Richard Lamb Allen.

A Brief compend of American agriculture online

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ter in the keg washed with cold water and the pickle
drained off. The firkin is now neatly headed up and sent
to market."

The salt added to the butter should be from l-24lh to l-28th
of its weight, or about 3 of an ounce to a pound, and this must
be of the best quality. All the butter-milk must be tho-
roughly extracted by repeated washings ; and when com-
pleted the butter should be immediately packed and not a par-
ticle of air allowed to come in contact 'with it till opened for
the table.



" All cheese consists essentially of the curd mixed with a
certain portion of the fatty matter and of the sugar of milk.
But differences in the quality of the milk, in the proportion
in which the several constituents of milk arc mixed together,
or in the general mode of dairy management, give rise to
varieties of cheese almost without number. Nearly every
dairy district produces one or more qualities of cheese pecu-
liar to itself.

Natural differences in the milk. It is obvious that whatever
gives rise to natural differences in the quality of the milk
must affect also that of the cheese prepared from it. If the
milk be poor in butter, so must the cheese be. If the pasture
be such as to give a milk rich in cream, the cheese will par-
take of the same quality. If the herbage or other food
affect the taste of the milk or cream, it will also modify the
flavor>)f the cheese.

Milk of different, animals. So the milk of different animals
will give cheese of unlike qualities. The. ewe-milk cheeses
<f Tuseany, Naples, ;md Langm-doc, HIM! those of goat's
milk made on Mont Dor and elsewhere, are. celebrated for
qualities which are not possessed by cheeses prepared from
cow's milk in a similar way. I'uil'alo milk also gives a
cheese of peculiar qualities, which is manufactured in some
parts of the Neapolitan territory. Other kinds of cln
again are made from mixtures of the milk of dilli-rent animals.
Thus the strong tasted cheese of Lecca and the celebrated
Roquefort cheese are prepared from mixtures of goat with


ewe-milk, and the cheese of Mont Cenis from both of these
mixed with the milk of the cow.

Creamed oruncreamed milk. Still further differences are
produced according to the proportion of cream which is left in
or is added to the milk. Thus if cream only be employed, we
have the rich cream-cheese which must be eaten in a com-
paratively recent state. Or, if the cream of the previous
night's milking be added to the new milk of the morning, we
may have such cheese as the Stilton of England, or the
small, soft, and rich Brie cheeses, so much esteemed in
France. If the entire milk only be used, we have such
cheeses as the Cheshire, the Double Gloucester, the Cheddar,
the Wiltshire, and the Dunlop cheeses of Britain, the Kinne-
gad cheese, I believe, of Ireland, and the Gouda and Edam
cheeses of Holland. Even here, however, it makes a differ-
ence whether the warm milk from the cow is curdled alone,
aa at Gouda and Edam, or whether it is mixed with the milk
of the evening before, as is generally done in Cheshire and
Ayrshire. Many persons are of opinion that cream, which
has once been separated, can never be so well mixed again
with the milk, that a portion of the fatty matter shall not flow
out with the whey and render the cheese less rich. If, again,
the cream of the evening's milk be removed, and the skimmed
milk added to the new milk of the next morning, such cheeses
as the Single Gloucester are obtained. If the cream be taken
once from all the milk, the better kinds of skimmed-milk
cheese, such as the Dutch cheese of Leyden, are prepared ;
while if the milk be twice skimmed, we have the poorer
cheeses of Friesland and Groningen. If skimmed for three
or four days in succession, we get the hard and horny cheeses
of Essex and Sussex, which often require the axe to break
them up.

Butter-milk cheese. But poor or butterless cheese will also
ditlf'r in finality according to the state of the milk from which
it is extracted. If the new milk be allowed to stand to throw
up its cream, and this be then removed in the usual way,
the ordinary skimrned-milk cheese will be obtained by adding
rennet to the milk. But if, instead of skimming, we allow
the milk to stand till it begins to sour, and then remove the
butter by churning the whole, we obtain the milk in a sour
state (butter-milk.} From this milk the curd separates natu-
rally by gentle heating. But being thus prepared from sour
milk and without the use of rennet, butter-milk cheese differs
more or less in quality from that which is made from sweet


skimmed-milk. The acid in the butter-milk, especially after
it has stood a day or two, is capable of coagulating new milk
also, and thus, by mixing more or less sweet milk with the
butter-milk before it is warmed, several other qualities of
mixed butter and sweet milk cheese may readily be manu-

