cheese-lnks - 10/1/04
A set of web links to information on medieval and modern cheese by Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon.
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
From: mtnlion at ptd.net
Subject: Links: The Power of Cheese
Date: October 1, 2004 12:17:08 PM CDT
To: StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
Greetings my faithful readers.
I have a terrible confession to make. I'm a Cheesehead. Not a "cheesehead"
of the sports-fanatic type (for those who follow American Sports), but of
the I LOVE CHEESE variety. Alas, I am the unfortunate product of a childhood
spent under the influence of the cheese-of-the-month club, where I was
addicted early to the cherry-like flavor of baby camembert and the lushness
of smoked havarti. It gets worse, I'm afraid. I actually enjoy making cheese
now, and have become quite proficient. I'm reasonably sure that this fact
alone seals me irrevocably in my doom of absolute nerd-dom.
The plain truth is, however, that cheese-making of at least an elemental
(i.e.: fresh curds, and green cheese which is not the color green, BTW)
variety would have been in the purview of every good medieval cook and
housewife, despite the fact that we see almost NONE of it in our modern
medieval feasts. Making curds, and using them for other products, would have
been child's play to most ladies and cooks in our period of study,
particularly in the high dairying areas. So what is it about cheese that has
so many excellent modern cooks running scared? Although it's not a secret,
I'd like to share a fact with you: Making cheese is easy. Anyone can do it,
without any fancy equipment. With three ingredients already in your home
(milk, salt, and an acidic product like lemon juice, wine, etc.), and a pot
to warm them in, anyone can have success at making cheese. And the cheese
you make at home will be miles better than store-bought cottage cheese,
ricotta or farmer's cheese. Your personae, as you portray them, would
undoubtedly have had a daily contact with green cheese, curds, enriched
cheese products such as tarts, and would have had frequent contact with hard
or aged cheese, slip-coat cheese, etc. So read on, and find out how to
enrich your own SCAdian life with the addition of a simple, ancient food:
A recent family issue prevented me from teaching a cheese-making class here
in Aethelmearc at the event Weekend of Wisdom, and so I hope those that
wished to attend my class will find this Links List useful. In addition, I
understand the new Links List e-list will be operational soon, and it will
be possible to subscribe to that Links List via http://www.scatoday.net/">www.scatoday.net, so stay
tuned! Special Thanks to everyone at SCAtoday for working your considerable
magic on my behalf.
Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon, OL, OP
Canton of Riverouge
Barony of Endless Hills
Kingdom of Aethelmearc
Gode Cookery--Medieval Cheeses
(Site Excerpt) This list includes cheeses that were known during the Middle
Ages & Renaissance, along with some 17th century varieties and a few modern
cheeses that are acceptable period substitutes. Beaufort, Brie, Camembert ,
Cheddar - first recorded use is in 1500, Comté .... SEE ALSO A Brief History
(Site Excerpt from ONE message of Many) Good sources for information on
ancient-vs.-modern cheese are C. Anne Wilson's "Food and Drink in Britain",
and, Heaven help me for saying so, the Larousse Gastronomique, which, as I
have frequently said, is pretty much reliable only where French foods are
concerned. G. Tacitus Adamantius
SEE ALSO the food Index at
baked-cheese, cheese (recipes), fresh-cheeses, cheese-goo, cheesemaking,
Cheese-Making-art, and cheesecake, for much of the currently SCA-held
medieval knowledge about cheese.
Cheese Connoisseurs--Buy Cheese Online
Cheesemaking (and eating) by Cathy Harding (SCAdianly known as Maeve)
(Note to see Campi's painting The Ricotta Eaters of 1585. Site Excerpt:)
Digby has a recipe for making cheese (as part of the recipe To Make
Cheesecakes)Take 12 quarts of milk warm from the cow, turn it with a good
spoonful of rennet. Break it well, and put it in a large strainer, in which
rowl it up and down, that all the whey may run out into a little tub; when
all that will is run out, wring out more. Then break the curds well; then
wring it again, and more whey will come. Thus break and wring till no more
come. Then work the curds exceedingly with your hand in a tray, till they
become a short uniform paste. (Digby p. 214/174 To Make Cheesecakes)
New England Cheesemaking Supply (Note: I've dealt with this company and am
A good source of Rennet, in both animal and vegetable form. Good directions,
as well as basic supplies.
The Grape and Granery--Cheesemaking supplies
Cheese.com Cheese Making and Supplies
Virtual store includes 65 cheese-making items to choose from
The Basics of Making Cheese
(Site Excerpt) The process of cheesemaking is an ancient craft that dates
back thousands of years. By today's standards of industrial technology, the
process of cheesemaking is still a complicated one which combines both "Art"
and "Science" together. The subject of cheese has been extensively
investigated by many research groups in many countries, and in-depth
information has been reported, for example, by Kosikowski (1982), Scott
(1986), Robinson (1993) and Fox (1993). Nevertheless, the primary stages of
cheesemaking are shown in Figure 2.1, and in brief the constituents of milk
can be described as follows....
Guide to Cheeses from Around the World.
