until about 70A.D. and he owned farms. What makes Columella important is that he wrote aboutfarming and many aspects of animal husbandry, plants, and making cheese.4I would like to start with Columella as one of the sources that describes in detail manyaspects of making both soft and hard cheeses.One of the first things he tells us is the difference between soft cheeses (fresh) and agedcheeses. He says "...if the cheese is made of a thin consistency (soft), it must be sold asquickly as possible while it is still fresh and retains its moisture." What is he telling us,one that the cheese has high moisture content, two that it is made fresh, and three it is of athin consistency. This could mean a soft cheese like a Farmers Cheese, or a cheese like acottage cheese. Columella goes on to describe the next type of cheese "...if however, it isof a rich and thick consistency, it bears being kept for a longer period". Here I believe heis talking about a cheese that has lower moisture content such as a semi hard cheese, or apressed cheese with lower moisture content so that it will not spoil and can be keeplonger.I will talk a lot about using Rennet in making my cheeses, using an acid, or a plant tocause the curd to form. Here in the First Century we have a written record of thisprocess: "Cheese should be made of pure milk which is as fresh as possible....It shouldusually be curdled with rennet obtained from a lamb or kid, though it can also becoagulated with the flower of the wild thistle or the seeds of the safflower (Carthamustinctorius), and equally well with the liquid which flows from a Fig-tree...".5 So for yourcheese to taste it best us milk that is the freshest you can get. Here is also a reference totwo plants for making the curd form Wild Thistle Flowers, and the seeds of theSafflower, and a tree.Rickii Carroll (Cheese Making Made Easy) and many others recommend using theindirect method of warming your milk. How old is that statement? What documentationdo I have that milk was left near the hearth to warm the milk indirectly? Here we are toldthat "A pail when it has been filled with milk should always be kept at some degree ofheat: it should not however be brought into contact with the flames....but should be put tostand not far from the fire..."There are a number of cheeses that are being reproduced from the descendants of cattle,3 The Project Gutenberg eBook “The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby”, www.gutenberg.org/files/16441, “Tomake Slipp-coat cheese”4 Columella II de re Rustica V-IX, Translated by E.S. Forster & E. Heffner, Book VII, pg.285~2895 Columella II de re Rustica V-IX, Translated by E.S. Forster & E. Heffner, Book VII, pg.285~289
  3. 3. goats, and sheep that were being kept during the middle ages. Besides using animals thatmight be familiar to someone from the Middle Ages they are also using techniques thathave been handed down for more than a thousand years. One example would be cheesesbeing molded and drained using woven baskets such as Canestroato Pugliese according tothe history of this cheese it is made from sheep milk in the early autumn in Italy. It ismolded using woven baskets that give it a rustic appearance. In his writings Columelladescribes this process "...when the liquid had thickened, it should immediately betransferred to wicker vessels or baskets or moulds..."6For hard cheese pressing the curds with some type of weight is necessary to compress thecurds and to drive out as much whey as possible to keep the cheeses from spoiling. In hiswritings he describes this process "...as soon as the cheese has become somewhat moresolid, they place weights on the top of it, so that the whey may be pressed out;....then theyare placed into a cool, shady place, that it my not go bad....it is often placed on very cleanboards, it is sprinkled with pounded salt so that it may exude the acid liquid,...when it hashardened it is pressed again....".7 Here we read that not only that moulds and wickerbaskets are being used to form and drain the curds from the whey, but also that salt andpressure are being used to express the whey from the curds and to prepare the cheese fora drying stage (allowing it to form a rind) for long term storage.Another famous cheese from Italy is Mozzarella, is made by taking the curds andwashing them in extremely hot water then it is pulled or kneaded to form a smooth ball ofcheese. How old is this process again Columella tells us "...the method of making whatwe call "hand pressed" cheese is the best-known of all: when the milk is slightlycongealed in the pail and still warm it is broken up and hot water is poured over it, andthen it is either shaped by hand or else pressed into box-wood moulds."8The very first types of cheeses I made were soft cheeses, herb cheeses, and brinecheeses. I think the following words from Columella tells us about these processes:"Others