Whey-clieese. The whey which separates from the curd,
and especially the white whey, which is pressed out towards
the last, contains a portion of curd, and not unfrequently a
considerable quantity of butter also. When the whey is
heated, the curd and butter rise to the surface, and are readily
skimmed off. This curd alone will often yield a cheese of
excellent quality, and so rich in butter, that a very good
imitation of Stilton cheese may sometimes be made with
alternate layers of new milk-curd and this curd of whey.

Mixtures of vegetable substances with the milk. New
varieties of cheese are formed by mixing vegetable substan-
ces with the curd. A green decoction of two parts of sage
leaves, one of marigold, and a little parsley, gives its color
to the green cheese of Wiltshire ; some even mix up the
entire leaves with the curd. The celebrated Schabzieger
cheese of Switzerland is made by crushing the skim-milk
cheese after it is several months old to fine powder in a mill,
mixing it then with ono-tenth of its weight of fine salt, and
one-twentieth of the powdered leaves of the mellilot trefoil,
(Irifolium meliJotus cerulea,) and afterwards with oil or butter,
working the whole into a paste, which is pressed and care-
fully dried.

Potato clieeses, as they are called, are made in various ways.
One pound of sour milk is mixed with five pounds of boiled
potatoes and a little salt, and the whole is beat into a pulp,
which, after standing five or six days, is worked up again,
and then dried in the usual way. Others mix three parts of
dried boiled potatoes with I wo of fresh curd, or equal weights,
or more curd tlnn polulo according to the quality required.
Such ehee^e-. are made in Thiiringia, in Saxony, and in other
parts of Germany. In Savoy, an excellent cheese is made
by mixing one of the pulp of potatoes with three of ewe
milk Cttrd, and in Westphalia a potato choose is made with
skimmed milk.

PREPARATION OF REXNET. Hoimot is pro pn rod from the
saltod stomach or intestines of the suckling calf, the unweaned
lamb, the young kid, or the young pig. In general, however,
the stomach of the calf is preferred, and there are various


ways of curing and preserving it. The stomach of the
newly killed animal contains a quantity of curd derived from
the milk on which it has been fed. In most districts it is
usual to remove by a gentle washing the curd and slimy mat-
ters which are present in the stomach, as they are supposed
to impart a strong taste to the cheese. In Cheshire the curd
is frequently salted separately for immediate use. In Ayrshire
and Limburg, on the other hand, the curd is always left in
the stomach and salted along with it. Some even give the
calf a copious draught of milk shortly before it is killed, in
order that the stomach may contain a larger quantity of the
valuable curd.

Sailing tlie stomach. In the mode of salting the stomach
similar differences prevail. Some merely put a few handfuls
of salt into and around it, then roll it together, and hang it
near the chimney to dry. Others salt it in a pickle for a
few days, and then hang it up to dry (Gloucester,) while
others again (Cheshire) pack several of them in layers with
much salt both within and without, and preserve them in a
cool place till the cheese-making season of the following
year. They are then taken out, drained from the brine,
spread upon a table, sprinkled with salt which is rolled in
with a wooden roller, and then hung up to dry. In some
foreign countries, again, the recent stomach is minced very
fine, mixed with some spoonfuls of salt arid bread-crumb into
a paste, put into a bladder, and then dried. In Lomhardy the
stomach, after being salted and dried, is minced and mixed
up with salt, pepper, and a little whey or water into a paste,
which is preserved for use. In whatever way the stomach
or intestine of the calf is prepared and preserved, the almost
universal opinion seems to be, that it should be kept for 10 or
12 months before it is capable of yielding the best and
strongest rennet. If newer than 12 months, the rennet is
thought in Gloucestershire to make the cheese heave or swell,
and become full of eyes or holes.

