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Dairy-Prodcts-art - 4/27/09


"1450 Flanders Dairy Challenge" by Lady Hrosvitha von Celle.


NOTE: See also these files: dairy-prod-msg, cheesemaking-msg, cheese-msg, fresh-cheeses-msg, Cheese-Making-art, clotted-cream-msg, butter-msg, blue-cheese-msg.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



You can find more work by this author on her journal at: http://spikywheel.livejournal.com/


1450 Flanders Dairy Challenge

by Lady Hrosvitha von Celle


Challenge: A season in the dairy challenge                                        St. Luke's Artisan Fair 10/25/08

Challenger: Baroness Eibhlin nic'Raghailligh, OL                                               Kingdom of Atlantia


Entrant:  Lady Hrosvitha von Celle, mka Kerri Martinsen, kerri.martinsen at gmail.com


CHALLENGE:  "You are a modern lord or lady in 1450's Flanders and found that one of the family cows has a calf that did not survive birth. You have a neighbor who is in need of colostrum - but not milk. You decide to not dry off your family cow and instead turn the extra gallons of milk into non-fluid dairy products for sale and for use to feed your family through the winter. Estimating that this cow will give you two gallons of milk each day your challenge is to use every drop of that milk and it's by-products to help feed your family. One of your goals is to make a cheese that will keep through the winter, a fresh cheese for daily consumption, butter, and whey products."



The first question raised by this challenge isn't what to make. It is: "What is the quality of the milk?".  As with most food products, dairy products are dependant on the quality of the base ingredients, so before deciding what I should make I needed to find out what I was working with.


Flanders in a 1477 [1] map (noted below in yellow) was located in what is now France, but next door to Holland.  It had North Sea access to England and thereby was the recipient of a fantastic trade market.  As I began researching the diary industry in the area, Holland factored in greatly to the picture, so I focused my attention on the Holland side of Flanders.  


The milk of the Friesian (Holstein) is relatively lean and best for drinking when compared to the Holstein CowJersey Cow (which has a higher milkfat and protein count, leading to better quality butters & cheeses). [2]  The Dutch Friesian, originally bred in Northern Germany & North Holland/Friesland regions of the Netherlands (Flanders) [3], is now a prime milk-producing breed with milk yields highest in the cows of North Holland with a yield per lactation of 5,222 kg with a fat yield of 4.09%. (5,222kg=11.5lbs = 5.34 Gallons) (fat yield 1/4 gallon (1 qt) of total yield) [4]


From this information I learned that roughly 1 quart of every 5 gallons of milk could be skimmed off as cream.  To test this theory out, I purchased 2 gallons of raw milk (un-homogenized, un-pasteurized) to test it out.  As the cows from the diary were Jersey, my results were more than estimated for the Holstein.  I achieved almost 1 quart of cream from only 2 gallons of milk, nearly 13% milkfat.  Since the diary cows of Flanders would have most likely been of the Friesian variety, I will be using the 4% milkfat yield for my purposes.


The whole milk from the grocery that I used for processing is approx. 3.5% milkfat.  To be able to achieve cream products, I purchased heavy cream (40% milkfat).  "Pulling" at the same ratio, I estimate that from 14 gallons of raw milk, I would have 3 qts of cream and 13 1/4 gallons of milk to process.




For the challenge, I have processed one week's work of milk (2 gallons a day for 7 days) in an effort to see how a weekly "schedule" would run for being able to handle the milk.  I am assuming that any fresh milk needs of the family are met thru the 2nd cow now available from my neighbor.


I purchased the following:  13 gallons of whole milk (4% milkfat) and 1 gallon of heavy cream (40% milkfat)


My products are as follows:

  1. Semi-hard      rennet cheese for long storage & sale (Gouda)
  2. Pressed Whey cheese (Zeigerkase)
  3. Butter (salted)
  4. Buttermilk (from butter)
  5. Buttermilk cheese (sweetened with honey &      ginger)
  6. A soft cheese (acid) for daily consumption      (flavored with thyme & salt)
  7. A quick "farmer's cheese" for baking      & cooking
  8. Whey cheese (ricotta) from rennet cheeses
  9. Whey for drinking and cooking