allow thyme which ahs been crushed and strained through a sieve to coagulatewith the milk and curdle it in this way, similarly, you can give the cheese an flavor youlike by adding any seasoning which you choose....Cheese also which is hardened in brineand then colored with the smoke of apple tree wood or stubble has a not unpleasantflavor..."9So here in the first century in just three pages Columella has described all of theprocesses of making cheese, aging, and flavoring that I talk about with you. Thesewritings wrap up in a small package all of the information that is dotted throughout otherwritings during the middle ages. I want to continue to share with you other sources thattalk about the cheese making process.But for now lets move on to the cheese making process:6 Columella II de re Rustica V-IX, Translated by E.S. Forster & E. Heffner, Book VII, pg.285~2897 Columella II de re Rustica V-IX, Translated by E.S. Forster & E. Heffner, Book VII, pg.285~2898 Columella II de re Rustica V-IX, Translated by E.S. Forster & E. Heffner, Book VII, pg.285~2899 Columella II de re Rustica V-IX, Translated by E.S. Forster & E. Heffner, Book VII, pg.285~289
  4. 4. There are many sites on the Internet like Fankhauser’s Cheese Page10 athttp://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/CHEESE.HTML, and wonderful books thatwill walk you thru the process of making soft or hard cheese. But the basics do notchange and have not changed since man had worked out the process of making cheese. Ialso highly recommend “Cheese Making made Easy” by Ricki & Robert Carroll11; this isthe book that got me started making soft cheese, and also covers making hard cheese aswell.Method #1: This is NOT the quick method. It will take 3 to 5 days to finish a batch ofcheese; I normally use this, as I prefer the taste of the long method.You will need the following items to start making your cheese:(This list is common to most cheese making sites and was listed on the website above aswell as in “Cheese Making made Easy”).Supplies such as cultures and Calcium Chloride can be purchased fromthe New England Cheese Company www.cheesemaking.com.Supplies:1 stainless steel pot (this needs to be of the heavy thicker bottom type or your milkmay burn)1 colander/ strainer1 yard of fine woven cheesecloth (or a clean tea towel/ or lose woven undyied fabric)Cotton Twine (or a heavy duty rubber band12 and a dowel rod or long-handledspoon)*Make sure that all items being used for making your cheese are cleaned well and nosoap or bleach remains in the pan or cloths being used.Making Basic Cheese • 1 gal milk (This needs to be whole milk that is low temperature pasteurized. I found mine at Blooming Foods, or you can try to get raw milk. If you know someone, you can try fresh goats’ milk.). Or you can use regular Whole Milk from the store but you will need to add **Calcium Chloride) There is a side note here you can use regular milk from the store, but you will need to add Calcium Chloride and some heavy whipping cream or ½ & ½.1310 Fankhauser’s Cheese Page at http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/CHEESE.HTML11 Carroll, Ricki & Robert, “Cheese Making made Easy”, Storey Books, 1996, Chapter on “Soft Cheese”pages 27~45, this chapter covers using lemon juice, vinegar, buttermilk, and yogurt in making soft cheeses12 Fankhauser’s Cheese Page at http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/CHEESE.HTML
  5. 5. • 1/4 cup vinegar plain white vinegar or apple cider vinegar all work (when I use vinegar I use the apple cider), or you can use fresh lemon juice – which is what I prefer, flavor-wise. You can also use 3 drops of rennet (an animal product) in ¼ cup of cool water. This normally leaves no after-taste. You can also use ale, Thistle, Fig Bark (please see reference above). After talking to a number of brewers about the Ale making process during the Middle Ages I believe it is the acidity in the alcohol from old Ale, that helped form the curds. For more information on using ale in period, see “A Pottage on fish day”, below.) • 4 oz of live culture yogurt. When I need cheese quick, I use yogurt from the store, and I like the Greek live culture yogurt the best. You can also use live culture buttermilk, or a live culture sour cream. It is the culture that you actually need to make your cheese. Or if you are a purist you can purchase a Mesophilic Culture on line (www.thecheesemaker.com) and follow the directions and make your own. I put mine in clean ice cube trays and freeze them, and then place them in a plastic bag. Each cube is about 1oz, and keeps for a couple of months. This is a pretty common method to keep your starter. • Sea Salt (or what is called a coarse flake salt) Do not use iodized salt. Salt serves several purposes; it draws out more of the whey and acts as a preservative. The dryer you can get your cheese, the longer it will keep. But a