Farmers cheese


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Farmers cheese

  1. 1. Chese Rauyn & Herbed Cheese iFig.1 37. Fresh Cheese; from the Theatrum Sanitatis, Library Casanatense, RomeMaking a Chese Rauyn in Periodi Fig.137. Fresh Cheese; from the Theatrum Sanitatis, Library Casanatense, Rome,
  2. 2. Milk products have long been a part of mans diet, there are many sources that documentthat a family could earn extra money by taking extra products they produced and soldthem at market, there also seems to be a reoccurring phrase that speaks to this “pennetake pe curddys pat comen fro pe deye [dairymaid]”.ii Products sold included butter,milk, and cheeses (soft & hard). The medieval working class farmer was very thrifty,fresh butter was made then soft cheeses, then from the whey was made a second type ofcheese or second butter, and then used the remaining liquid whey for baking or feeding totheir animals (fig.1).iii Soft cheeses were consumed quickly and were inexpensive, hardcheese were more prized because they took longer to cure and were more expensive.It was necessary to devise ways to keep milk products as long as possible. The simplestform of cheese was a soft fresh cheese (not aged into a hard slicing cheese). Dependingon the culture this type of cheese was called New Cheese, Farmers Cheese, Slipp-CoatCheese, Neufchatel, or Chese rauyn. In the middle ages soft cheeses were found innearly all cultures the English had soft cheese, hard cheese, green cheese (Green denotesfreshly-made cheese which has not matured), and an herb-flavored cheese calledSpermyse.Some types of soft cheese were named for the area that they were being made is in suchas Neufchatel a Norman style soft cheese; it is believed that it was first mentioned in atext from the year 1035 A.D. in the Neufchatel-en-bray countryside. What I candocument is that the Vikings brought cheese making with them to Normandy.iv I candocument making and selling of cheeses by woman from the 10th to 16th century’s. Thecheese can definitely be documented in 1543 in the ledgers of Saint-Aman Abby ofRouen where the cheese was called Neufchatelv in the book “A Proper newe Booke ofCokerye.”viThe milk was collected often by the women of the house to be processed (fig.2 & 3). Inperiod they would have left whole milk to warm over night by the fire, they also addedthings like thistle and safflower juice, acid (vinegar or lemon juice), ale, or rennetvii tocause the milk to callboard, and a milk starter (a bacterial agent some times referred to asa live culture) was also added that acted as an agent to help back down the proteins in themilk so that the milk solids out separate out (the curds).viii The milk purchased for thisproject came from free range Short Horn Milking Cows and Belted Galloway. The rawii Renfrow, Cindy, Take a Thousand Eggs or More, 1998, United States, pg.42iii Hanawalt, Barbara, A., The Ties That Bound – Peasant Families in Medieval England, Oxford Univ. Press, Chapter 8 “TheHusbandman’s Year and Economic Ventures:, pg.124~155iv Arne Emil Christensen is Professor, Dr. Phil. at the University Museum of National Antiquities in Oslo, author of this article (Hespecializes on shipbuilding history and craftsmanship in the Iron Age and the Viking period), Norman Cheeses, Norman Cheeses, Arne Emil Christensen is Professor, Dr. Phil. at the University Museum of National Antiquities in Oslo, author of this article (Hespecializes on shipbuilding history and craftsmanship in the Iron Age and the Viking period), Power, Eileen, The Goodman of Paris, New York, 1992, pg.169
  3. 3. whole milk that I used was low temperature pasteurized by me, then processed into thesoft cheese.Another source of excellent information on milk, butter, cheese, and buttermilk was “AHandbook of Anglo-Saxon Food Processing and Consumption.” Though space does notallow here to go greatly in depth I will quote from this book in reference to butter,cheese, and buttermilk. “The impression is that cheese was the most important dairyproduct; butter was made from the whey, and the buttermilk drunk. Consuming dairyproducts in this way makes an economical use of the resource.”ixFig.2 Women had charge of the domestic animals including milking, butter making, andcheese making production. (Bodleian Library, MS. Bodley 764, fol. 44)xChese ruayn & Herbed Cheese“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 eh Market women sell for tenpence…”xiix Hagen, Ann, “A Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Food Processing and Consumption”, Chippenham, England:Anglo-Saxon Books, 2002, pages 24~33x Hanawalt, Barbara, A., The Ties That Bound – Peasant Families in Medieval England, Oxford Univ.Press, Chapter 8 “The Husbandman’s Year and Economic Ventures:, pg.148xi The Project Gutenberg eBook “The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby”,, “Tomake Silpp-coat cheese”
