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The Cheese Gourmet



Adapted mainly from "The Complete Book of Cheese", by Robert Carlton Brown, 1955, and from other vintage sources. Articles on stilton, roquefort, swiss, cheddar, Camembert, feta, limburger, gorgonzola, fondues, and more.



Updated: 2016-09-07T21:33:52.653-07:00

 



The Process of Making Swiss Cheese

2013-12-26T09:14:16.230-08:00

The milk is delivered twice a day without cooling. It usually reaches the factory at a temperature of 92° to 96° F. It is strained into the kettle, and starter and rennet added at the same temperature as received. Enough rennet should be used to give a coagulation ready for cutting in twenty to thirty minutes.The firmness of the curd is tested by inserting the index finger in an oblique position, then raising it slightly and with the thumb of the same hand starting the curd to break or crack. When the curd is coagulated ready for cutting, it will give a clear break over the finger. It is important to keep the temperature uniform while coagulation is in process, and this is best accomplished by the use of a little pan arrangement which fits into the top of the kettle. When this is full of water at 100° F., the temperature of the air above the milk will be about 90° F. When the curd is ready for cutting, a scoop may be used and the top layer carefully turned under to equalize the temperature more closely.Cutting the curd.—In some cheese factories, knives resembling Cheddar cheese knives are employed to cut the curd. In other factories, a "Swiss harp" is used to break the curd. The curd is usually cut or broken into pieces about the size of kernels of corn. The practice of "breaking" curd instead of cutting it with sharp curd-knives produces excessive loss at times.Experimental study has shown that the loss of fat may be kept as low as 0.3 per cent if modern curd-knives are substituted for the breaking tool formerly used. Study of Swiss cheeses of all grades supports the opinion that the removal of a small part of fat from usual grades of factory milk produces a better quality of product than the use of rich whole milk. This may be accomplished through the escape of fat in the whey on account of breaking the curd and stirring it vigorously, or by skimming a part of the milk which is then curdled, cut and stirred under such conditions as to minimize the loss of fat.Cooking the curd.—After cutting, the curd is stirred in the whey for about twenty minutes before the steam is turned on and is then heated to 128° to 135° F. While this heating is in progress, constant stirring must be given to avoid matting. This excessive stirring breaks the curd up into pieces about the size of wheat kernels, and accounts for the large fat loss, which is one of the main sources of loss in making Swiss cheese. This stirring is accomplished by a rotary motion, and the use of a brake, which is a piece of wood closely fitting the side of the kettle. This creates an eddy in the current at that point and gives a more uniform distribution of temperature.The process of cooking takes from thirty to forty minutes, and at the end of that time the degree of toughness may be determined by making a roll of curd in the hand, and noticing the break when it is given a quick flip. A short sharp break indicates the desired toughness.Draining and hooping.—In this process, the cheese-makers' skill is displayed. With the hoop prepared, and the curd at the correct stage of toughness, the operator takes a press cloth, wets it in whey, slips it over a flexible iron ring which can be made to fit the shape of the kettle, gives the contents of the kettle a few swift revolutions, then suddenly reverses the motion, with the result that the contents form into a cone, and the ring and bandage are dexterously slipped under this cone, and drawn up to the surface of the whey with a rope or chain and pulley.This part of the process is the most important, as a cheese must have a smooth firm rind, else it will quickly crack. With too large a batch of milk, the curd can be cut into two pieces and hooped separately. With the mass of curd at the top of the whey, the piece of perforated iron plate just the size of the hoop is slipped under the mass, and attached to the pulley by four chains. Then the top of the mass is carefully leveled off, because while still in the whey, it cannot mat badly and so tend to develop a rind crack.Now the mass is raised clear of the whey, an[...]



Swiss Cheese's Clean, Unacidic, Unfat Milk

2013-12-12T11:13:35.957-08:00

Swiss cheese requires clean sweet milk. Dirt, high acid and infections with undesirable bacteria involve difficulties of manufacture and frequent losses of cheese.