MaJdng the rennet. In making the rennet different customs
also prevail. In some districts, as in Cheshire, a bit of the
dried stomach is put into half a pint of lukewarm water with
as much salt as will lie upon a shilling, is allowed to stand
over night, and in the morning the infusion is poured into the
milk. For a cheese of 60 Ibs. weight, a piece of the size of
half-a-crown will often be sufficient, though of some skins
as much as 10 square inches are required to produce the
same effect. It is perhaps more common, however, to take


the entire stomach, and to pour upon them from one to three
quarts of water for each stomach, and to allow them to infuse
for several days. If only one has been infused, and the
rennet is intended for immediate use, the infusion requires
only to be skimmed and strained. But if several be infused,
or, as is the custom in Cheshire, as many as have been pro-
vided for the whole season, about two quarts of water are
taken for each, and, after standing not more than two days,
the infusion is poured off, and is completely saturated with
salt. During the summer it is constantly skimmed, and fresh
salt added from time to time. Or a strong brine may at
once be poured upon the skins, and the infusion, when the
skins are taken out, may be kept for a length of time. Some
even recommend that the liquid rennet should not be used
until it is at least two months old. When thus kept, however,
it is indispensable that the water should be fully saturated
with salt. In Ayrshire, and in some other counties, it is
customary to cut the dried stomach into small pieces, and to
put it, with a handful or two of salt and one or two quarts of
water, into a jar, to allow it to stand for two or three days,
afterwards to pour upon it another pint for a couple of days,
to mix the two decoctions, and, when strained, to bottle the
whole for future use. In this state it may be kept for many

In making rennet, some use pure water only, others prefer
clear whey, others a decoction of leaves, such as those of the
sweetbriar, the dogrose, and the bramble, or of aromatic
herbs and flowers, while others again, put in lemons, cloves,
mace, or brandy. These various practices are adopted for
the purpose of making the rennet keep better, of lessening
its unpleasant smell, of preventing any unpleasant taste it
illicit give to the curd, or finally of directly improving the
flavor of the cheese. The acidity of the lemon will, no
doubt, increase also the coagulating power of any rennet to
which it may be added. The rennet thus prepared is poured
Into the milk previously raised to the temperature of <)()" or
W F., and is intimately mixed with it. The quantity which
it i., necessary to add varies with the quality of the rennet,
from a table-spoonful to half a pint lor 30 or 40 gallons of
milk. The time necessary for the complete fixing of the
curd varies also from 15 minutes to an hour or even an hour
and a half. The chief causes of this variation are tie tem-
perature of the milk, and the quality and quantity of the
rennet employed.


new or entire milk, when the rennet is added, should be raised
to about 95 F. ; that of skimmed milk need not be quite so
high. If the milk be warmer the curd is hard and tough, if
colder, it is soft and difficult to obtain free from the whey.
When the former happens to be the case, a portion of the first
whey that separates may be taken out into another vessel,
allowed to cool, and then poured in again. If it prove to
have been too cold, hot milk or water may be added to it; or
a vessel containing hot water may be put into it before the
curdling commences ; or the first portion of whey that sepa-
rates may be heated and poured again upon the curd. The
quality of the cheese, however, will always be more or less
affected when it happens to be necessary to adopt any of these
remedies. To make the best cheese, the true temperature
should always be attained as nearly as possible, before the
rennet is added.

Mode in which tlie milk is warmed. If, as is the case in
some daries, the milk be warmed in an iron pot upon the naked
fire, great care must be taken that it is not singed or jire-
fanged. A very slight inattention may cause this to be the'
case, and the taste of the cheese is sure to be more or less
affected by it. In Cheshire the milk is put into a large tin
pail, which is plunged into a boiler of hot water, and frequently
stirred till it is raised to the proper temperature. In large
dairy establishments, however, the Scifest method is to have a
pot with a double bottom, consisting of one pot within ano-
ther, after the manner of a glue pot ; the space between the
two being tilled with water. The tire applied beneath thus
acts only upon the water, and can never, by any ordinary
neglect, do injury to the milk. It is desirable in this heating,
not to raise the temperature higher than is necessary, as a
great heat is apt to give an oiliness to the fatty matter of the

The time during ichich the curd stands is also of importance.
It should be broken up as soon as the milk is fully coagulated.
The longer it stands after this the harder and tougher it will

TJie quality of tJie rennet is of much importance not only in
regard to the certainty of the coagulation, but also to the fla-
vor of the cheese. In some parts of Cheshire, as we have
seen, it is usual to take a piece of the dried membrane and
steep it overnight with a little salt for the ensuing morning's
milk. It is thus sure to be fresh and sweet if the dried maw


be in good preservation. But where it is customary to steep
several skins at a time, and to bottle the rennet for after-use,
it is very necessary to saturate the solution completely with
salt, and to season it with spices, in order that it may be pre-
served in a sweet and wholesome state.