  4. 4. Medieval Method of making cheese:“Take a gallon of milk from the cow, and seethe it, and when it doth seethe put thereuntoa quart or two of morning milk in fair cleansing pans in such place as no dust may falltherein. This is for you clotted cream. The next morning take a quart of morning milk,and seethe it, and put in a quart of cream thereunto, and when it doth seethe, take if offthe fire. Put it in a fair earthen pan, and let it stand until it be somewhat blood warm. Butfirst over night put a good quantity of ginger, rose water, and stir it together. Let it settleovernight. The next day put it into your said blood warm milk to make your cheesecome. Then put the curds in a fair cloth, with a little good rose water, fine powder ofginger, and a little sugar. So lash great soft rolls together with a thread and crush out thewhey with your clotted cream. Mix it with fine powder of ginger, and sugar and sosprinkle it with rose water, and put your cheese in a fair dish. And put these clots aroundabout it. Then take a pint of raw milk or cream and put it in a pot, and all to shake it untilit be gathered into a froth like snow. And ever as it cometh, take it off with a spoon andput into a colander. Ther put it upon your fresh cheese, and prick it with wafers, and soserve it.”xii‘Chese ruayn’xiii (Farmers Cheese)The flavor of this cheese tends to be a little more acidic. Modern Method:1-gallon whole milk (non-homogenized or note: Raw Milk will give you a richer cheese) a. There is an additional step here for me since I used Raw Milk. I needed to heat the milk for 30 min. to a temperature of 145°, then place the pot immediately into a sink filled with cool water and ice if necessary to bring the temp of the milk down quickly, then after cooled place sterile clean container and proceed with cheese making steps below.4 oz. of mesophillic* cheese starter culture (I make my own and place it into ice cubetrays, each cube is about 1 oz. so I use 4 cubs of starter (You can also use culturedbuttermilk or a 4 oz. container of plain yogurt that contains a live culture).1 pint of heavy cream (I did not need to add this since I used organic whole milk that hasbeen low temperature pasteurized but not homogenized) The reason for adding the Creamis to raise the milk fat content of the milk to make a richer cheese and improve the tasteof the final product.3-4 drops of Rennet per gallon of milk used1/3 cup of cool waterCoarse Sea Salt (salt to taste)xii Dawson, Thomas, The Good Housewife’s Jewel, Southover Press, 1996, pg.17~18xiii “any rich soft cheese”, Brears, Peter, A Taste of History, London, 1993, pg.134
  5. 5. Step One: making the Mesophillic starter:(Method used in “Cheesemaking Made Easy” by Ricki & Robert Carrollxiv)1. Sterilize a clean one-quart canning jar and its cover by placing them in boiling waterfor five minutes.2. Cool them and fill the jar with fresh skim milk, leaving ½ inch of head- space. Coverthe jar tightly with its sterilized lid.3. Put the jar in a big deep pot with the water level at least ¼ inch over the top of the jarlid. Put the pot on the burner and bring the water to a boil. Note: when the water beginsto boil, and let it continue at a slow boil for thirty minutes.4. Take the jar out of the water, and let it cool to 72°, away from drafts. (To check thetemperature, use the current room temperature, to avoid contaminating the milk).5. Inoculate the milk by adding the contents of the freeze-dried starter culture packet tothe milk (still at 72°) (the starter culture was purchased from a cheese supply company).6. Add the power quickly, to minimize exposure to the air. Re-cover and swirl the jarevery five minutes or so, to mix and dissolve the powered culture thoroughly.7. Put the jar where the milk temperature can stay at room temperature for fifteen totwenty-four hours during its ripening period. Sixteen hours usually does the trick, butcan be left for an additional 8 hours.8. The culture will have the consistency of a good yogurt. It should separate cleanly fromthe sides of the jar, and the surface should be shiny. Taste it. It should be slightly acidand also a bit sweet. Chill it immediately. