Cheesemaking. (From the Chester Courant, March 11, 1868. ) Lecture Delivered under the Auspices of the Taporley Agricultural Society by Mr J. Harding, the Celebrated Cheddar Cheese Maker. THE CONSTITUENTS OF MILK.
Milk is composed of milk sugar, whey, caseine, and butter, held in a liquid form, generally in an alkaline state. An acid, introduced either from natural or artificial causes, effects their separation by converting the milk sugar into lactic acid, which in its turn acts upon the other constituents, which enables us to secure the caseine and butter, and amalgamate the two and make it into cheese.
There should be a proper dairy room, but this indispensable item in dairy practice, as a rule, is wanting throughout the length and breadtl of our land, in the absence of which there can be seldom a guarantee for making good cheese. The milk, so delicate in its nature, requires to be deposited in a place entirely free from every impurity ; the floor of the room should be clean, and every precaution taken to render it dry. Cement should be used where necessary to fill up joints and cracks, so as to destroy every lodging place for filth ; every utensil in use should not only be clean but appear with a polish. The milk should be poured into a receiver outside the dairy-house, and conveyed by a pipe, or rather an open shute or conduit, to the vessel prepared for. its reception in the milk-house, that the milkers may not enter the dairy. Under these circumstances milk may be kept sweet in ordinary weather, in a temperature of 63 to 65 degrees, during the night in one vessel (say the cheese tub), to which the morning’s milk may with safety be added, and a fine cheese be the result. I cannot understand why persons prefer the labor of making cheese twice a day, when a cheese of a superior description can be produced by making once as I have described. In preparing the milk for the reception of the rennet, in the absence of Cockey’s or any heating apparatus, care should be taken to prevent the overheating any portion of it, less its condition become affected before the rennet is added. It is not safe to heat it beyond 100 degrees. During the summer months it frequently happens that no heating is required, the evening milk in the cheese tub having stood at 65 to 70 degrees ; and that of the morning coming in to mix with it at a temperature of 90 degrees will at once fix the bulk at 78 to 80 degrees, the temperature required. The rennet which should be perfectly sweet and its strength practically known, should at once be introduced and stirred into the milk so as to take immediate and universal effect, and at once arrest the particles of cream, and prevent their escape to the surface. If the atmosphere be close and damp and the temperature high, the evening milk may have acquired sufficient acidity to slightly affect litmus paper, to which there is not always much objection; but if it has remained perfectly sweet, a little sour whey of a clean acid taste may be added to assist the rennet, the quantity being regulated by the experience of the dairywoman.
BREAKING THE CHEESE. The coagulation should occupy 50 to 60 minutes, it may then be cut across at right angles with a long knife or other cutting instrument, when the whey should immediately begin to appear. With the milk at this stage of the proceedings in the condition I have described, the character of the future cheese is entirely subject to the skill of the operator. To follow the Cheddar method, after remaining a short time in this state it should be broken or cracked up carefully, to prevent waste, when a little whey is taken off and warmed. When the breaking is completed, this heated whey is poured over it, which tends to harden the curd and clear the whey, when the curd will be found to be in small and distinct particles ; it is then allowed to subside. A portion of the whey is then drawn off and heated for scalding, which may occupy 30 to 40 minutes. The curd is then stirred up, and the heated whey poured amongst it until it has reached a temperature of 100 degrees. The stirring is continued until the particles of curd again separate and sink, when the whey remains clear. With Gockey’s heating apparatus, the breaking and the scalding is performed by one operation, the temperature being gradually increased during the stirring till it reaches 100 degrees. There is probably less necessity for the curd being so finely broken when it is not to be scalded, as there would be some difficulty in again collecting it without the application of heat of a high temperature. After being subjected to the heated whey for 25 or 30 minutes, the whole of the whey is drawn off, and the curd becomes a compact mass, which is heaped up on the convex bottom of the tub; the
temperature being carefully retained, the whey readily escapes. When this is effected, which may occupy from one to two hours, according to circumstantes, it is placed in the press, to remain 20 or 30 minutes, when it is removed and broken in the mill, and salted with the best refined (which is prepared for the purpose by Titley and Bath) at the rate of 11b of salt to 561bs of curd, when it is again placed in the press. The next morning it is turned in the vat, and a dry cloth is given to it, which is not subsequently wetted. At the end of the third day it is removed to the cheese room and bandaged, when it is turned every day for a few days ; as it hardens it is turned twice a week, and ultimately once, till it is sent to market at two to four months old.
