[Sca-cooks] Cream cheese?

Claire Clarke angharad at adam.com.au
Thu Aug 4 04:05:27 PDT 2011

Message: 3

So, amongst our collective wisdom, does anyone know the age/origin of 
the smooth white cheeses like cream cheese and mascarpone?

Liutgard, experimenting...

It depends what precisely you're after. People have been making soft white
cheeses for, I suspect, not much less time than they have been squeezing
white stuff out of cows (or other animals). How much resemblance they have
to any modern cheese is a matter of conjecture. But they were certainly

As for specific cheeses, as someone has noted, mascarpone appears at the end
of the 16th or in the early 17th centuries. What you buy in the supermarket
labelled 'cream cheese' is usually manufactured using a modern process
invented in the 19th century, and often contains vegetable gum to stabilise
it. Ricotta is actually made in a slightly different way to normal soft
cheeses, but I have seen it claimed there is an image of it being made in
the Tacuinum Sanitatis (I haven't seen the image or any associated text so I
can't judge for myself). That might put it somewhere between the 14th and
16th centuries depending on the edition.

Brie and Neufchatel are soft cheeses (albeit ones with short maturation
periods) which supposedly date back to the eighth century or earlier.


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