One common practice rejects milk if it shows acidity above 0.15 per cent. To secure milk in this condition, factories are small and located so close to the producing farms as to secure 1000 to 3000 pounds of milk delivered warm from the cow twice a day. The cheese is made twice daily from this fresh milk. If, however, milk is properly cared for, it is possible to mix night's and morning's milk without bad results. In fact, in working experimentally with high grade milk and taking precautions against loss of fat, it has been necessary to skim (separate) part of the milk, thus reducing the ratio of fat to casein.

Analysis of good Swiss cheeses shows that the desired texture is more uniformly obtained with milk in which the fat is less than the normal ratio. This assumes that the manufacturing loss is kept down so that the fat removed offsets the extra loss from curd-breaking.



What is a Swiss Cheese Kettle?

2013-12-12T09:28:28.205-08:00

(image)
Swiss Cheese Kettle
Swiss cheese cannot be made in a vat like other types. In place of the vat is used a kettle, generally of copper, and it may or may not be jacketed for steam or for hot water.

These kettles vary in capacity from 600 to 3000 pounds of milk.

The cheese-maker takes the best care possible of his kettle, for an unclean utensil is one of the easiest sources of contamination of the milk. When the kettle is not jacketed, and it is only in recent years that this has been done, it is suspended in a fireplace by means of a crane arrangement.

This fireplace uses wood, and is built of brick or stone, so that the kettle rests on the edge and is provided with a door which swings upon another crane, and can be closed while the fire is going. When the kettle is swung on a crane, it is possible to swing it under the weigh-stand for filling. This requires a lid to swing down over the fire, and keep the room free from smoke. The chimney generally has a rather high stack to secure a good draft. This kettle is fastened to the crane by a large iron band passing around the neck, to which a bail or handle is attached. The kettle may be raised or lowered by means of a simple screw on this beam. The crane consists of a heavy beam working in sockets in the floor and a beam or cross brace, which has another and shorter beam braced to it, to take the weight of the kettle.

The weigh-stand, and its efficient location, is a matter of extreme importance. It is elevated a little above the remainder of the floor to allow gravity to do the work. The next most important equipment is the press and draining table. The table is made of wood or stone, and has a slight slope to allow the whey to drain off. The press is generally a jack screw which, braced against a beam, will exert an enormous pressure on the table below.

Swiss cheeses are made in two styles, the "round" or drum and the "block" or rectangular forms, each of which has its advantages. For the round style, which is most commonly made, the forms for hooping are of metal or of elm wood, and consist of strips of a given width, generally six inches, but of an undetermined length. These strips are then made into a circle and held by a cord, which is easily lengthened or shortened, thus varying the diameter of the hoop.

Besides these hoops, cheese boards or followers are needed. These are heavy circular boards, of a size to fit that of the cheese generally made, and are banded with iron around the edge and cross-braced on the bottom for rigidity. The small tools of the factory consist of knives to cut the curd, and of a "Swiss harp" or other similar tool to stir the curd. Many clean bandages are also needed, and a kettle brake.



Pennsylvania pot cheese

2013-06-13T10:09:45.299-07:00

A form of "pot" cheese is made in certain counties of Pennsylvania, principally for local use. Production of this cheese on a factory basis is now being attempted (Editor's note: in 1918!). The steps in manufacture are about as follows:

(1) The home-made type of cottage cheese curd is prepared, put into a crock or pot and covered carefully;

(2) kept in a warm place (in kitchen usually);

(3) stirred from time to time, until it has ripened to a semi-liquid condition. This occurs very rapidly under the attack of Oidium lactis accompanied by bacteria. Within a period of three to seven days, according to the temperature and to the water-content of the mass, the granules of curd become covered with a wrinkled gelatinous almost viscid mass of mold mycelium beneath which is a layer of semi-liquid curd with a strong characteristic odor and taste. This ripened or semi-liquid part reaches about half the total mass in four or five days at favorable temperatures.

(4) The vessel is then placed in a larger vessel of water and heated over the fire with constant stirring until the whole mass is melted and smooth.

(5) Butter or cream, and salt or other flavor is finally added, stirred in and the liquid cheese poured into molds or jelly glasses to cool. If properly made and cooked, the resultant cheese has a soft buttery consistency with an agreeable flavor, which frequently resembles that of Camembert cheese.