In Gloucestershire they make their cheese twice a day—it is broken, or rather mashed, the whey is dipped off, the curd hardens, and pressure is applied in the tub. Here only the hands are employed and the whey escapes between the fingers. The work of making is finished by 10 o’clock in the morning, and tho cheese is put in the press, weighing six or eight to the cwt. I have seen 40 or 50 of the same turned in the press every morning, when they get a coating of salt and a clean cloth. This cheese, being beautifully sweet in flavour, is not in its general’character fine. BAD CHEESE. It is a matter of surprise that so many cheesemakers understand so little of the business from which they- obtain their income. Go into the majority of cheese rooms, especially where thick cheese is made, and this fact is apparent. You there see cheese of-warious shapes and colors, representing good, bad, and indifferent, the production of one and the same maker, who is not only ignorant of the irregular character of the cheese, but also of a remedy to improve it. Ask a dairy woman why her cheeses so differ in shape and appearance ; what answer will you get 1 “ Cheese never was made alike on this farm,” or, “the cheese is never good when the cows are in such a field. ” When the factor comes to buy, and casts his practised eye over the cheeses to classify them, that he may know how much to offer, his offer is rejected, on the ground of being unfair and partial. He has given a “ neighbor a much higher price, for his cheese that is not any better than mine,” or “he has a name.” These - are only specimens of facts that are constantly occurring in the experience of every respectable cheese dealer. While such ignorance prevails there will be no improvement. On the other hand the responsibility of making cheese is too great to rest alone upon the woman. (Hear, hear.) The man should assist her by studying the nature of the milk and the successive changes which it undergoes before the cheese is made, so as to be enabled in his cheese room to point to any inferior cheese, and understand the cause. If I were to discover a failure in the crop in a part of one of his arable fields, he would at once give me a satisfactory explanation, and he who would be so conversant with cause and effect in the field, in his cheese room would be a complete ignoramus. I greatly pity a poor woman who having all the cheese-making responsibility upon her labors might and main, day after day, and year after year, to obtain success, and instead of her husband’s aid, gets his frowns, until “ hope deferred has made the heart sick. ” To such persons I may render some assistance by showing how bad cheese is made. Bad cheese is so etimes made by being sour, for which there are two causes ; one from the atmosphere over which we have no control. The moment milk is drawn from the cow it commences its progress towards decomposition, and if placed in a temperature of over 65 degrees, in a close atmosphere, there is no certainty of its keeping sweet during 12 hours, and should it require to be heated at all in the morning it will increase the acidity, the presence of which in the milk does not alway develop itself until too late to apply a remedy. Another kind of sour cheese, and which is the worst, is caused by a want of cleanliness either in the utensils or floor of the dairy, or it may be from the effluvia arising from adjacent gutters or heaps of manure, &c., or meat hung in the neighborhood of the milk ; any of these causes will not only sour the milk, but will also impart to it a bad flavor. I have occasionally detected the cause of this kind of sour cheese by the resemblance of its flavor to some adjacent stench. The former of these kinds of sour cheese, made by the Cheddar method, will sometimes become blue-mouldy, and when ripe and mellow is exceedingly good. A. sour cheese may be clearly assigned, during the process of making, to which class it belongs. The curd from naturally sour milk will more tenaciously retain the whey, and will spread itself over the bottom of the cheese tub, whilst that which is made from tainted milk will part
from the whey more readily, leaving the curd in a dry and sandy condition. The intelligent dairy woman will readily understand this, and everj’thing around her will receive an extra scour, which will prove to be a preventive of a similar disaster the next morning. The class of inferior cheese to which I should like to call your attention is such as usually fills our fairs and markets—cheese not made from sour milk (some of which occasionally may be found in our finest dairies) but from milk sweet and good, and which but for the mismanagement of the maker would have been of a very different character. These cheeses are of so many different grades that they can not well bo classified. I therefore include all full milk cheeses which do not reach the standard of fine, and deem them to be inferior. The essential elements of good cheese are fine and mellow texture, sweet aromatic flavour, and rich buttery quality; the absence of either of these essentials detracts in a greater or lesser degree from its perfection. * BAD TEXTURE. Of such is “soft and soapy,"porous, and hard, dry cheese. Cheese of bad texture may generally be detected by an experienced eye, as being unshapely, bulged out at the side, upon which the bandages have left deep indentations, frequently sunk on the top, and still soft to the touch, throwing out a thick damp coating, and is larger in bulk than it ought to be, and more or less out of shape. There are two causes, one of which, or both, have contributed to the production of such a cheese, viz., weak rennet, Or an insufficient quantity, or subsequent neglect. The power of the rennet must be according to the temperature of the milk. Thus milk at 80 will require more coagulatory power when given time than milk at 90, and if rennet too weak be employed the cheese will be cold, tender, and soft, and will baffle the most skilful hand to make it into a firstclass cheese. The cream will rise to the surface and much of it pass off in the whey, injuring the quality as well as the texture, and will sooner or later acquire a rank flavour and tallowy complexion. To account for the faults of such a cheese, the anatto frequently becomes a scapegoat. When the whey is not properly extracted, the best anatto (which I am bound to acknowledge is Nichol’s) will lose its brightness when it comes in contact with whey in a state of ferment. Bad texture is caused also by neglect in the subsequent process, in not giving the required attention to the curd in its various changes, allowing it to lose its temperature and checking the free escape of the whey. Both regularity and attention are indispensable to the production of good cheese. The cause of a soft soapy cheese is undoubtedly due to the presence of win y, either from an imperfect separation from the other constituents of the milk at the commencement, or from subsequent neglect or ignorance. Porous cheese from the Cheddar and Cheshire methods of making are quite distinct in their character. The former, if made porous, will never acquire that closeness which characterises its superiority of texture, but the latter, though porous for the first two or three months, will ultimately become solid and good. As a rule, a porous Cheddar cheese will be inferior in flavour, fermentation in a greater or lesser degree being the immediate cause—a cause which must be again placed to the credit of the presence of whey. Another cause of porous cheese is using too much running, or over heating the milk. The coagulum becomes so hard that it is almost impossible to break it as fine as it should bo ; besides a loss of cream, a bad texture is the result. The inexperienced dairymaid will stir too fast, without judgment, till the curd becomes brittle. A cheese with a hard dry texture will seldom improve ; the factor often mistakes it for a skimmed milk cheese.