This site goes into detail about French Cheeses and the
pasteurized/nonpasterized debate. It also gives tips for deciding the
difference between the two and recognizing what you're buying.
Cheesemaking in Scotland, a History
(Site Excerpt) Cheesemaking as we know it in Scotland today is basically a
European development of skills acquired from the 'Fertile Crescent', the
area of land between the Euphrates and Tigris in Iraq.Archaeologists have
discovered that as far back as 6000 BC cheese had been made from cow's and
goat's milk and stored in tall jars. Egyptian tomb murals of 2000 BC show
butter and cheese being made, and other murals which show milk being stored
in skin bags suspended from poles demonstrate a knowledge of dairy husbandry
at that time.
Food Reference.com's Blue or Bleu Cheese History
(Site Excerpt) Roquefort cheese is a particular blue cheese that is made in
the south of France. Some other blue cheeses are Stilton (England),
Gorgonzola (Italy), Danablu (Denmark), and Americas' entry, Maytag Blue
Cheese. These are just a few, there are many more blue cheeses. SEE ALSO
History of Goat Cheese
(Site Excerpt) Milk from all species has been used for cheesemaking.
Because more attention has been given to increasing the productivity of the
bovine species, a large proportion of commercial cheese is now made from
cow milk; the milk from the buffalo, zebu, sheep and goat is also used
Making Cheese: The History (centers on Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, etc.)
(Site Excerpt) In Friesland in the north of The Netherlands, pots and
vessels were discovered which indicate that as early as two centuries B.C.,
cheese was being made there. An extensive trade has existed since the Middle
Ages. Around the year 1100 Dutch bargemen paid their tolls in cheese at
Koblenz in Germany. In bills of the city of Rotterdam dating back to 1426,
mention is made of the profession of `caescoper' (cheesemonger). In 1266 the
City of Haarlem obtained the right to hold a dairy market. In 1303, Leyden
was next, Oudewater in 1326 and Alkmaar in 1365.
SEE ALSO Netherlands's Making Cheese website:
Mozzarella History and Method
(Site Excerpt) Legend has it that mozzarella was first made when cheese
curds accidentally fell into a pail of hot water in a cheese factory near
Naples...and soon thereafter the first pizza was made! Actually, new cheeses
are often formulated when mistakes happen, so there well may be truth in the
Gorgonzola and her Cheese
(Site Excerpt) The cheese's origins are arguably Piemontese. Even today the
zone of production includes Novara, Vercelli and Cuneo in that province. All
are entitled to label their produce with the official mark of quality.
Legend states that in the 12th century a herdsman was travelling to summer
pastures in Valsassina when he left a version of Gorgonzola in the town.
sympatico.ca History of Parmesan Cheese
(Site Excerpt) Unchanged for the last seven centuries, Parmigiano Reggiano
was praised as early as 1348 in the writings of Boccaccio. In the Decameron,
he speaks of Cockaigne where there was a mountain made completely of
Parmesan, on which lived people who made nothing but macaroni and ravioli,
seeming to prove that Parmesan has long reigned on the Italian table as the
accompaniment of choice for pasta.
US Dept of Agriculture: How to Buy Cheese (Acrobat Reader Required)
Feta, The Flavoring Cheese (From the Jerusalem Post Online)
(Site Excerpt) First they discovered how to make cheese by separating the
whey from the curds; but the fresh curds still didn't keep long. So they put
the cheese in a brine of water and salt. Thus, feta was born.
Making Cheese at Home
(Site Excerpt) The following recipe represents the ultimate in simplicity in
cheese making. It will produce a delicious cottage cheese that resembles
ricotta and is excellent fresh or used in cooking Italian dishes such as
lasagna. We recommend that beginners start with a cottage cheese to get the
feel for the basics and for the instant gratification of being able to enjoy
the product immediately.
Cheesemaking Suggestions and recipes
(Site Excerpt) There are two main ways to "coagulate" milk: You can add
acidic substance to the milk as the acids cause the milk proteins to clump
together. Natural bacteria cultures are the main way to do this for most
cheeses, especially the harder cheeses such as Cheddar
Here's How to Make Cheese
(Site Excerpt) The soft cheeses that most people are familiar with include
cottage cheese, "goat" cheese, cream cheese, etc. Roughly speaking, any
cheese that can be spread with a knife will have been produced by a "soft"
process. There are 3 basic steps in making a soft cheese.
FANKHAUSER'S CHEESE PAGE © David B. Fankhauser, Ph.D.
25 articles, ( 2-3 are NOT about cheese, but he's also into ginger ale and
root beer :). Excellent, Concise, and illustrated!
Artisan Cheesemakers List (a yahoo group)
(Site Excerpt) How do you know if ARTISAN CHEESEMAKERS-L is for you? Does
the idea of taking the mundanity of fresh milk and seeing it touched by the
divine via the cheesemaking process thrill you to your very core? Do your
eyes light up when the fateful words "Crottin de Chavignol" enter a
Republic of Kenya: Basic Facts for Farmers: Making Cheese (online
The cheesemaking process--Stilton
The Online Guide to the Art of Cheesemaking