1.  Gouda:  Around 1100 Dutch bargemen paid their tolls in cheese at Koblenz in Germany and cities like Gouda, Edam and Alkmaar obtained the right to hold a dairy market.  As with most cheeses, their names are derived from the location they were from (Chedder, Derby & Leicester being English varieties).  Gouda is named for the Dutch city of Gouda in the province of Zuid-Holland. (South Holland).  It has a shelf life of 1 to 18 months, although typically eaten around 4-6 months, and can be made from cow's or goat's milk.  It is different from Edam in that it is not soaked as long in brine as Edam and it is pressed under heavier weight. [5]


2. Whey Cheese - Zeigerkase:            A German whey cheese that is brined in wine & herbs to flavor the cheese. This cheese should be aged for 5-6 weeks before eating.  Effectively, it is ricotta that has been pressed and heavily salted to assist in preservation. Described by Bifruns when discussing buttermilk cheese: drained in a basket, lightly salted and smoked. He calls this Ziger, Zirconum, Serotium, Puina or Mascapra, and there is a Zeiger cheese made today in the Alps which is similar. [6]


3. Butter: Textual references to butter abound in cookbooks and medecial directives.  Gent discusses, somewhat out of period (1617), but a wonder reference we see Holland referred to for their love of butter and cheese [7] (emphasis added)


"Touching this peoples diet, Butter is the first and last dish at the Table, whereof they make all sawces, especially for fish, and thereupon by strangers they are merrily called Butter-mouths. They are much delighted with white meats, and the Bawers drinke milke in stead of beere, and as well Men as Weomen, passing in boates from City to City for trade, carry with them cheese, and boxes of Butter for their foode, whereupon in like sort strangers call them Butter boxes, and nothing is more ordinary then for Citizens of good accompt and wealth to sit at their dores, (euen dwelling in the market place) holding in their hands, and eating a great lumpe of bread and Butter with a lunchen of cheese. "


4.  Buttermilk: by product of making buttermilk.  Useful for drinking or baking.


5. Buttermilk cheese: Markham then has you eat them right away.  Bifruns instead has them drained in a basket, lightly salted and smoked. He calls this Ziger, Zirconum, Serotium, Puina or Mascapra, and there is a Zeiger cheese made today in the Alps which is similar. [8]


6.  Bag cheese:  Vinegar curdled cheese:

This is a quick cheese that is good for when you don't want (or have) to spend a lot of time.  An acid is needed to curdle the milk.  It is not cultured for flavor, therefore provides a good base for herb cheese spreads, etc.  It, however, will only last a day or so without refrigeration, so should only be made in quantities that can be quickly consumed.


Melca [Fresh Cheese (Curds)]   "The best method for making what are known as curds is to pour sharp vinegar into new earthenware pots and then to put these pots on a slow fire.  When the vinegar begins to boil, take it off the flame so it does not bubble over and pour milk into the pots.  Place the pots in a store or some other place where they will not be disturbed.  The next day you will have curds that are much better than those made with a great deal of fuss." [9]


I decided to add Thyme to this as it would make a nice spread.  Documentation for adding herbs was seen in Andrew Boorde's book, Compendyous Regyment (1542):


There is iiii. sortes of chese ... grene chese, softe chese, harde chese or spermyse. Grene chese is not called grene by the reason of colour, but for the newnes of it, for the whay is not half pressed out of it, and in operacion it is colde and moyste... Spermyse is a chese the which is made with curdes and with the iuce of herbes.


7.  Pot cheese/ Farmer's Cheese:

Pleyn Delit refers to a soft curd cheese that needs to be drained from its whey in Recipe #117:

#117:    Sambocade - Take & make a Curst in a trap & take cruddes and wryng out the wheyse, and drawe them turgh a strynor, and put in the strynor crusts...

Curye on Inglysch has the same recipe (#179)

#179: Sambocade.  Take and make a crust in a trap & take cruddes and wryng out the wheyze and drawe hem trugh a straynour and put hit in the crust....


Most redactions have this being cottage or ricotta cheese.  This kind of cheese is good for cooking on a daily basis.  It can be pressed for a firmer cheese or left with more whey (cottage).  


Curye on Inglysch #23 (V) 

Chinche.  Tak fayr mylk.  Put it thoru a streynour into a panne.  Warme it;  cast therto a lytyl rennyng, & than take it off the feer and stere it togydir & couere it.  than tak a resche the lengthe of half a plater, & aboute this resche broyde other resches crosswyse as thiche as thou may.  Thanne lay thes broyden resches on a plater.  Cast aboue the crudde, & pore out the qwhey;  Than trune it upsodoun on another plater.  Cast aboue sugyer & gynger & seue forth.