The Digestibility of Cheese

2013-02-11T09:34:31.832-08:00

From "The Book of Cheese", 1918.

Although it has been a staple food with many races for uncounted years, there is a widespread belief that cheese is suitable for use chiefly in small quantities as an accessory to the diet, and that in large quantities it is likely to produce physiological disturbances. The question of digestibility was made the subject of a special investigation by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Calorimeter experiments were made to test the digestibility of several varieties of cheese and some of these varieties at various stages of ripening. All forms of cheese were found to be digested as completely as most of the usual forms of food. Approximately 90 per cent of the nitrogenous portion (casein) was retained in the body. Unripe cheese in these experiments was apparently digested as completely as the ripened forms.

These experiments make clear the possibility of making cheese a more prominent article in the regular dietary than is usual in America. They especially point to the desirability of the use of the skim and partially skim cheeses, which as cheap sources of protein when properly combined with other foods, may be made to replace meats as a less costly source of proteins.

Cheese is then to be classed with meat and eggs, not with condiments. An ounce of Cheddar cheese roughly is equivalent to one egg, to a glass of milk, or to two ounces of meat. It is properly to be combined with bread, potatoes and other starchy foods, lacking in the fat in which the cheese is rich.

These experiments included Roquefort, fresh-made and ripe Cheddar, Swiss, Camembert and Cottage cheese.



French Camembert

2013-02-10T17:39:09.155-08:00

The soft cheeses ripened by molds are French in origin. Their manufacture has spread into Germany, Italy and America. Of the series, the most widely known is Camembert, which will be described as typical for the group. Brie, Coulommiers, Robbiola and Ripened Neufchâtel belong to this series.

The origin of Camembert is given by French authorities as 1791 in the Commune of Camembert near Vimoutiers in Orne, France. From a very restricted production at first, Camembert-making has spread through the region from Caen in the west to Havre, Rouen and a considerable area east of Paris.

In America Camembert began to be made in one factory about 1900. Several other factories followed by 1906. The difficulties and losses encountered led to the abandonment of these undertakings, until at the outbreak of the European war in 1914 but one factory was making Camembert and that only on an experimental scale. Meanwhile the United States Department of Agriculture and the Storrs Experiment Station had taken up and solved, on an experimental basis, most of the problems arising in these commercial failures. A shortage of product at the outbreak of the war brought about the re-establishment of a series of factories. The product as put on the market indicates that a permanent establishment of Camembert-making is entirely practicable.

Camembert cheese is made from cow's milk either whole or very slightly skimmed; the removal of about 0.5 per cent of fat has been found to be desirable if not actually necessary.

These cheeses are made in sizes 2½ to 4½ inches in diameter and 1¼ to 1½ inches in thickness. They are ripened by the agency of molds and bacteria which form a felt-like rind over their whole surface, ⅟16 to ⅛ of an inch in thickness. This rind may be dry and gray or grayish-green, consisting of a felt-like surface of mold on the outside, below which a harder portion consists of mold embedded in partially dried cheese, or the moldy part may be more or less completely overgrown or displaced by yellowish or reddish slime composed mainly of bacteria. Good cheeses may have either appearance.

Inside the rind, the cheese is softened progressively from the rind toward the center from all sides, so that a fully ripe cheese has no hard sour curd in the center, but is completely softened. No mold should be visible inside the rind, but the moldy rind itself is necessary because the ripening is caused by the enzymes secreted by the organisms of the rind into the cheese. As the curd ripens, the changed portion assumes a slightly deeper color than the unripe curd as a result of chemical changes.

Well-ripened cheeses vary from nearly a fluid texture to the consistency of moderately soft butter. The ripening of Camembert is finished in wooden boxes which protect the cheeses from breaking after they become soft and during the market period.