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up tothree days before using it. The remaining used produce should be placed in ice cubetrays and frozen for storage (make sure to sterilize the plastic ice cube trays). Whenfrozen remove from the tray and place in a plastic bag and place back into the freezer,each cube is equal to about one ounce of starter and keeps for about 1~3 months in thefreezer.xvStep Two:Place milk into large pan (fig. 4). Warm milk, I prefer to take it out and let it come toroom temperature (I have also used the in-direct warming method using a large metal panin a sink of warm water) or until the it has raised to a temperature of milk to 72° F (Ifound due to the fact that I tend to keep my house cooler that I needed to warm the milkto 80~85°F). Add 4 ounces of mesophillic starter (four cubes of starter). Add 3~4 dropsof Rennet (dilute Rennet to 1/3 cup of cool water). Let milk sit covered 12 to 24 hours oruntil a thick curd has formed or longer if necessary (the curd should have what is called aclean break stage, which is if a clean knife is put into the curd the curd should separatecleanly).Pour the curds into a cheesecloth-lined colander (fig. 4) and hang to drain for 12 to 24hours or until bag has stopped dripping (I have left them for up to 48 hours to getter abetter product).xiv Carroll, Ricki & Robert, “Cheesemaking 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 cheesesxv
  6. 6. Place the curds into a cheese cloth-lined colander (fig. 6) and place the colander in a pot(fig. 5). Place a plate in the colander, resting on the bag of curds. Place a weight on theplate (the weight of two bricks is sufficient (wrap the bricks in a plastic bag)). Put thecover on the pot and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.Take the cheese from the pot and place in a bowl. Add sea salt to taste and knead into thecheese; mold the cheese by hand into four cheeses. You can add a variety of condimentsif desired such as chopped chive, chopped garlic, etc.xviObservations:Day 1:2 gallons (256 oz) of whole fresh milk3 oz of water with 3 drops rennetTotal starting weight 259 oz.Day 2: (24 hours later)Curds separated from the whey (a soft solid mass)Curds were cut (add in the draining process)Ladled curds into cheese cloth lined strainers splitting the amount evenly in thirds.Whey left after initial ladling process (170.67 oz)Hanging the bags of curds for drainingDay 3: (24 hours)Liquid removed from bowls below hanging bags of curds amount of liquid (40.44 oz)Curd salted and placed back into cheese cloth and press added and put in refrigeratoDay 4-5: (48 hours)Liquid removed from bowls (21 oz)Finished cheese (just under 27 oz)Additional salt to taste was added and cheese split into thirdsHerb and roasted garlic added to each and placed in containers and refrigeratedHerbed Cheeses“Grene chese is not called grene by the reason of colour, but for the newness of it…Softechese, not to new nor to olde, is best…Harde chese is hote and dry, and euyllto digest.Spermyse is a chese the which is made with curdes and with the juce of herbes…Yetbeside these…natures of chese, there is a chese called rewene chese, the whiche, yf it bewell orderyd, doth passé (surpass) all other cheses.”xvii“The Good Housewife’s Jewel” also contains several recipes to extend the use of cheesethat is old. They were doing this by also adding things such as ginger to change theflavor of older soft cheeses.xvi Carroll, Ricki & Robert, Cheese making made Easy, United States: Capital City Press, 1996, page 36~37xvii Sass, Lorna, J., To the King’s Taste, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975, pg.48