Chinche.  Take good milk.  Put it through a strainer into a pan.  Warm it.  Add a little rennet and take it off the fire and stir it together and cover it.  Then take a rush the length of half a platter and around this rush bind other rushes crosswise as thick as you may.  Then lay these bound rushes on a platter.  Cast about the curd and pour out the whey; then turn it upside down on another platter.  Add sugar & ginger & so forth. (155)  [10]


8.  Fresh Ricotta/Whey cheese:

            From the Latin, recoctus, meaning to be re-cooked.  Must be produced with fresh whey (less than 2 hours old).  Cheese produced from cooking the whey left over from cheesemaking to 200 degrees  F and vinegar is added to precipitate the curd.  Some have the curd being lifted off the top as it rises, others allow the curd to settle to the bottom of the whey and, after the whey cools, strain the cheese out.  Yield is higher for whey from lower temperature cheese (see tasting examples). (Rubino, 423).  It is important to note that ricotta must be made with FRESH whey.  After 2 hours, the proteins no longer separate out from the whey.


From Plantina: On Right Pleasure, Book II (c. 1474 AD)


18. On Ricotta Cheese

            When the cheese is taken from the bronze kettle, we heat the whey for some time on a slow fire until the fat which is the residue of the cheese rises to the top. Farmers call this ricotta because it is gathered from the milk in a second heating.  It is white and not unpleasant to taste.  Less healthful than fresh or medium-aged cheese, it is considered better than aged or over-salty.  It can be called either cocta [cooked] or ricotta [recooked].  Cooks mix it into many vegetable ragouts.


9.  Whey

For Drinking:  Once as much protein as can be is extracted from the milk, you are left with Whey.  This can be chilled and add mint for a drink – there is reference to Whey Houses much like an "ale house" would be refered to.  [11]  Fermented whey was used in Iceland for perserving meats as well as being a "fully matured drink" at 2 years old. [12]

For Cooking: Whey extends the shelf life of bread by 2 days . [13]  One must be careful to not bake yeast breads and make cheese at the same time.  Cheese doesn't like yeast.  

For plant food:  Acid loving plants thrive on Whey instead of water [14] :  I am now watering my house plants with it instead of dumping it.  The diluted whey from Gouda is especially good for this as the acid content remains minimal.


Were I to process 2 gallons a day for several weeks without the assistance of a refrigerator, my initial plan for the milk of week was as follows:



















Yield   Estimate


Gouda   cheese


2   gal hold


(-   cream)


2   gal


(-   cream)


2   gal hold


(-   cream)


2   gal


(-   cream)


2   gal hold




1   gal


(-   cream)




3   – 3.5 lb wheels


Ricotta/   zeiger




Process   whey




Process   whey




Process   whey- add together & press




10oz   each, total 2lbs?


Fresh   "Bag" cheese (Acid)












1   gallon








Farmer's   Cheese (rennet)














2   gallon whole (start – Monday finish)




2   cups cream


2   cups cream


2   cups cream


2   cups cream


2   cups cream


2   cups cream




6   cups


(3   lbs)


Buttermilk   cheese












Make   from Bag Cheese whey




whey   use




Drinking,   plants




Drinking,   plants




Save   for cooking/baking


Buttermilk   cheese, plants






make   gouda




make   gouda




make   gouda


make   butter
















make   fresh cheese





As the Gouda takes a minimum of 1 month before it is ready to eat, initially the only foodstuffs available would be from the Butter, Bag cheese, Farmer's cheese & ricotta products.

The Recipes/ Process


1. Product: Gouda:  Semi-hard rennet cheese for long storage & sale


Each of 3 batches consisted of the following:


Batch #1 was made on September 30 (1 month old) – cultured buttermilk was used instead of mesophilic starter.  That in combination with having made bread 2 days before has me concerned with what the final product will be.

Batch #2 had an odd curd break in the rennet stage – the curd seemed to "curdle" at the top instead of setting.  I believe this is due to me adding the calcium chloride and rennet at the same time instead of one after another.  This may have reduced the yield.

Batch #3 was "just right".