The Water Content of Different Cheeses

2013-02-10T05:50:44.511-08:00

From "The Book of Cheese", 1918.In this table the series of typical dairy products are first arranged according to water-content of the final product. Approximate limits of percentages of milk-fat are also given, because milk-fat frequently affects texture to a degree almost equal to water. Column 4 gives the period within which the more quickly perishable cheeses are usable, and the length of the ripening for the more solid forms. The correlation between water-content, texture and the time of keeping is clearly shown for most varieties. Variety PerCentWaterPerCentFatPeriodRequiredRipeningAgent   Soft:  Cottage70tracea few daysBacteria  Skim Neufchâtel70tracea few daysBacteria  Neufchâtel50-6012-28a few daysBacteria  Camembert5022-303-5 weeksMolds  Cream cheese40-5035-45a few daysPrimarily  bacteria          Semi-hard:  Limburger40-4524-303-6 monthsBacteria  Roquefort38-4031-343-6 monthsMold  Brick37-4231-353-6 monthsBacteria          Hard:  Cheddar30-3932-366-12 monthsBacteria  Swiss31-3428-319-18 monthsBacteriaand yeasts  Parmesan30-332-3 yearsBacteriaThe soft cheeses are quickly perishable products. Bacteria and molds find favorable conditions for growth in products with 45 to 75 per cent of water. If such growth is permitted, enzymic activities follow quickly with resultant changes in appearance, texture, odor and taste. Refrigeration is necessary to transport such cheeses to the consumer, if properly ripened. Trade in these forms may continue throughout the year in cool climates and in places where adequate refrigeration is available. Practically, however, outside the large cities this trade in America is at present limited to the cold months; inside the large cities much reduced quantities of these cheeses continue to be handled through the year.In the stricter sense, the soft group of cheeses falls naturally into two series: (1) the varieties eaten fresh; and (2) the ripened soft cheeses. Those eaten fresh have a making process which commonly involves the development of a lactic acid flavor by souring, but no ripening is contemplated after the product leaves the maker's hands. In the ripened series, after the making process is completed, the essential flavors and textures are developed by the activity of micro-organisms during ripening periods varying in length but fairly well-defined for each variety.In contrast to the soft cheeses, the hard kinds are low in water-content, ripen more slowly and may be kept through much longer periods. They retain their form through a wider range of climatic conditions. They develop flavor slowly and correspondingly deteriorate much more slowly. Such cheeses are in marketable condition over longer periods. In their manufacture the cooking of the curd takes a prominent place.[...]



How American Cheddar Cheese is Made

2013-02-09T09:33:51.903-08:00

From "Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 2"
 
Since American Cheddar cheese is the kind that is commonly used in this country, the way in which it is made will be well to know. The milk used for this kind of cheese is first inspected as to cleanliness and the extent of fermentation it has undergone, and when these points are ascertained, it is ripened; that is, allowed to sour to a certain degree of acidity.

At this stage, coloring matter is added, after which the milk is prepared for setting by bringing it to a certain temperature. With the temperature at the right point, rennet is added to coagulate the milk, or form the curd. The milk is then allowed to remain undisturbed until the action of the rennet is at a certain point, when the curd is cut into little cube-shaped pieces by drawing two sets of knives through it and thus is separated from the whey.

As soon as the curd is cut, the temperature of the mass is raised to help make the curd firm and to cause the little cubes to retain their firmness, and during the entire heating process the whole mass is stirred constantly to assist in the separation from the whey. When the curd is sufficiently firm, the whey is removed and the particles of curd are allowed to adhere and form into a solid mass. If necessary, the curd is cut again into small pieces to get rid of the excess whey; but if the curd is too dry, the pieces must be piled up until they are four or five deep.

During this process, which is known as the cheddaring of the cheese, the curd is treated until it is of the proper texture to be milled, that is, put into a mill and ground into small pieces. The object of milling the curd is to cut it into pieces small enough to permit of uniform salting and the further escape of whey. When the curd has been brought to this point, it is salted and then pressed into molds.

Finally, it is wrapped and cured, or ripened.