word of caution here; if you get your curd too dry, your cheese will not have a good flavor and will not hold a firm shape.Step 1: Place the milk and yogurt in the stainless steel pan on the stove and slowly warmthe milk to 75~90F (this is also called the low temperature method). This can also bedone by leaving a sealed gallon of milk out on the counter till it comes to roomtemperature. This also adds in bringing up the acid content and flavor of milk. Thismethod is similar to what they did in period by leaving the milk to warm by the hearthovernight. Then place in the pan and add the yogurt (or what ever you are using as yourstarter).Step 2: Add 1/4 cup of vinegar/lemon juice/ or 3 drops of rennet (diluted in a smallamount of water) and stir until well mixed.Step 3: Cover and let sit at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours or until the curd hasformed. (This can take up to 24 hours or longer if your house is on the cool side.) Thiswill look like a firm whitish mass in a liquid (the “whey”).Step 4: Place a colander lined with cheesecloth into another pan. Ladle the curds into thecheesecloth, pull up the side and tie with the twine and hang over a bowl for another 12to 24 hours until it stops dripping. At this point untie the cheesecloth and add sea salt totaste.Step 5: Place cheesecloth and cheese back into the colander and into another bowl.13 Home Brew Talk, Information under “Tip!”, http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f130/what-brands-store-bought-milk-work-making-cheese-114585/,
  6. 6. add a small plate and a weight. (I use a regular brick that I have placed into a plastic bag,but a large canned good will work too. You are looking for about 5~7 lbs. of weight.)Place this into your refrigerator or another 24 hours.Step 6: At this point your cheese is ready to eat, cook with, or add an herb such as dill,garlic, chives, ginger, garlic, saffron, etc. You can also make this a sweet cheese byadding honey and dried fruit for use on bagels or toast.This cheese will keep up to 4 to 6 weeks in your refrigerator in a covered container;with our modern refrigeration my cheese has kept longer. This cheese is alsoexcellent for making cheesecakes, or in cooking (such as a filling). I used minemixed with rosemary to stuff chicken breast and quail, and to make lovely savorycheese tarts & pies.Side Note: Do not get rid of the whey; it makes a wonderful secondary cheese (Ricotta,Prim, or Gjtost) when reduced over slow heat in a double boiler. Gjtost has the color ofcaramel and is slightly sweet from all the milk sugar left in the whey. Whey is also goodfor use in your cooking, or making breads.Earlier I referred using ale to help form the curd. Below is the copy of the period recipewhere they are using ale. I am currently working out the amounts and balancing the tasteof the cheese. I will post the results on my blog spot. 14You can also visit my blog spot called the Medieval Cheese Forum atwww.medievalcheese.blogspot.com or www.facebook.com/Medievalcheesefor additional information on cheese making.14 Renfrow, Cindy, Take a Thousand Eggs or More, Vol. 1, 1998, United States,pg.40~41
  7. 7. Three Soft Cheese (A&S Constellation 2010) from right to left a Green Cheese, Dill Cheese, Garlic CheesePART TWO:Hard Cheese 101“….I also saw the earth with people on it. The people were carrying milk in theirvessels, and they were making cheese from the milk. Some of the milk was thick,from which strong cheese was being made; some of the milk was thin, from whichmild cheese was being curdled; and some of the milk was spoiling, from which bittercheese was being produced.”15 Written by St. Hildegard of Bingen.Outline Materials Milk (Raw/Whole/Skim) Starter (Mesophillic/ Thermophillic) Rennet (Animal/Vegetable) Additives (Molds) Calcium Chloride Supplies Stainless Steel Pots (2~4) Slotted Spoon Stainless Colander Cheese Cloth Cheese Mold Cheese Press Thermometer Reed/plastic Mats Draining Board (Maple/ or old cutting board) Weight (5lb/10lb) Plastic Tub with tight fitting lid (2x size of the cheese round)Basic Hard Cheese: Warm the milk Add the starter Allow to sit Add the Rennet15 Classen, Constance, The Color of Angels: Cosmology, Gender, and the Aesthetic Imagination, Rutledge, 1998, pg.15