The quantity of rennet added ought to be regulated as care-
fully as the temperature of the milk. Too much renders the
curd tough ; too little causes the loss of much time, and may
permit a larger portion of the butter to separate itself from the
curd. It is to be expected also that when rennet is used in
great excess, a portion of it will remain in the curd, and will
naturally affect the kind and rapidity of the changes it after-
wards undergoes. Thus it is said to cause the cheese to
heave or swell out from fermentation. It is probable also that
it will affect the flavor which the cheese acquires by keeping.
Thus it may be that the agreeable or unpleasant taste of the
cheeses of certain districts or daries may be less due to the
quality of the pastures or of the milk itself, than to the quan-
tity of rennet with which it has there been customary to coa-
gulate the milk.

The way in which tJie rennet is made, no less than its state
of preservation and the quantity employed, may also influ-
ence the flavor or other qualities of the cheese. For
instance, in the manufacture of a celebrated French cheese,
that of Epoisse, the rennet is prepared as follows : Four
fresh calf-skins, with the curd they contain, are well washed
in water, chopped into small pieces, and digested in a mix-
ture of 5 quarts of brandy with 15 of water, adding at the
same time *2i Ibs. of salt, half an ounce of black pepper, and
a quarter of an ounce each of cloves and fennel seeds. At
the end of six weeks the liquor is filtered and preserved in
well corked bottles, while the membrane is put into salt-
water to form a new portion of rennet. For making rich
cheeses, the rennet should always be filtered clear. Again,
on Mont Dor, the rennet is made with white wine and vine-
gar. An ounce of common salt is dissolved in a mixture of
half a pint of vinegar with 2 pints of white wine, and iii
ill is solution a prepared goat's stomach or apiece of dried
pig's bladder is steeped for a length of time. A single
spoonful of this rennet is said to be sufficient for 45 or 50
quarts of milk. No doubt the acid of the vinegar and of the
wine aid the coagulating power derived from the membrane.

The way in which the curd is treated. It is usual in our
best cheese districts carefully and slowly to separate the curd


from the whey, not to hasten the separation, lest a larger
portion of the fatty mailer should be squeezed out of the
curd and the cheese should thus be rendered poorer than
usual. But in some places the practice prevails of washing
the curd with hot water after the whey has been partially
separated from it. Thus at Gouda in Holland, after the
'greater part of the whey has been gradually removed, a
quantity of hot water is added, and allowed to remain upon
it for at least a quarter of an hour. The heat makes the
cheese more solid and causes it to keep better. In Italy,
again, the so-called pear-shaped caccio-cavallo cheeses and
the round palloni cheeses of Gravina, in the Neapolitan ter-
ritory, are made from curd, which, after being scalded with
boiling whey, is cut into slices, kneaded in boiling water,
worked with the hand till it is perfectly tenacious and elastic,
and then made into shapes. The water in which the curd is
washed, after standing 24 hours, throws up much oily mat-
ter, which is skimmed off and made into butter.

Tlie separation of the whey is a part of the process upon
which the quality of the cheese in a considerable degree
depends. In Cheshire more time and attention is devoted to
the perfect extraction of the whey than in almost any other
district. Indeed, when it is considered that the whey con-
tains sug^r and lactic acid, which may undergo decomposi-
tion, and a quantity of rennet which may bring on fermenta-
tion, by both of which processes the flavor of the cheeses must
be considerably affected, it will appear of great importance
that the whey should be as completely removed from the
curd as it can possibly be. To aid in effecting this a curd-
mill, for chopping it fine after the whey is strained off, is in
use in many of the large English claries, and a very ingem-
ious, and I believe effectual, pneumatic cheese-press for suck-
ing out the whey was lately invented. But the way in which
the whey is separated is not a matter of indifference, and has
much influence upon the quality of the cheese. Thus in Nor-
folk, according to Marshall, when the curd is fairly set, the
dairy-maid bares her arm, plunges it into the curd, and with
the help of her wooden ladle breaks up minutely and inti-
mately mixes the curd with the whey. This she does for 10
or 15 minutes, after which the curd is allowed to subside, and
the whey is drawn off. By this agitation the whey must
carry off more of the butter and the cheese must be poorer.
In Cheshire and Ayrshire, again, the curd is cut with a knife,
but is gently used and slowly pressed till it is dry enough to