FLAVOR. Now if we carefully analyse the smell that generally prevails in ill-flavored cheese, I think you will agree with me, that it is very nearly related to that found in strong butter. If this hypothesis be correct then we have a clue to the cause of much of our bad-flavored cheese. It pointsalso, at least, to a suggestive remedy, viz., that as soon as the coagulation is properly formed and broken, there should be no delay in drawing off the whey. There is another kind of flavor which we frequently meet with in cheese, which is much worse than that I have described, and requires no uncommon olfactory powers to detect its origin. It is so distinctly foreign to milk—it has evidently been imported by some one of the causes I bave named under the head of sour cheese. It is a striking fact, that this class of ill-flavoured cheese is rarely found where there is good dairy accommodation, although it is not an uncommon occurrence that we find a cheese somewhat out of flavour in our best and finest dairies, but not from tainted milk. I have never ,
learnt that a difference exists in common j pasturage of different localities io materi- | ally affect tlie flavour of cheese. Soma ' persons sp. il the flavour of their cheese in their vain attempt to improve nature, as for instance, making rennet with sweet briar, the flavour of which they think is imparted to the cheese., but that is not the fact. Nature needs Urtla improve- j ment, only assistance. Neither the miik nor the rennet needs to be artificially flavored. The quality is of course due to the presence of cream in the first instance —that is we cannot make cheese of good quality without the cream; but not a little depends on the skill of the operator in carefully manipulating the first stages of the process, so as to secure and amalgamate the caseine and butter. But something depends on the quality of the land. It is true that some land is richer in butter than others, while some is richer in cheese. I could give instances of this, but perhaps you can supply them from your own neighborhood, where i or even 11b of butter per cow may be made per week, and still the cheese be as rich as on some land where all the cream is retained. In general, the clay and oolite, where there is a depth of soil, are the most productive of cheese, whilst the limestone drifts and lias pi’oduce the largest quantities of butter. But to make a cheese of good quality does not entirely depend upon the presence of large quantities of butter. In the “Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society” of 1861 (part 1), Dr. Yolecker gives the analyses of several cheeses which showed varying quantities of butter. Of three of those specimens, that which showed the smallest amount of butter was the richest cheese, and worth a penny per pound more than either of the others. This result was due to the superior manufacture. A cheese carelessly broken, cither too fast or too slow, will tend to produce a cheese of inferior quality ; in the one the butter will be lost In the whey, in the other it will be bound up and hidden in the curd (I am speaking now of scalded curd) both producing similar effects. There is just one other kind of cheese which 1 should like to name, if I had a name for it. I have said little of the dairy-room or the storing of the cheese, partly for want of time. Perhaps a brief description of my own dairyroom and furniture, &c., will suffice for the present. My dairy is by no means a good one—inadequate to the requirements of the milk of 70 cows, aid not at all favorable to the making of fire cheese, but in 'lie absence ><i better I make the best of if., ft is Ibit long, 12ft wide, and 7ft high. It would' astonish some cheesemakers to see how few utensils, and what a small amount of labour is employed in the production of good Cheddar cheese. The tub is placed nearly in one corner of the room, to which is connected Coekey’s heating apparatus. The milk is poured into it from without. The evening milk remains in the tub during night, to which that of the morning is added. During the summer nights a stream of cold water is admitted, and after filling the cavity beneath the tub, continues to run off, cooling the milk in its passage through. The whey escapes from the tub by means of pipes to the piggery. The press, which is a treble one, presses all the cheese. There are no leads to wash, no dipping of milk or whey, and no slops on the floor. The cheese tub is of copper, and all other utensils of tin. One of my daughters, or their mother, makes the cheeses, and a man handles them after they are made.
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