  8. 8. Allow to sit until clean break is present Cut the Curds Allow to rest Heat the Curds Rest Place in Cheese Cloth lines molds Press Cure outside of Cheese Age EatTypes of Rinds: Washed Rind (Swiss) Bloomy Rind (Brie, Camembert) Natural Rind (Stilton)Some Does: 1. Use whole milk (raw if you can get it) 2. start simple and build your skills 3. Do not get discouraged by mistakes or failures 4. Do keep a journal a simple flip one works well 5. Do try to keep every thing as clean as possible (salt & Vinegar) 6. Do not be afraid to try different things. 7. Do have patients! 8. Read everything you can find about the type of cheese you want to make.Some Don’ts: 1. Do not use bleach 2. Do not try to rush (or at least know where you can and can not) 3. Do not use milk labeled UL (Ultra Pasteurized) 4. Do not be afraid to ask questionsResources on the Web:www.cheesemaking.com The New England Cheese Companyhttp://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/cheese/cheese.html Fankhauser’s Cheese Pagewww.medievalcheese.blogspot.com The Medieval Cheese ForumBook Resources:Home Cheese Making, by Ricki Carroll (2002)Artisan Cheese Making at Home, by Mary Karlin & Ed Anderson (2011)Making Artisan Cheese: Fifty Fine Cheeses, by Tim Smith (2005)Period Sources:
  9. 9. Please reference Illumination to the left, lookon the left hand side, and notice the wooden form that the bundle of cheese is beingpressed in and the container below to catch the whey. Above are two images taken froma modern video showing traditional cheese making. The form and methods have notchanged since the 14th century.Cheese manufacture, 1390-1400, Illustration from "Tacuinum Sanitatis", illuminatedmedical manual based on texts translated from Arabic into Latin, in the collection of theBibliotheque Nationale, Paris.16Columella on Cheese Making:(Both soft and pressed aged cheeses)(Although an early source from 70 A.D. Columella was a contemporary of Pliny & Cato,and at this point in time this was the most complete written source of instructions I havefound for making cheese both pressed & soft)"Cheese should be made of pure milk which is as fresh as possible....It should usually becurdled with rennet obtained from a lamb or kid, though it can also be coagulated withthe flower of the wild thistle or the seeds of the safflower (Carthamus tinctorius), andequally well with the liquid which flows from a Fig-tree..."."A pail when it has been filled with milk should always be kept at some degree of heat: itshould not however be brought into contact with the flames....but should be put to standnot far from the fire..."16 Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, http://images.imagestate.com/Watermark/1276116.jpg
  10. 10. "...when the liquid had thickened, it should immediately be transferred to wicker vesselsor baskets or moulds...""...as soon as the cheese has become somewhat more solid, they place weights on the topof it, so that the whey may be pressed out;....then they are placed into a cool, shady place,that it my not go bad....it is often placed on very clean boards, it is sprinkled withpounded salt so that it may exude the acid liquid,...when it has hardened it is pressedagain...."."...the method of making what we call "hand pressed" cheese is the best-known ofall: when the milk is slightly congealed in the pail and still warm it is broken up andhot water is poured over it, and then it is either shaped by hand or else pressed intobox-wood moulds." (fig. 2)"Others allow thyme which has been crushed and strained through a sieve to coagulatewith the milk and curdle it in this way, similarly, you can give the cheese an flavor youlike by adding any seasoning which you choose....Cheese also which is hardened inbrine and then colored with the smoke of apple tree wood or stubble has a notunpleasant flavor..."17Translated by Helewyse de Birkestad, OL (MKA Louise Smithson)Del modo di fare il formaggio ò vero cascio Cap 51Il cascio ò formaggio che si fa, lo fanno in questo modo, cioè. Quando il latte èquagliato, lo rompono & lo mettono sopra il fuoco, e lo fanno scaldare fin tanto, che sifaccia una massa nel fondo della caldara, e poi lo cavano fuori & formano il formaggiosecondo che a lor piace, & poi lo salano, & lo fanno seccare; e con tale ordine tutti ipastor fanno il formaggio, ma molto di questo si guasta; e chi lo volesse fare di estramabontà & che mai si guastarai, faccia in questo modo cioè. Piglia aceto fortissimo, & melcommune, tanto di uno quanto di altro, & fallo bollire insieme, & quando si rome il latte,per ogni trenta libre di latte, mettevi una scudella di detta compositione, & non loscaldare troppo; e poi formale pezze del formaggio di quella forma che si vuolve, &subito che sia fatto salalo cosi caldo; e questo è il vero e gran secreto da fare il formaggiobonissimo, & che non si guasterà mai. Percioche lo aceto & il mele sono materialeincorruttibili, & per la loro virtù conservano il formaggio.The way of making cheese or real cheese (it may be the difference betweenformaggio being a molded cheese and Cascio a pressed cheese). Chapter 51.The cheese that one makes, one makes in this way, that is: when the milk is coagulatedone breaks it and puts it over a fire and it is heated until it makes a mass at the bottom ofthe pot. Then one takes it out and shapes the cheese, dependent on ones wishes, and thensalt it and put it to dry. But many times made this way it will spoil. If one would wish tomake a high quality one that never spoils make it in this way. That is: take the strongestvinegar and common honey, more of the one than the other, and put them to boiltogether. When one breaks the milk for each 30 “libre” of milk put in one “scudella” ofthis mix and don’t heat it too much. Then make the pieces of cheese in whichever shapeyou like and immediately a it is done salt it thus warm. This is truly the great secret tomake the very best cheese that never spoils because vinegar and honey are incorruptiblematerials and their virtues preserve the cheese.17 Columella II de re Rustica V-IX, Translated by E.S. Forster & E. Heffner, Book VII, pg.285~289