3 1/2 gallons fresh milk

1/2 tsp. mesophilic type III culture powder or 1 cup of cultured buttermilk

1/2 tablet rennet, crushed and dissolved in 1/2 cup water.

1 tsp. calcium chloride



2.     Product: Zeigerkase: Salted whey cheese




Whey from Gouda making

1/4 c white vinegar per "batch"

1 quart white wine




By Product: Whey for cooking (Whey biskets)


3. Product: Butter: (salted)




was added to the butter to add flavor and increase shelf life.

Time: Each quart required 30 minute hand churning.  Cream was 1 day off "sell by date" and was room temp to start.   My "churn" could only handle 1 quart at a time.  One could assume a larger churn would take less cumulative time.  The higher the fat content of the cream, the more butter produced. [15]  For this experiment, I churned one quart by hand and the remaining 2 quarts in my Kitchenaid mixer.


4.       By Product: Buttermilk (for drinking & cheesemaking)

Poor off Milk from solid butter, straining thru a butter cloth to remove as many fat globules as possible.  As butter is the fat removed from the milk, in effect the remaining milk is "skim" milk.  While it may have a sour taste due to aging, it is safe to drink.


5.     Product:  Buttermilk cheese (honey & ginger added)




The curds rise to the top of the whey almost immediately the buttermilk is thrown in.  



6.     Soft Bag cheese




1 gallon whole milk (4%)

1/4 cup white vinegar

Herbs (thyme)





7.     Farmer's cheese / Pot cheese


2 gallons whole milk (4%)

1 qt heavy cream (40%)
1 cup meso starter (or cultured buttermilk)
1/4 tablet Rennet (or two drops of liquid rennet)


  1. Warm milk to room      temperature (68-70 degrees F)  
  2. Dissolve 1/4 of a rennet tablet in 1/4 cup      luke warm water.
  3. Stir in culture, mix thoroughly.
  4. Stir in rennet, mix thoroughly, cover, let sit      for 8 hours.
  5. Cut into 1/2" cubes.  Let set for 15      min
  6. Warm curds to 80 degrees over 15 min.
  7. Warm curds to 90 degrees over 20 min.
  8. Warm curds to 110 degrees over 20 minutes.
  9. Hold at 110 degrees for 20 min or until curds no      longer have a custard-like interior.
  10. Let curds settle.  Pour off whey (hold for      ricotta).
  11. Ladel the curds into a sterile cloth in a      strainer (or colander), 
  12. Let the whey drain for several minutes.
  13. Salt to taste (about 1-2 teaspoons), store      covered in the refrigerator for a week or two.   Curd may used as such      (Pot cheese) or pressed under weight to remove more of the whey (Farmer's      cheese)


**Production notes:  At about 10 minutes into 110 degrees, the curds fell apart.  I was left with a thick cream slurry that had no curd cohesion.  I left what I could to drain during the day.  After 8 hours of draining, the curd has massed into a cream cheese texture pot cheese and was quite tasty.  Possible issues may have been caused by antibiotics in the store milk – that can make the curd loose cohesion and fall apart.


8.     Fresh Ricotta/ Whey cheese



2 gallons whey from Farmer's cheese making

1/4 c vinegar



***For this project, the whey was not processed for the ricotta until after 8 hours of draining since the farmer's cheese curd was slow to drain.  Due to the time delay, ricotta would not form, even with the high quantity of milk proteins in the whey (visible by how white the whey was).


9.     Whey:  A simple bread recipe:


4 C whey

2 TB honey

4 TB oil

1 PKG yeast ( 1 1/2 TB )

approx. 9 C flour ( white/wheat to liking)

Warm the whey, honey, and fat to almost body temp.. Stir in yeast. Add salt. Stir in enough flour to make a smooth dough then let rest a few minutes. Put in a greased, covered bowl and let rise until double. Punch down, rest, fill pans half full, rise again, bake one hour at 350-375 degrees F. [17] Makes 2 loaves.