Pineapple Cheese

2012-01-12T14:34:01.282-08:00

Pineapple cheese is named after its shape rather than its flavor, although there are rumors that some pineapple flavor is noticeable near the oiled rind. This flavor does not penetrate through to the Cheddar center. Many makers of processed cheese have tampered with the original, so today you can't be sure of anything except getting a smaller size every year or two, at a higher price. Originally six pounds, the Pineapple has shrunk to nearly six ounces. The proper bright-orange, oiled and shellacked surface is more apt to be a sickly lemon.

Always an ornamental cheese, it once stood in state on the side-board under a silver bell also made to represent a pineapple. You cut a top slice off the cheese, just as you would off the fruit, and there was a rose-colored, fine-tasting, mellow-hard cheese to spoon out with a special silver cheese spoon or scoop. Between meals the silver top was put on the silver holder and the oiled and shellacked rind kept the cheese moist. Even when the Pineapple was eaten down to the rind the shell served as a dunking bowl to fill with some salubrious cold Fondue or salad.

Made in the same manner as Cheddar with the curd cooked harder, Pineapple's distinction lies in being hung in a net that makes diamond-shaped corrugations on the surface, simulating the sections of the fruit. It is a pioneer American product with almost a century and a half of service since Lewis M. Norton conceived it in 1808 in Litchfield County, Connecticut. There in 1845 he built a factory and made a deserved fortune out of his decorative ingenuity with what before had been plain, unromantic yellow or store cheese.

Perhaps his inspiration came from cone-shaped Cheshire in old England, also called Pineapple cheese, combined with the hanging up of Provolones in Italy that leaves the looser pattern of the four sustaining strings.



Sicilian Pizza Recipe

2012-11-08T06:16:50.017-08:00

Pizza—The Tomato Pie of Sicily

DOUGH

1 package yeast, dissolved in warm water
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Make dough of this. Knead 12 to 20 minutes. Pat into a ball, cover it tight and let stand 3 hours in warm place until twice the size.

TOMATO PASTE

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, sliced thin
1 can Italian tomato paste
8 to 10 anchovy filets, cut small
½ teaspoon oregano
Salt
Crushed chili pepper
2½ cups water

In the oil fry onion tender but not too brown, stir in tomato paste and keep stirring 3 or 4 minutes. Season, pour water over and simmer slowly 25 to 30 minutes. Add anchovies when sauce is done.

CHEESE

1/2 cup grated Italian, Parmesan, Romano or Pecorino, depending on your pocketbook

Procure a low, wide and handsome tin pizza pan, or reasonable substitute, and grease well before spreading the well-raised dough ½ to ¾ inch thick. Poke your finger tips haphazardly into the dough to make marks that will catch the sauce when you pour it on generously. Shake on Parmesan or Parmesan-type cheese and bake in hot oven ½ hour, then 1/4 hour more at lower heat until the pizza is golden-brown. Cut in wedges like any other pie and serve.

The proper pans come all tin and a yard wide, down to regular apple-pie size, but twelve-inch pans are the most popular.



Cheese Souffle

2012-01-20T06:12:13.365-08:00

3 Tb. butter
4 Tb. flour
1-1/4 c. milk
3/4 c. grated cheese
Dash of paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs

Melt the butter, add the flour, mix well, and then gradually add the milk, which should be scalded. To this sauce add the cheese, paprika, and salt. When thoroughly mixed, remove from the fire and add the beaten yolks of eggs, beating rapidly. Cool and fold in the stiffly beaten whites of the eggs. Pour into a buttered baking dish or in ramekins and bake 20 minutes in a slow oven. Serve at once.

As a dish that will take the place of meat in a light meal is often desired, cheese soufflé, which is comparatively high in food value, finds much favor. This dish contains milk, eggs, and cheese, as is shown in the accompanying recipe, and so may actually be considered as a protein dish and used accordingly. Soufflé is served in the dish in which it is baked, but if it is quite firm and is to be eaten at once, it may be removed from the ramekin to a plate.