  11. 11. Libra – about 12 oz, libre - plural of libraScudella – small bowl between 430 -600ml18Part Three:Pressed CheesesTaken from: Libro Settimo, 238. Seventh book, page 238. Pages 475-476 of 771 on thewebbed images.Romoli, Domenico. La Singolare dottrina di M. Domenico Romoli. In Venetia : pressoGio. Battista Bonfadino, 1593.From the website: http://www.bib.ub.es/grewe/grewe1.htmLa natura del cascio salato vecchio, & del vecchio non salato Cap XLVIIn quel modo che da gli antichi è laudato il cascio fresco che habbia un pochetto di sale,cosi per il contrario è vituperato il Cascio vecchio, ò che sia salato, o nò; perche diconotutti che il Cascio vecchio che ha in se molto sale diventa secco, morde lo stomaco, &accende il sangue, genera melanconia perche è caldo, & secco, et peró deve esser fuggito,et con esso anco l’altro cascio vecchio non salato, perche fanno al corpo non picciolinocumenti, & tanto piu è cattivo, quanto piu haverà dello acuto, & del pungitivo, perchenon vi è punto dentro acquosità, & di humido, onde genera oppilatione nel fegato, et lepietre ne i rognoni. Sarà la regola de i Casci, che quanto più il Cascio si aprossimaall’esser fresco, è men cattivo, et quanto più và verso il vecchio, più difficil digestione, efa doler più il capo: è grosso a nodrire, conruttibile, et devo da uscir dello stomaco, & nonfa giovamento alcuno, perche non fa buon sangue, & non humetta, anzi dissecca lahumidità, et stringe la orina convertendosi in humeri colerici.The nature of aged salted cheese, and of that aged and not salted, Chapter 46In the same way that one gives age and improves fresh cheese that has a little bit of salt,thus to the contrary it is vituperative (makes harsh) old cheese, or that which is salted,because one says that all old cheese that has in it a lot of salt becomes dry, it bites (driesup) the stomach and it heats up the blood, it generates melancholy because it is hot anddry, and therefore it should be shunned and with this also the other old cheese that is notsalted, because it gives to the body not little injury, and much more it is evil, what ismore it is sharp and pungent (stinging), because there is not a point within of waterinessand humidity, wherefore it causes obstruction of the ducts of the liver, and stones in thekidneys. The rule of the cheese, that how much more the cheese is closer to being fresh it18 Compendio de i secreti rationali di M. Leonardo Fiorvanti Bolognese, Medico & Cirugico. (The Compendium of rational secroetsof M. Leonardo Fiorvanti of Bologna, Medic and Surgeon). The full text of this document is available via BNF Gallica, Translated byHelewyse de Birkestad, OL (MKA Louise Smithson), http://gallica.bnf.fr
  12. 12. is less evil, and the more it goes towards the old the more difficult it’s digestion, and itgives aches to the head, and it gives fat nourishment, induces gas, and must exit from thestomach and does not give any youth, because it does not make good blood, and is nothumid, in fact it desiccates humidity and shrinks the urine agreeing with cholerichumors.19Columella on CheeseColumella (Lucius Iunius Moderatus) lived in Italy not far from Rome until about 70A.D. and he owned farms. What makes Columella important is that he wrote aboutfarming and many aspects of animal husbandry, plants, and making cheese.20One of the first things he tells us is the difference between soft cheeses (fresh) and agedcheeses. He says "...if the cheese is made of a thin consistency (soft), it must be sold asquickly as possible while it is still fresh and retains its moisture." What is he telling us,one that the cheese has high moisture content, two that it is made fresh, and three it is of athin consistency. This could mean a soft cheese like a Farmers Cheese, or a cheese like acottage cheese. Columella goes on to describe the next type of cheese "...if however, it isof a rich and thick consistency, it bears being kept for a longer period". Here I believe heis talking about a cheese that has lower moisture content such as a semi hard cheese, or apressed cheese with lower moisture content so that it will not spoil and can be keeplonger.I will talk a lot about using Rennet in making my cheeses, using an acid, or a plant tocause the curd to form. Here in the First Century we have a written record of thisprocess: "Cheese should be made of pure milk which is as fresh as possible....It shouldusually be curdled with rennet obtained from a lamb or kid, though it can also becoagulated with the flower of the wild thistle or the seeds of the safflower (Carthamustinctorius), and equally well with the liquid which flows from a Fig-tree...".21 So for yourcheese to taste it best us milk that is the freshest you can get. Here is also a reference totwo plants for making the curd form Wild Thistle Flowers, and the seeds of theSafflower, and a tree.Rickii Carroll (Cheese Making Made Easy) and many others recommend using theindirect method of warming your milk. How old is that statement? What documentationdo I have that milk was left near the hearth to warm the milk indirectly? Here we are toldthat "A pail when it has been filled with milk should always be kept at some degree ofheat: it should not however be brought into contact with the flames....but should be put tostand not far from the fire..."19 Translation of Libro di cucina/ Libro per cuoco (14th/15th c.) (Anonimo Veneziano)Translated 2003 to January 2005 CE by Helewyse de Birkestad, OL (MKA Louise Smithson) from thetranscription of Ludovico Frati (ed.): Libro di cucina del secolo XIV. Livorno 1899 prepared and madeavailable online by Thomas Gloning.Last updated March 28th 2005.20 Columella II de re Rustica V-IX, Translated by E.S. Forster & E. Heffner, Book VII, pg.285~28921 Columella II de re Rustica V-IX, Translated by E.S. Forster & E. Heffner, Book VII, pg.285~289
  13. 13. There are a number of cheeses that are being reproduced from the descendants of cattle,goats, and sheep that were being kept during the middle ages. Besides using animals thatmight be familiar to someone from the Middle Ages they are also using techniques thathave been handed down for more than a thousand years. One example would be cheesesbeing molded and drained using woven baskets such as Canestroato Pugliese according tothe history of this cheese it is made from sheep milk in the early autumn in Italy. It ismolded using woven baskets that give it a rustic appearance. In his writings Columelladescribes this process "...when the liquid had thickened, it should immediately betransferred to wicker vessels or baskets or moulds..."22For hard cheese pressing the curds with some type of weight is necessary to compress thecurds and to drive out as much whey as possible to keep the cheeses from spoiling. In hiswritings he describes this process "...as soon as the cheese has become somewhat moresolid, they place weights on the top of it, so that the whey may be pressed out;....then theyare placed into a cool, shady place, that it my not go bad....it is often placed on very cleanboards, it is sprinkled with pounded salt so that it may exude the acid liquid,...when it hashardened it is pressed again....".23 Here we read that not only that moulds and wickerbaskets are being used to form and drain the curds from the whey, but also that salt andpressure are being used to express the whey from the curds and to prepare the cheese fora drying stage (allowing it to form a rind) for long term storage.Another famous cheese from Italy is Mozzarella, is made by taking the curds andwashing them in extremely hot water then it is pulled or kneaded to form a smooth ball ofcheese. How old is this process again Columella tells us "...the method of making whatwe call "hand pressed" cheese is the best-known of all: when the milk is slightlycongealed in the pail and still warm it is broken up and hot water is poured over it, andthen it is either shaped by hand or else pressed into box-wood moulds."24The very first types of cheeses I made were soft cheeses, herb cheeses, and brinecheeses. I think the following words from Columella tells us about these processes:"Others allow thyme which ahs been crushed and strained through a sieve to coagulatewith the milk and curdle it in this way, similarly, you can give the cheese an flavor youlike by adding any seasoning which you choose....Cheese also which is hardened in brineand then colored with the smoke of apple tree wood or stubble has a not unpleasantflavor..."25So here in the first century in just three pages Columella has described all of theprocesses of making cheese, aging, and flavoring that I talk about with you. Thesewritings wrap up in a small package all of the information that is dotted throughout otherwritings during the middle ages. I want to continue to share with you other sources thattalk about the cheese making process.22 Columella II de re Rustica V-IX, Translated by E.S. Forster & E. Heffner, Book VII, pg.285~28923 Columella II de re Rustica V-IX, Translated by E.S. Forster & E. Heffner, Book VII, pg.285~28924 Columella II de re Rustica V-IX, Translated by E.S. Forster & E. Heffner, Book VII, pg.285~28925 Columella II de re Rustica V-IX, Translated by E.S. Forster & E. Heffner, Book VII, pg.285~289