[1] http://www.friesian.com/flanders.htm

[2] http://www.dairy-info.org/cm/index.php?option=com_content&;task=view&id=53&Itemid=1

[3] http://www.raw-milk-facts.com/dairy_cow_breeds.html

[4] http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/cattle/dutchfriesian/index.htm

[5]  www.deejayssmokepit.net

[6]  Gervase Markham's 'English Housewife' (about 1615 or earlier) & Jacob Bifruns(Bifrons) letter

from Switzerland (about 1560) (Source:  Stefan's Florilegium)

[7]  From An itinerary vvritten by Fynes Moryson Gent. 1617.  CHAP. IIII. Of the vnited Prouinces in Netherland, and of Denmarke and Poland, touching the said subiects of the precedent third Chapter.  Page 97

[8]  Gervase Markham's 'English Housewife' (about 1615 or earlier) & Jacob Bifruns(Bifrons) letter

from Switzerland (about 1560) (Source:  Stefan's Florilegium)

[9]   (Grant, 80)

[10] Hieatt, Constance B. & Sharon Butler.  Curye on Inglysch.  Book V:Goud Kokery. Pg 155.  1985. Early English Text Society.  Oxford Univeristy Press, New York.  #23 from a 15th c manuscript, Bodl. MS C. C. C. F 291.

[11]  Burnett, John.  Liquid Pleasures.  Published by Routledge, 1999.  Pg 30.

[12] http://www.gestgjafinn.is/english/nr/349

[13]  Concentration of acidic whey and its functionality in French type bread.  A K YOUSIF 1 , , M A ABOU-EISHEH 1 , M A HUMAID 1 M J AL-TABBA'A 1


[14] http://fiascofarm.com/dairy/ricotta.html

[15] http://waltonfeed.com/old/butter.html


[16]  (Carroll, 89)

[17] http://community.stretcher.com/forums/p/2082/20875.aspx



Carroll, Ricki. Cheesemaking Made Easy. Garden Way Publishing. Pownal, VT. 1983.


Carroll, Ricki.  Home Cheese Making.  (Revision of Cheesemaking Made Easy) Storey Publishing, LLC.  2002.


Ciletti, Barbara.  Making Great Cheese at Home.  Lark Books, NY NY 1999.


Columella.  De Re Rustica. See Matterer.  50 AD.


Grant, Mark.  Roman Cookery:  Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens.  Serif, London, 2000.  ISBN 1-897959-39-7.


Gunasekaran, Sandaram  & M. Mehmet Ak. Cheese Rheology and Texture.  Publisher: CRC , 2002.  ISBN 978-1587160219


Herbst, Sharon Tyler.  The Food Lover's Companion, 2nd edition, Barron's Educational Services, Inc.  As excerpted on www.virtualitalia.com/recipes/cheesegloss.shtml


Marquis, Vivienne & Patricia Haskell.  The Cheese Book.  Simon & Schuster, NY NY  1965.


Matterer, James L. A Boke of Gode Cookery. "A Brief History of Cheese". Gode Cookery Online



Napoletano, Cuoco.  The Neapolitan Recipe collection.  Translated by Terence Scully.  University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MI.  2000.


Platina: On Right Pleasure and Good Health. (1421-1481). Translation by Mary Ella Milham.  Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies.  Tempe, AZ. 1998.  Pg 159-161.


Romoli, Domenico. La Singolare dottrina di M. Domenico Romoli. In Venetia : presso Gio. Battista Bonfadino, 1593. Libro Settimo,  239.  Seventh book, page 239.  Pages 476-478 of 771 on the webbed images.  Translation by Lady Helewyse de Birkestad CW, in 2003.  Used with permission. http://www.geocities.com/helewyse/cheesenature.html


Rubino, R., Sardo, P., Surrusca, A. (eds.), 'Italian Cheese: 293 Traditional Types' , Slow Food Editore, Milan, Italy. 2005. ISBN 88-8499-111-0


Scappi, B. (1570). Opera dell'arte del cucinare. Bologna, Arnaldo Forni.  Translation by Lady Helewyse de Birkestad CW, in 2003.  Used with permission. http://www.geocities.com/helewyse/cheesenature.html


Scott, R. Cheese-making in Practice, 2nd Ed., Elsevier, London, 1986.


Widcome, Richard. The Cheese Book. Seacaucus: Chartwell Books, 1978.


Wilson, C. Anne.  Food and Drink in Britain, [Academy Chicago:Chicago] 1991 (p. 172-173).






http://www.cas.muohio.edu/mbi-ws/foodmicro/cheese.htm ;     Microbes and the cheese they make.






Copyright 2008 by Kerri Martinsen. <kerri.martinsen at gmail.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited.  Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org