Ale cheese

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  • 1.Ale CheeseCheese rounds airdrying & aging inshelfs, pressing byhand, and drainingwhey.Fig.1: Cheese manufacture, 1390-1400, Illustration from "Tacuinum Sanitatis",illuminated medical manual based on texts translated from Arabic into Latin, in thecollection of the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. 11Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, 1

2. Making an Ale Cheese in PeriodSome types of cheese were named for the area that they were being made such as Gouda(in Holland); or the religious orders that made the cheese. An example of this wasdocumented in 1543 in the ledgers of Saint-Aman Abby of Rouen, where the cheesecalled Neufchatel2 was recorded in the book A Proper newe Booke of Cokerye.Another example would be a variety of cheeses called Trappist after the order of Trappistmonks who made them. There are also verities of cheeses that were made in a certaintown or region.This cheese is based on a recipe that called for Ale to be used to set the curd c.1430~1450A.D. The version I cited was from Take a Thousand Eggs or More, but can also befound in Two Fifteenth Century Cook Books.Fig 2: Dairymen and Cheese Sellers (Mid 13th C., San Marco, Venice)3The milk was collected twice a day (morning & evening) at the milking house to beprocessed (fig.3 & 5). In period they would have left the skimmed milk to warm overnight by the fire near the hearth. A milk starter often cream (see Ref. 3) from the next2Norman Cheeses, the Table of the Monks: Cheese, Of Course (Part V) 3. mornings milking4 (a bacterial agent some times referred to as a live culture) was addedthat acted as an agent to help back down the proteins in the milk so that the milk solidsout separate out (the curds) . Another method used in period for the source of a starterwas to save a small amount of milk from a previous batch of cheese before the rennet (oragent was added to cause the curd to separate from the whey). Then something was addedlike thistle, safflower juice, or an acid (vinegar or verjuice), ale, or rennet5 to cause themilk to clabbered (the curd to separate from the whey).6The milk purchased for this project was Raw Whole Cows Milk that I low temperaturepasteurized for modern safety reasons (The raw whole milk that I used was lowtemperature pasteurized by me, then processed into the cheese see details below). TheRaw milk came from free range Short Horn Milking Cows, and Belted Galloway whichwas breeds known in the middle ages.Medieval Method of making cheese:Reference 1: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 cheese come. Thenput the curds in a fair cloth, with a little good rose water, fine powder of ginger, and alittle sugar. So lash great soft rolls together with a thread and crush out the whey withyour clotted cream. Mix it with fine powder of ginger, and sugar and so sprinkle it withrose water, and put your cheese in a fair dish. And put these clots around about it. Thentake a pint of raw milk or cream and put it in a pot, and all to shake it until it be gatheredinto a froth like snow. And ever as it cometh, take it off with a spoon and put into acolander. There put it upon your fresh cheese, and prick it with wafers, and so serve it.74Power, Eileen, The Goodman of Paris, New York, 1992, pg.1695Arne Emil Christensen is Professor, Dr. Phil. at the University Museum of National Antiquities in Oslo,author of this article (He specializes on shipbuilding history and craftsmanship in the Iron Age and theViking period),, Eileen, The Goodman of Paris, New York, 1992, pg.1697Dawson, Thomas, The Good Housewifes Jewel, Southover Press, 1996, pg.17~183 4. Fig.3 Women had charge of the domestic animals including milking, butter making, and cheese making production. (Bodleian Library, MS. Bodley 764, fol. 44)8Reference 2:I was reluctant to include this but since there so little in print on how to make cheese thatincludes the pressing and rubbing the outside with salt I have chosen to do so. Pleasekeep in mind that the process described below has not changed since Columella describedthis same process in the first century (see reference #4).(England, 17th century, A True Gentlewomans Delight, 1653)To make a slipcoat CheeseTake five quarts of new Milk from the Cow, and one quart of Water, and one spoonfulof Runnet, and stirre it together, and let it stand till it doth come, then lay your Cheesecloth into the Vate, and let the Whey soak out of it self; when you have taken it all up, laya cloth on the top of it, and one pound weight for one hour, then lay two pound for onehour more, then turn him when he hath stood two houres, lay three pound on him for anhour more, then take him out of the Vate, and let him lie two or three houres, and thensalt him on both sides, when he is salt enough, take a clean cloth and wipe him dry, thenlet him lie on a day or a night, then put Nettles under and upon him, and change themonce a day, if you find any Mouse turd wipe it off, the Cheese will come to his eating ineight or nine dayes.98Hanawalt, Barbara, A., The Ties That Bound Peasant Families in Medieval England, Oxford Univ.Press, Chapter 8 The Husbandmans Year and Economic Ventures:, pg.1489Gode Cookery, Matterer, James L. site owner, 5. The reference above about the cheese being ready to eat in 8 or 9 days is very close to theprocess that I used for one of the versions you will sample.Reference 3: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,as both 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 tenpence10Reference 4:Columella on Cheese Making:(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...""...when the liquid had thickened, it should immediately be transferred to wicker vesselsor baskets or moulds..."" 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 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 of all:when the milk is slightly congealed in the pail and still warm it is broken up and hotwater is poured over it, and then it is either shaped by hand or else pressed into box-woodmoulds." (fig. 1)"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 not unpleasantflavor..."11Period Recipe for Ale Cheese:10 The Project Gutenberg eBook The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby,, Tomake Silpp-coat cheese11 E.S. Forster & E. Heffner (Translated by), Columella II de re Rustica V-IX, , Book VII, pg.285~2895 6. (I also have this book in hard copy at home)Harleian MS. 279 - Potage DyversCOOKERY BOOK. I. HARLEIAN MS. 279. POTAGE DYVERS. 15.1. A potage on fysshday. Take an Make a styf Poshote of Milke anAle; Jjan take & draw J^e croddys J^orw a straynoure wyth^ whyte SweteWyne, or ellys Rochelle Wyne, & make it sum-what rennyng an sum-whatstondyng, & put Sugre a gode quantyte ]7er-to, or hony, but nowt to moche ;J^an hete it a lytil, & serue it forth al a-brode in Ipe dysshys ; an straw onCanel, & Gyngere, and jif [l^ou] haue Blank powder, straw on and kepe ita[s] whyte as yt may be, & jjan serue f [orth]. 12Harleian MS. 279 - Potage Dyvers 13Supplies:12 Two Fifteenth-century cookery books, Haleian ms. 279 (ab. 1430),Internet Archive,COOKERY BOOK.I.HARLEIAN MS.279. POTAGE DYVERS.15 Renfrow, Cindy, Take a Thousand Eggs or More, Vol. 1, 1998, United States, pg.40~41 6 7. 2 gallons Raw Whole Cows Milk(Raw Milk or non-homogenized milk will give you a richer cheese)There is an additional step here for me since I used Raw Milk. I needed to heatthe milk for 30 min. to a temperature of 145, then place the