The Cook-A-Long is a virtual kitchen for Medieval and Renaissance Cooking enthusiasts in the SCA. Each month a period recipe will be posted in the original language (when available) and a translation. All cooks are encouraged to try their hand at redacting and preparing the monthly dish and post his/ her results to the blog. If you are interested in becoming a participant in this cook a long, or would like to submit a dish for the month please send an e-mail to valkyr8 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

On the making of cheese

Just a quick review

1. Milk on the boil.

2. Curds draining and whey reducing. I decided to try for gjetost rather than ricotta with the whey.

3. Whey boiled down to the stage where the whey sugars are carmelizing--what you use to make gjetost.

4. And the three fresh cheeses. Kiernan helped me mix it up in the final stages; he enjoyed that, but he wouldn't taste it. Alas, 5 year olds are so picky. :-)

I'm going to cut and paste commentary I've made elsewhere about this project here, because I should have been in bed an hour ago.

1. From the persona diary:

On ye day of St Vincent Confessor, I set to making cheese according to ye fashion of ye receipt sent to me by I know not whom, 7 it made a simple fresh cheese of a mild sweetness et flavor, and though it is good enow, it is my desire to add to it more sweetness or make of it a cake yt might serve vpon a banquet table, thinking the cheese might be improved by more honey or ginger.

2. From a letter to the CAM list:
I noted that your vinegar was not as strong as that which is commercially produced; it took about a cup, cup and a half of it to make the cheese curds start forming, when the expectation was that it would only take 1/3 to 1/2 a cup. Nonetheless, the flavor of the cheese was just fine and I was glad to have the opportunity to experiment with vinegar that was not the carefully controlled science in a bottle we usually get at the grocers.

And lastly, writ new for this journal, the gjetost was a fun experiment; there is no period evidence for gjetost that I know of*, but I grew up eating it and so that's what I wanted. The boiled down whey does in fact taste like the whey food product I remember. What was problematic, however, was that the recipe I found on the web only went as far as boiling down the whey to the right stage. Real gjetost requires further preperation, so what I actually have is a brittle lump of whey candy. Miguel says it tastes like peanut brittle without the peanuts. The uneaten portion of the cheese is now waiting in the freezer for my traveling lunch at 35th Anniversary; I may experiment with using it in a cheesecake recipe. I think that next time I might use the whey for breads that I can freeze. The whey candy is well and fine, but a nice bread could freeze well and work for a couple of traveling lunches.

*If you know of evidence for reduced, caramelized whey food product in period, please share.


Liz said...

I'm going to be teaching a class on knitting period stockings at this event. We could spend the day together!!!!

Merouda said...