be chopped fine, and thus more of the oily matter is retained.
On the same principle, in making the Stilton cheese, the curd
is not cut or broken at all, but is pressed gently and with care
till the whey gradually drains out. Thus the butter and the
curd remain intermixed, and the rich cheese of Stilton is the
result. Thus while it is of importance that all the whey
should be extracted from the curd, yet the quickest way
may not be the best. More time and care must be bestowed
in order to effect this object, the richer the cheese we wish to
obtain. The quality of the milk or of the pastures may often
be blamed for the deficiencies in the richness or other quali-
ties of cheese, which are in reality due to slight but material
differences in the mode of manufacturing it. The kind of salt
used is considered by many to have some effect upon the taste
of the cheese. Thus the cheese of Gerome, in the Vosges, is
supposed to derive a peculiar taste from the Lorena salt with
which it is cured. In Holland, also, the efficacy of one kind
of salt over another for the curing of cheese is generally

The mode in which the salt is applied. In making the large
Cheshire cheeses the dried curd, for a single cheese of 60
Ibs., is broken down fine and divided into three equal por-
tions. One of these is mingled with double the quantity of
salt added to the others, and this is so put into the cheese- vat
as to form the central part of the cheese. By this precau-
tion the after-salting on the surface is sure to penetrate deep
enough to cure effectually the less salted parts. In the
counties of Gloucester and Somerset the curd is pressed
without salt, and the cheese, when formed, is made to absorb
the whole of the salt afterwards through its surface. This
is found to answer well with the small and thin cheeses
made in these counties, but were it adopted for the large
cheeses of Cheshire and Dunlop, or even for the pine-apple
cheeses of Wiltshire, there can be no doubt that their qua-
lity would frequently be injured. It may not be impossible
to cause salt to penetrate into the very heart of a larg$
cheese, but it cannot be easy in this way to salt the whole
cheese equally, while the care and attention required must
be greatly increased.

Addition of cream or butter to the curd. Another mode of
improving the quality of cheese is by the addition of cream
or butter to the dried and crumbled curd. Much diligence,
however, is required fully to incorporate these, so that the
cheese may be uniform throughout. Still this practice gives


a peculiar character to the cheeses of certain districts. In
Italy they make a cheese after the manner of the English,
into which a considerable quantity of butter is worked ; and
the Rcclicm cheese of Belgium is made by adding half an
ounce of butter and the yolk of an egg to every pound of
pressed curd.

Size of the cliesse. From the same milk it is obvious that
cheeses of different size.-?, if treated in the same way, will, at
the one! of a given number of months possess qualities in a
considerable degree different. Hence, without supposing
any inferiority, either in the milk or in the general mode of
trrainuMit, the size usually adopted for the cheeses of a par-
licular district or dairy, may be the cause of a recognized
inferiority in some quality which it is desirable that they
should possess in a high degree.

The method of curing has very much influence upon the
after-qualities of the cheese. The care with which they are
sailed, the warmth of the place in which they are kept during
i he first two or three weeks, the temperature and closeness
of the cheese-room in which they are afterwards preserved,
the frequency of turning, of cleaning from mould, and rubbing
with butter ; all these circumstances exercise a remarkable
influence upon the after -qualities of the cheese. Indeed, .in
very many instances the high reputation of a particular dairy
district or dairy farm, is derived from some special attention
to one or other or to all of the apparently minor points to
which I have just adverted. In Tuscany, the cheeses, alt^r
being h;mg up for some time at a proper distance from t no-
li re, are put to ripen in an underground, cool and clamp cellar ;
iwid the celebrated French cheeses of Roquefort are supposed
to owe much of the peculiar estimation in which they are held,
to the cool and uniform temperature of the subterranean
caverns in which the inhabitants of the village have long

Online LibraryRichard Lamb AllenA Brief compend of American agriculture → online text (page 31 of 44)