5.2 Cheese and Butter

Thursday, 13. August 2009

The contributions made by the collaborators to the Encyclopedie covered many issues. For instance Diderot wrote a series of articles on topics such as the following:  

    

Cheese

Milk is made up of three different substances: cream, the liquid part and the solid, curled part or cheese. These three substances can be separated in all kinds of milk, so that there are at least as many sorts of cheeses as there are lactating animals.

Our ordinary cheeses come from cow’s milk. Good cheeses are made at the beginning of spring or the beginning of the autumn. The best and freshest skimmed or non-skimmed milk is used to make cheese.

Cheese is made with curdled milk, which is salted and kept in a calf’s stomach, hung up somewhere warm, near the fireplace. Take this milk; mix it in a spoon with a little of the milk you want to turn into cheese; add half a dram of this diluted curdled milk to two pints of milk and the milk will turn into cheese.

It is then separated with a creaming spoon. Take some containers pierced with holes on the sides and at the bottom, and put the cheese in them to strain and mould it. Once it is  moulded and drained, the cheese can be eaten, salted or otherwise prepared.

 

Butter 

Butter, a smooth, rich, creamy substance, prepared or separated from milk by churning. The Romans used butter for medicinal purposes only and never as food. The inhabitants of the East Indies owe their knowledge of butter  to the Dutch; in Spain it was only used as a medicine to cure ulcers; there is nothing better to whiten teeth than to rub them with butter.

A part of Suffolk, in England, called High Suffolk, has rich land that is entirely given over to dairy farming. It is reputed to supply the best butter and possibly the worst cheese in England.  

This is how butter is made in the French countryside. When the milk has cooled down and rested, the cream is removed with a large, very clean spoon and transferred in a pot. The pot must be spotless. The cream is beaten with the dasher until it thickens.

There are two sorts of butter : salted and melted. To salt butter, take two pounds at a time; roll it out with a rolling-pin on a clean table; sprinkle it with fine-grained salt; fold it over three or four times; knead it well; roll it out again; add more salt and knead it. Then taste it, and if it seems salty enough, take a stoneware pot, put a layer of salt on the bottom, add the butter and seal the pot with another layer of salt.

To melt butter : place it in a cauldron, on a bright, low flame; boil it until it is cooked; skim it and pour it into stoneware pots. It will keep for two years, even without being salted. 

 

My question to you: Is it true? this reputation of Suffolk, I mean…

 

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