(Sufficient to Serve Six)

From "The Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Volume 2"



Potatoes au Gratin

2012-11-08T06:17:25.745-08:00

2 cups diced cooked potatoes
2 tablespoons grated onion
½ cup grated American Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup milk
1 egg
Salt
Pepper
More grated cheese for covering

In a buttered baking dish put a layer of diced potatoes, sprinkle with onion and bits of butter. Next, scatter on a thin layer of cheese and alternate with potatoes, onions and butter. Stir milk, egg, salt and pepper together and pour it on the mixture. Top everything with plenty of grated cheese to make it authentically American au gratin.

Bake until firm in moderate oven, about ½ hour.



Old-Fashioned Southern-Style Cheese Cakes

2009-07-02T13:55:12.331-07:00

Beat until very light the yolks of twelve eggs with a pound of sugar, add to them a tablespoonful cornstarch, then three-quarters of a pound of butter, washed and creamed. Add also the strained juice of two lemons, a teaspoonful lemon essence and a teaspoonful vanilla. Set over boiling water and stir until all ingredients blend—only thus can you dissolve granulated sugar, which is best to use, lacking the old-fashioned live open-kettle brown. Keep over the hot water, stirring well together as you fill the tart shells. They must be lined with real puff paste, rolled very thin, and nicely fitted. Set in broad shallow pans, after filling with the batter and bake in a quick, but not scorching oven. A blanched almond, or bit of citron, or half a pecan or walnut meat, may be put in each shell before filling.

I prefer though to add such frills by help of the frosting. To make it, beat six egg-whites with a pinch of salt until they stick to the dish, add to them a little at a time, three cups granulated sugar boiled with a cup and a half of water, till it spins a thread. Keep the syrup boiling while adding it. When it is all in, set the pan of frosting over boiling water, add six drops lemon juice and beat until stiff enough to hold shape. It must not touch the water, but have plenty of steam rising underneath. Frost the tarts rather thickly, and stick either a shred of citron, a quarter of Maraschino cherry, or half a nut in the middle. If you like cocoanut flavor, strew freshly grated cocoanut over while the frosting is soft—it ought to harden inside half an hour. Tiny pink or green comfits stuck in the middle, or set in threes triangularly, are very decorative. Indeed, there is no limit but taste and invention to the manners of making beautiful these tarts.

From "Dishes and Beverages of the Old South, by Martha McCulloch Williams, 1913



Cheese Gourmet: Vienna Torte

2009-07-02T14:00:14.010-07:00

Mix 1 cup of cottage cheese with 1 tablespoonful of cream, 1 tablespoonful of flour, 1 tablespoonful of butter, 3 tablespoonfuls of sugar, the yolks of 3 eggs, and a pinch of salt and cinnamon. Mix all together with the whites beaten stiff; then line muffin-rings with a rich pastry-dough; fill with the cheese and bake in a moderate oven until brown.



Cream Cheese

2009-06-20T19:56:23.943-07:00

England, France and America go for it heavily. English cream begins with Devonshire, the world-famous, thick fresh cream that is sold cool in earthenware pots and makes fresh berries—especially the small wild strawberries of rural England—taste out of this world. It is also drained on straw mats and formed into fresh hardened cheeses in small molds. Among regional specialties are the following, named from their place of origin or commercial brands:

Cambridge
Cottslowe
Cornwall
Farm Vale
Guilford
Homer's
"Italian"
Lincoln
New Forest
St. Ivel (distinguished for being made with acidophilus bacteria)
Scotch Caledonian
Slipcote (famous in the eighteenth century)
Victoria
York



Barberey, or Fromage de Troyes

2009-05-17T06:38:49.118-07:00

Champagne, France

Soft, creamy and smooth, resembling Camembert, five to six inches in diameter and 1¼ inches thick. Named from its home town, Barberey, near Troyes, whose name it also bears. Fresh, warm milk is coagulated by rennet in four hours. Uncut curd then goes into a wooden mold with a perforated bottom, to drain three hours, before being finished off in an earthenware mold. The cheeses are salted, dried and ripened three weeks in a cave. The season is from November to May and when made in summer they are often sold fresh.



