Friday, September 16, 2016


Below is an excerpt from "The Centennial Cook Book and General Guide ©1876


The materials employed in making cheese, are the curd formed from milk and rennet; but certain processes are requisite to the due preparation of it. It is necessary for this purpose that the curd, which is the basis of cheese, and exists not in the cream, but in the milk, be separated from it. This is done by artificial coagulation, and when the curd is entirely freed from the whey, by means of pressing and otherwise, it becomes cheese, and will keep for a great length of time free from all danger of decomposition.

Take out the stomach of a calf as soon as killed, and scour it inside and out with salt. After it is cleared of the curds always found in it, let it drain a few hours; then sew it up with two handsful of salt in it, or stretch it on a stick, well salted; or keep it in the salt wet, and soak a piece for use, which will do over and over again by washing it in fresh water.

TEMPARATURB AMD PREPARATION OF-MILK. The milk intended for cheese as well as for butter ought to be carefully passed through a fine canvas sieve, to deprive it of any impurities, such as hairs, etc. That which is produced at a single milking is the best, and when brought warm from the cow it is the more readily effected by the rennet. The natural heat it possesses when taken from the udder is from eighty-five to ninety degrees. If it is below eighty-five degrees it must be raised to that temperature either by mixing hot water with the milk, or placing a vessel containing some of the milk in a copper of boiling water, and mixing the milk so heated with the rest. Much of the success of cheese-making depends upon the milk being of a proper degree of heat when the rennet is put into it.

Put the milk into a large tub, warming a part till it is of a natural degree of temperature, same as described in above paragraph. Put in as much rennet as will turn it, and cover it over. Let it stand till completely turned; then strike the curd down several times with the skimming-dish and let it separate, still covering it. There are two modes of breaking the curd, and there will be a difference in the the taste of the cheese, according as either is observed ; one is to gather it with the hands very gently towards the side of the tub, letting the whey pass through the fingers till it is cleared, and ladeling it off as it collects ; the other is to get the whey from it by early breaking the curd. The last method deprives it of many of its oily particles and is therefore less proper.

Put the vat on a ladder over the tub, and fill it with curd by a skimmer, press the curd close with your hand, and add more as it sinks, and it must be finally left two inches above the edge. Before the vat is filled, the cheese-cloth must be laid at the bottom, and when full drawn smooth over on all sides.

There are two modes of salting cheese : one by mixing salt in the curd while in the tub after the whey is out: and the other by putting it into the vat and crumbling the curd all to pieced with it after the first squeezing with the hands has dried it. The first method appears best on some accounts, but not on all, and therefore the custom of the country must direct. Put a board under and over the vat, and place it in the press; in two hours turn it out, and put a fresh cheese-cloth, press it again for eight or nine hours, then salt it all over, and turn it again in the vat, and let it stand in the press fourteen or sixteen hours, observing to put the cheeses last made, undermost. Before putting them the last time into the vat pare the edges if they do not look smooth. The vat should have holes at the sides and at the bottom to let all the whey pass through. It now only remains to wash the outside of the cheese in warm whey or water, wipe it dry, color it with annatto, and place it in a cool place to mature or ripen.

This is made from the last of the milk drawn from the cow at each milking, or of a mixture of milk and cream. It is usually made up into small pieces, and a gentle pressure applied to press out the whey. After twelve hours it is placed upon a board or wooden trencher, and turned every day, until dried. In about three weeks it will be ripe. Nothing but raw cream, turned with a little rennet, is employed, when a very rich cheese is wanted. A little salt is generally added, and frequently a little powdered sugar. The vats employed for cream cheeses are usually square, and of small size.

Bruise the tops of young sage in a mortar, with some leaves of spinach, and squeeze the juice ; mix it with the rennet in the milk, more or less, according as you like for color and taste. When the curd is come, break it gently, and put it in with the skimmer, till it is pressed two inches above one vat. Press it eight or ten hours. Salt it, and turn every day.

Muriatic acid is used to coagulate the milk instead of rennet, and this is said to impart the pungent taste peculiar to the Dutch cheese, and also to preserve it from mites. Much of the Dutch cheese is made of skimmed milk, and is intended for sea stores, as it keeps well, from being much less rich than the higher class cheese.

A dark room is not best adapted for curing cheese. Cheese should be exposed to light to obtain the best flavor, and besides it can be examined more minutely from time to time, and freed from the depredations of the skipper. The best means to protect cheese from these pests is to make a mixture of oil and Cayenne pepper, and apply it to the outside of the cheese, as may be required.

Wash in warm whey, when you have any, and wipe it once a month and keep it on a rack. If you want to ripen it quick, a damp cellar will bring it forward. When a whole cheese is fresh cut, the larger quantity should be spread with butter inside, and the outside wiped to preserve it. To keep those in daily use moist, let a clean cloth be wrung out from cold water, and wrapt round them when carried from table. Dry cheese may be used to advantage to grate for serving with macaroni or eating without. These observations are made with a view to make the above articles less expensive, as in most families where much is used there is waste.

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