[Sca-cooks] Hello, and help with cheese?

Anne-Marie Rousseau dailleurs at liripipe.com
Fri Sep 7 16:16:11 PDT 2007

hi Melanie!
check out the thread that's running now on milk and cream for some great facts about milk in period 
vs now

additionally, here's some stuff that might help:

1. homogenized is a modern process by which milk is treated so that the cream wont rise to the top. 
most milk you buy in the grocery store is homogenized and says so on the lable (exciting useless 
fact for today...goats milk is naturally homogenized, ie the fat globules are small enough that 
they dont rise to the top, so you have to use a modern cream seperator...)

2. "whole milk" is milk that has been standardized to about 4% butterfat. "lowfat" is about 2%, 
skim (around here at least) is 1% and then theres non fat, where all the fats been removed (all 
that fat gets sold seperately to make yummy ice cream, sour cream, etc)

so you have milk that is whole (fat stil there) that can be homogenized, or not
and non fat milk can be homogenized

as an additional FYI, "pasteurized" is the process by which they cook the milk so it is less likely 
to carry pathogens. milk that has not been pasteurized is labelled "raw" and there are special 
rules about how you can sell it.

as to why your cheese didnt work, here's some ideas:

1. where was the recipe from? was it an american book, or a british one? did it specify raw milk vs 
pasteurized? definately homogenized or not MIGHT make a difference (I dont see why it would, but 
you never know with cheese...)

2. another point might be the beer. was this a dark beer? light beer? hops? no hops? what pH was it?

the instructions sound very much like the farmers cheese I've made usuing regular store milk (more 
fat is tastier, but they both work) and lemon juice or vinegar. the sour makes the milk "clabber" 
or clot up as the milk proteins coagulate. I could see beer working IF the pH was such that it was 
acid enough to clabber.

cheese making is science, (which is why its so fun). you need SOMETHING to clabber your milk 
proteins. some people use an acid (lemon juice, vinegar), some people use rennet (the inner lining 
of a stomach, which contains....acid and enzymes), some people use bugs (which produce acid and 
enzymes). obviously in the original recipe, there was SOMETHING that did what these things did, and 
your beer DIDNT have them, so it didnt work.

have fun! what a great experiment :)
--Anne-Marie, a science geek in a cooks apron....

On Fri Sep  7 16:10 , Melanie  sent:

>Greetings to the list,
>In an attempt to flesh out my persona more I have been
>trying recipes which could conceivably have been used
>in early medieval Ireland. So far things have gone
>well, but now I have ventured into new territory:
>I have come with a very perplexing question: why
>didn't my soft cheese work? I did everything the
>recipe said...
>I am trying to make 'Beer Cheese' from the book
>'Prehistoric Cooking' by Jacqui Wood.
>The instructions are:
>1 litre whole milk
>250mL beer
>strainer cloth and string
>Bring the milk to a boil slowly, and turn off the heat
>as soon as the milk is just startingto rise in the
>pan. Stir in the beer. Keep stirring until the curds
>and whey separate (which should happen almost right
>away, apparently). Strain through a cloth and let drip
>dry a bit for an hour.
>However, my milk (homogenized 3.25% from the store)
>didn't do any such thing. It got sort of foamy, but
>that's about it. No curds, no whey. Just milk that
>tasted somewhat unpleasantly like beer. My local
>grocer said that 'whole milk' is just another word for
>homogenized... is this true? What went wrong?
>~Muirenn Peregrina
>Barony of RamsHaven, Ealdormere
>The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the
>difference between lightning and the lightning bug.
>		-- Mark Twain
>Be a better Heartthrob. Get better relationship answers from someone who knows. Yahoo! Answers - 
Check it out. 
>Sca-cooks mailing list
>Sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list