  14. 14. But for now lets move on to the cheese making process:There are many sites on the Internet like Fankhauser’s Cheese Page26 athttp://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/CHEESE.HTML, and wonderful books thatwill walk you thru the process of making soft or hard cheese. But the basics do notchange and have not changed since man had worked out the process of making cheese. Ialso highly recommend “Cheese Making made Easy” by Ricki & Robert Carroll27; this isthe book that got me started making soft cheese, and also covers making hard cheese aswell.Method #1: This is NOT the quick method. It will take 3 to 5 days to finish a batch ofcheese; I normally use this, as I prefer the taste of the long method.You will need the following items to start making your cheese:(This list is common to most cheese making sites and was listed on the website above aswell as in “Cheese Making made Easy”).Supplies such as cultures and Calcium Chloride can be purchased fromthe New England Cheese Company www.cheesemaking.com.Supplies:2 gallons whole milk (or raw whole milk if you have a source)½~1 tsp. Rennet & ¼ cup of cool water (non-chlorinated) amt varies depending onthe type of hard cheese.1 pkg. of Mesopholic Starter (or Thermopholic Starter depending on the type ofhard you are making)Cultures specific to the type of cheese you are makingSea Salt1~3 stainless steel pots (this needs to be of the heavy thicker bottom type or yourmilk may burn)1 colander/ strainer3 1 yard pieces of fine woven cheesecloth (or a clean tea towel/ or lose wovenundyied fabric)26 Fankhauser’s Cheese Page at http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/CHEESE.HTML27 Carroll, Ricki & Robert, “Cheese Making made Easy”, Storey Books, 1996, Chapter on “Soft Cheese”pages 27~45, this chapter covers using lemon juice, vinegar, buttermilk, and yogurt in making soft cheeses
  15. 15. *Make sure that all items being used for making your cheese are cleaned well. I use saltand Vinegar to clean my pots, cloths, and cheese molds. I do not recommend using soapor bleach they leave a residue in the pan or cloths being used.Making Basic Cheese • Warm the milk using indirect heating method to 86~90º. Once your milk reaches the desired temperature if using commercial whole milk add, the Calcium Chloride at this time and stir. • (This can also be whole milk that is low temperature pasteurized. I found mine at Blooming Foods, or you can try to get raw milk. If you know someone, you can try fresh goats’ milk.) • Then add your Starter and wait the prescribed amount of time for the milk to ripen. Usually a minimum of 10 minutes, and maybe as long as 30 minutes. • Next add the diluted Rennet to the milk stir 1~2 minutes cover and allow the pot and milk to sit undispurded for 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on the amount of Rennet used and the type of cheese you are making. In period they also used ale, Thistle, and Fig Bark (please see reference above). After talking to a number of brewers about the Ale making process during the Middle Ages I believe it is the acidity in the alcohol from old Ale, that helped form the curds. For more information on using ale in period, see “A Pottage on fish day”, below.) • When a clean break is seen cut the curds to the prescribed size and allow to sit 5~10 minutes at the target temperature. • Here you will need to consult the specific information for the type of hard cheese you are making. But here you are cooking the curd to get it to give up more of the whey and shrink in size. When the curd is reduced in size according to the directions for the type of cheese you are making proceed. • Place the still warm curds into a cheese cloth lined mold. Fold over one edge of the cloth over the cheese, place the follower and place into the cheese press. • Apply the require amount of weight for the prescribed amount of time. Remove the mold from the press take the cheese out of the mold and flip it over. Return it to the cheese cloth lined mold and return it to the press for the required amount of time. • Next either place the cheese into a salt brine or apply Sea Salt to the out side of the cheese round. Do not use iodized salt. Salt serves several purposes; it draws out more of the whey and acts as a preservative. The dryer you can get your cheese, the longer it will keep. But a word of caution here; if you get your curd too dry, your cheese will not have a good flavor and will not hold a firm shape.Side Note: Do not get rid of the whey; it makes a wonderful secondary cheese (Ricotta,Prim, or Gjtost) when reduced over slow heat in a double boiler. Gjtost has the color ofcaramel and is slightly sweet from all the milk sugar left in the whey. Whey is also goodfor use in your cooking, or making breads.
  16. 16. 15 minutes into the cookingcurd process.30 minutes into the curd cooking process.