Ancien Impérial Cheese

2009-12-09T20:12:40.523-08:00

Normandy, France

Soft; fresh cream; white, mellow and creamy like Neufchâtel and made in the same way. Tiny bricks packaged in tin foil, two inches square, one-half inch thick, weighing three ounces. Eaten both fresh and when ripe. It is also called Carré and has separate names for the new and the old: (a) Petit Carré when newly made; (b) Carré Affiné, when it has reached a ripe old age, which doesn't take long—about the same time as Neufchâtel.



Basic Souffle

2012-01-20T06:12:33.395-08:00

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 tablespoons flour
1¼ cups hot milk, scalded
1 teaspoon salt
A dash of cayenne
½ cup grated Cheddar cheese, sharp
2 egg yolks, beaten lemon-yellow
2 egg whites, beaten stiff

Melt butter, stir in flour and milk gradually until thick and smooth. Season and add the cheese, continuing the cooking and slow stirring until velvety. Remove from heat and let cool somewhat; then stir in the egg yolks with a light hand and an upward motion. Fold in the stiff whites and when evenly mixed pour into a big, round baking dish. (Some butter it and some don't.) To make sure the top will be even when baked, run a spoon or knife around the surface, about 1 inch from the edge of the dish, before baking slowly in a moderate oven until puffed high and beautifully browned. Serve instantly for fear the Soufflé may fall. The baking takes up to an hour and the egg whites shouldn't be beaten so stiff they are hard to fold in and contain no air to expand and puff up the dish.

To perk up the seasonings, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, nutmeg and even garlic are often used to taste, especially in England.

While Cheddar is the preferred cheese, Parmesan runs it a close second. Then comes Swiss. You may use any two or all three of these together. Sometimes Roquefort is added.



Hand Cheese

2009-02-03T07:39:28.916-08:00

Hand cheese has this niche in our Cheese Hall of Fame not because we consider it great, but because it is usually included among the eighteen varieties on which the hundreds of others are based. It is named from having been molded into its final shape by hand. Universally popular with Germanic races, it is too strong for the others. To our mind, Hand cheese never had anything that Allgäuer or Limburger hasn't improved upon.

It is the only cheese that is commonly melted into steins of beer and drunk instead of eaten. It is usually studded with caraway seeds, the most natural spice for curds.



Tillamook

2009-12-09T20:13:02.857-08:00

It takes two pocket-sized, but thick, yellow volumes to record the story of Oregon's great Tillamook. The Cheddar Box, by Dean Collins, comes neatly boxed and bound in golden cloth stamped with a purple title, like the rind of a real Tillamook. Volume I is entitled Cheese Cheddar, and Volume II is a two-pound Cheddar cheese labeled Tillamook and molded to fit inside its book jacket. We borrowed Volume I from a noted littérateur, and never could get him to come across with Volume II. We guessed its fate, however, from a note on the flyleaf of the only tome available: "This is an excellent cheese, full cream and medium sharp, and a unique set of books in which Volume II suggests Bacon's: 'Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.'"



Tomato Cheese Fondue Recipe

2013-12-12T11:17:14.406-08:00

2 tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
½ teaspoon dried sweet basil
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
Paprika

Mix basil with chopped tomatoes. Rub chafing dish with garlic, melt butter, add tomatoes and much paprika. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, add wine, stir steadily to boiling point. Then add cheese, half a cup at a time, and keep stirring until everything is smooth.

Serve on hot toast, like Welsh Rabbit.

Here the two most popular melted-cheese dishes tangle, but they're held together with the common ingredient, tomato.



The Blues that Are Green

2009-05-17T06:39:03.847-07:00

Stilton, Roquefort and Gorgonzola form the triumvirate that rules a world of lesser Blues. They are actually green, as green as the mythical cheese the moon is made of.

In almost every, land where cheese is made you can sample a handful of lesser Blues and imitations of the invincible three and try to classify them, until you're blue in the face. The best we can do in this slight summary is to mention a few of the most notable, aside from our own Blues of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oregon and other states that major in cheese.

Danish Blues are popular and splendidly made, such as "Flower of Denmark." The Argentine competes with a pampas-grass Blue all its own. But France and England are the leaders in this line, France first with a sort of triple triumvirate within a triumvirate—Septmoncel, Gex, and Sassenage, all three made with three milks mixed together: cow, goat and sheep. Septmoncel is the leader of these, made in the Jura mountains and considered by many French caseophiles to outrank Roquefort.