  7. 7. In doing the flavored cheeses I choose two that were readily available in the middle agesregardless of the time period or country and were not costly. Other things I could haveused for either flavor or color included saffron, ginger, and thyme.Herbed Cheese #18 oz. of Chese ruayn1/3 cup finely chopped Garlic (Allium Sativum)Take 8 oz of the cheese made above and add a 1/3 of a cup of finely chopped Garlic(Allium sativum) (I prefer to roast my garlic and then add it). Place in a container coverand refrigerate.Note: this cheese is better if made ahead and allow to age for 3 to five days before use.Herbed Cheese #28 oz. of Chese ruayn2~3 Tbl. finely chopped Dill (Anethum graveolens)Take 8 oz of the cheese made above and add a good handful of Fresh Dill (Anethumgraveolens) (about 3 tablespoons). Place in a container add another tablespoonful of dillto the top and cover and refrigerate.Notes:This cheese is better if you make it 3~5 days in advance and give the flavor a chance tomature.Conclusion:This is a process I have been learning about for the last 2 years, I started a blog onMySpace page called “Cheese 101” so I could keep track of mistakes and successes.Some of the things I learned was if my house is too cold the curd will not set, I can warmmilk and add more Rennet, that if the milk used is near the end of the cows or goat’slactation cycle the milk does not contain enough milk fat to set a curd.On adding rennet I learned early on that a little goes a long way and adding two much ofsomething in the case of making cheese can be a bad thing. Adding not enough rennetand your curd will not set, but I have found that you can add a little more if necessary.Such as adding to much rennet will give it a rubbery texture. Adding to much lemonjuice or vinegar will give the cheese a bitter or off taste.This last statement is important because it explains couple of written statement I found inperiod sources that talked about the time of year and the quality of the cheese productsproduced. For example in the spring and early summer the milk is rich and contains alarge of amount of protein and milk fat due to new pastures and lactation for their young,so the cheese is going to be very rich in body and flavor. If the milk is in the fall then it
  8. 8. is not as rich due to the decline of pasture feeding and that they are no longer lactating, sothe cheese produced in the fall will take more milk to produce a pound of cheese due to alower amount of protein and fat making the milk thinner (the cream that comes to the topis not as thick as in the spring/ summer milk).Part of the preservation of soft cheese comes in how dry can I get it (i.e. how much wheycan I get out of the curd). This is done in several ways thru the process, by hanging,pressing, and salting. After the initial setting time and the curd is this wonderful mass Ihave just broke it into large chunks and placed it into the cheese cloth. But I have foundthat if I cut the curd (make it into small pieces) first that the whey separates better andgives me two things a dryer curd that will last longer and a better texture to the finishedplain cheese (smaller and with more the looks of large cottage cheese chunks). When asoft cheese goes to the bad very fast it is the whey left in the cheese that goes bad first.With modern refrigeration I can keep these soft cheeses for up to 6 weeks. In periodthese cheeses likely lasted for a week to 10 days with root cellars or 3 to 5 days otherwise. Although I did not find any information on the amount of time these cheeses lastedI have set small amounts out at home and tested how long they last at room temperaturein my house.Another lesson that applies as much now as then is keeping things clean, “morning milkin fair cleansing pans in such place as no dust may fall therein”. There are times when nomatter what you do the milk will not set and all you can do is start over and feed theprevious batch to the pig.Enjoy eating the cheese.THL Waldetrudis von Metten OW, OE“In Service there is Honor”
  9. 9. xviii fig. 3xviii Norman Cheeses,
  10. 10. xix fig. 4 warming the milk Warming milk Slotted ladle & strainer xx fig. 5 draining wheyOther period sources looked at for soft cheeses recipes:Harleian MS. 279 - Potage Dyversxix From Tacuinum Sanitatis (ÖNB Codex Vindobonensis, series nova 2644), c. 1370-1400) Take 1000 Eggs or More, pg. 45, from Schweizer Chronik, c. 1548
  11. 11. xxi xxii fig. 6 Roman Cheese Press in form and function verysimilar to those found from 600 – 1600A.D.xxi Renfrow, Cindy, Take a Thousand Eggs or More, Vol. 1, 1998, United States, pg.40~41xxii Roman Cheese Press, Greyware circular straight-sided bowl, used for training the Whey from cheese, c.450 A.D.,