  17. 17. Curds are holding to gather Warm curds in lined moldFollower placed Mold in Cheese pressBrining day 3 after brining
  18. 18. Earlier I referred using ale to help form the curd. Below is the copy of the period recipewhere they are using ale. I am currently working out the amounts and balancing the tasteof the cheese. I will post the results on my blog spot. 28Part Four:Cheese Preservation MethodsOutline Methods: Brining Salting Drying Ash Lard Wax Olive Oil Leaves (Oak, Elm, Grape, Hickory) Pickling (Using Brine, or Whey) Wine (Rubbing out side with or soaking) Tannin (Packing with grape seeds & Skins) Smoking Micro-organisms Cheese Bandaging Herbs28 Renfrow, Cindy, Take a Thousand Eggs or More, Vol. 1, 1998, United States,pg.40~41
  19. 19. Components of Cheese:Chemical Composition (%) of Milks of Selected Species of Mammals. (Data compiledfrom Scott (1986)).29Animal Fat Protein Milk Sugar MineralsCow 3.8 3.0 4.8 0.75Goat 6.0 3.3 4.6 0.84Sheep 9.0 4.6 4.7 1.00Buffalo 6.0 3.8 4.5 0.75 0.38 (see noteCamel 4.3 (?) 2.75 below)Human 4.2 1.1 7.0 (Lactose) 0.17“The Fat in the milk helps to produce flavor, aroma and body in mature cheese.Cheese made from skimmed milk is hard in body and texture, and lacks flavor.However, only a small amount of fat (as low as 1%) can produce a backgroundflavor. Protein exists in two forms in milk as a suspension/colloidal (casein) andin a soluble form (whey proteins). For example, lipases, proteases and lactaseenzymes hydrolyze the fat, protein and lactose respectively into differentcomponents. In this case, these enzymes, which occur naturally in the milk orwhich are sometimes supplied by the indigenous bacteria in the milk and theadded starter culture, can change the milk fats and proteins in the process ofripening the cheese to produce the delicate flavors and aromas that make maturecheese so enjoyable. Lactose the main sugar in cow milk.”30FatProteinEnzymesLactoseResources:Gode Cookery, www.godecookery.comPreservationChemistry,http://www.chemistryland.com/CHM107/EarlyChemistry/PreservationChemistry/PreservationChemistry.htmlThe Basics of Making Cheese, http://www.cip.ukcentre.com/cheese.htmMaster Guiles class & hand our on “Food Preservation”29 Milk a Basic Material, http://www.cip.ukcentre.com/cheese.htm30 Milk a Basic Material, http://www.cip.ukcentre.com/cheese.htm
  20. 20. Note on Camel Milk:“Camel cheese is almost impossible to make. It does not coagulate easily and bovinerennet fails to coagulate the milk effectively. In camel herding communities camel milkcheeses use spontaneous fermentation, or lactic fermentation to achieve a sour curd. InSudan, the Rashaida tribe uses this method to store surplus milk in the rainy season,pulverizing the dried curds and adding water for consumption in the dry season. InMongolia camel milk is consumed as a product at various stages of the curd-makingprocess. Recent advances in cheese making technology have made it possible tocoagulate camel milk with a vegetable rennet and camel rennet.”31You can also visit my blog spot called the Medieval Cheese Forum atwww.medievalcheese.blogspot.com or www.facebook.com/Medievalcheesefor additional information on cheese making.31 Camel Milk, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camel_milk
  21. 21. .Cheese manufacture, 1390-1400, Illustration from "Tacuinum Sanitatis", illuminatedmedical manual based on texts translated from Arabic into Latin, in the collection of theBibliotheque Nationale, Paris.3232 Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, http://images.imagestate.com/Watermark/1276116.jpg
  22. 22. Dairymen and Cheese Sellers (Mid 13th C., San Marco, Venice)3333 At the Table of the Monks: Cheese, Of Course (Part V)http://gherkinstomatoes.com/2009/05/22/at-the-table-of-the-monks-cheese-of-course-part-v/
  23. 23. Warming milk Slotted ladle & strainer34 warming the milk 35 Draining whey34 From Tacuinum Sanitatis (ÖNB Codex Vindobonensis, series nova 2644), c. 1370-1400)http://www.godecookery.com/afeast/foods/foods.html35 Take 1000 Eggs or More, pg. 45, from Schweizer Chronik, c. 1548
  24. 24. Part 5:Making your own Starter 36I talked about the basics of making your own soft cheese, and as part of that process youneed to add a starter to your milk. A starter is necessary to help develop a good flavor inyour cheese and the proper amount of acid. What your starter is made of will also affectthe taste of your cheese, such as buttermilk, yogurt, or a commercially purchased starterkit.Type #1:This is one of the most basic starters you can make at home and has a nice tart flavor.Take 2 cups of fresh milk at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours, until it curdles (this isalso called clabbered milk). It is now ready to us as a starter in your cheese makingprocess.Type #2:The process to make this starter takes a about 7 days to finish the complete process. Thestarter made using this process has a mellower flavor than the method above. Take 1 cupof warm milk and add 1/8 cake of regular yeast to the milk let this mixture stand for 24hours. After 24 hours pour out half the yeast and milk mixture and add 1 cup of warmmilk. Repeat this process everyday for the next 7 days, pour of half the mixture and add1 cup of warm milk. You will need to keep the mixture in a warm place for this processto work. After the 7th day add the mixture to 2 cups of warm milk and let it stand for anadditional 24 hours. At this point you now have a starter that can be used in your cheesemaking.Once you have added the starter to your milk save 2 cups of the clabbered milk from thestart of each batch of cheese. You can keep it covered in your refrigerator for up to aweek before using.Making your own starter adds and additional level of control in your cheese makingprocess and brings you one step closer to how they may have made cheese in the middleages.36 Carroll, Ricki & Robert, “Cheese Making made Easy”, Storey Books, 1996

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