This class of Blue or marbled cheese is called fromage persillé, as well as fromage bleu and pate bleue. Similar mountain cheeses are made in Auvergne and Aubrac and have distinct qualities that have brought them fame, such as Cantal, bleu d'Auvergne Guiole or Laguiole, bleu de Salers, and St. Flour. Olivet and Queville come within the color scheme, and sundry others such as Champoléon, Journiac, Queyras and Sarraz.

Of English Blues there are several celebrities beside Stilton and Cheshire Stilton. Wensleydale was one in the early days, and still is, together with Blue Dorset, the deepest green of them all, and esoteric Blue Vinny, a choosey cheese not liked by everybody, the favorite of Thomas Hardy.



Cream Cheese

2008-09-27T08:46:08.568-07:00

In England there are three distinct manners of making cream cheese:

1. Fresh milk strained and lightly drained.
2. Scalded cream dried and drained dry, like Devonshire.
3. Rennet curd ripened, with thin, edible rind, or none, packaged
in small blocks or miniature bricks by dairy companies, as
in the U.S. Philadelphia Cream cheese.

American cream cheeses follow the English pattern, being named from then: region or established brands owned by Breakstone, Borden, Kraft, Shefford, etc.

Cream cheese such as the first listed above is easier to make than cottage cheese or any other. Technically, in fact, it is not a cheese but the dried curd of milk and is often called virginal. Fresh milk is simply strained through muslin in a perforated box through which the whey and extra moisture drains away for three or four days, leaving a residue as firm as fresh butter.

In America, where we mix cream cheese with everything, a popular assortment of twelve sold in New York bears these ingredients and names: Chives, Cherry, Garden, Caviar, Lachs, Pimiento, Olive and Pimiento, Pineapple, Relish, Scallion, Strawberry, and Triple Decker of Relish, Pimiento and Cream in layers.

In Italy there is Stracchino Cream, in Sweden Chantilly. Finally, to come to France, la Foncée or Fromage de Pau, a cream also known around the world as Crême d'Isigny, Double Crême, Fromage à la Crême de Gien, Pots de Crême St. Gervais, etc. etc.

The French go even farther by eating thick fresh cream with Chevretons du Beaujolais and Fromage Blanc in the style that adds à la crême to their already glorified names.

The English came along with Snow Cream Cheese that is more of a dessert, similar to Italian Cream Cheese.

We'd like to have a cheese ice cream to contrast with too sweet ones. Attempts at this have been made, both here and in England; Scottish Caledonian cream came closest. We have frozen cheese with fruit, to be sure, but no true cheese ice cream as yet, though some cream cheeses seem especially suitable.



Gourmet Toasted Cheese Sandwich

2009-02-02T19:25:15.604-08:00

Butter both sides of 2 thick slices of white bread and sandwich between them a seasoned mixture of shredded sharp cheese, egg yolk, mustard and chopped chives, together with stiffly beaten egg white folded in last to make a light filling. Fry the buttered sandwich in more butter until well melted and nicely gilded.

This toasted cheeser is so good it's positively sinful. The French, who outdo us in both cooking and sin, make one of their own in the form of fried fingers of stale bread doused in an Welsh Rabbit and Fondue melting of Gruyère, that serves as a liaison to further sandwich the two.

Garlic is often used in place of chopped chives, and in contrast to this wild one there's a mild one made of Dutch cream cheese by the equally Dutch Pennsylvanians.



Minnesota Blue Cheese

2012-11-08T05:37:19.506-08:00

The discovery of sandstone caves in the bluffs along the Mississippi, in and near the Twin Cities of Minnesota, has established a distinctive type of Blue cheese named for the state. Although the Roquefort process of France is followed and the cheese is inoculated in the same way by mold from bread, it can never equal the genuine imported, marked with its red-sheep brand, because the milk used in Minnesota Blue is cow's milk, and the caves are sandstone instead of limestone. Yet this is an excellent, Blue cheese in its own right.