Tag Archives: rennet

Whey cool

Little_Miss_Muffet_1_-_WW_Denslow_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_18546

Little Miss Muffet 1901

Hey –  where are the  curds and whey?

Curds-and-Whey-Finalwiki 900

If this looks suspiciously like cottage cheese – well, that’s half the story. Cottage cheese is the curds drained of the whey, with a little milk mixed in to keep it sweet.

Once upon a time, in my ‘I’m probably gonna be a hippy when I grow up’ days, I got a hot off the presses book club edition of:

stillroom cookery

and I baked the breads, and I tried the yogurts (failures, every one – and every other ones I ever tried), I also searched up and down and all around for rennet tablets so I could make some cheeses.The only rennet tablets I could find were these:

junket.400x300

Junket Rennet Custard – so good!

But Junket Rennet Custard is not going to make cheese, although it is so, so good to eat.

If I’d only known  ….well, sooooo many things. The health food didn’t didn’t yet carry rennet, but the hardware and farm supply store probably still did, back in those days.

And then I went to work in the seventeenth century, so to speak.

We used herbs to make cheese

bedstraw-Galium_verum01

Maidshair or Ladies Bedstraw can act as a rennet

There are lots of curds and whey in the past.

curds and whey

Amid the sausages and the dead chickens and the veal head and tripe and assorted other offal – a bowl of curds! Whey is never far behind

And then I learned about Ricki Carrol, or the Cheese Queen 

and since then I’ve made ricotta (milk with buttermilk – fast and easy) :how to make ricotta

and I’ve made soft curds with lemon juice…because you don’t always have rennet in the house  : how to make soft curds with lemon juice

And I got some floursack towels to use instead of cheesecloth... because you can bleach and re-use these over and over again

canvasflour sack towels

And now a dairy meditative moment: dripping whey

Curds and Whey would be a great name for a rock band….

Curds___Whey_banner

Lots of clicking – Links galore!

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Filed under Books, Spring, The 1970's

Whey Back Wednesday

Little Miss Muffet

Sat on a tuffet

Eating her curds and whey

Along came a spider

And sat down beside her

And frightened Miss Muffet away.

Making curds and whey at work, so the nursery rhyme is in the air.

Pretty remarkable the number of children who don’t know it.

“Little Miss Muffet Sat on her tuffet, eating her….

“MUFFIN”

or if I helped them

‘…eating her curds and…’

“CHOCOLATE”

Little_Miss_Muffet_2_-_WW_Denslow_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_18546So it seems that Miss Muffet is slipping out of the vernacular…..anyhow…

Curds and whey is pretty easy to make (are pretty easy to make? You can’t make one without the other….Is this a singular or a plural? Time to call the Grammar Police!) Grammar Police badge

To make curds and the resulting whey : take milk, add rennet (it’s an enzyme) and the milk becomes solid – that’s the curds – and liquid – that’s the whey…..Curds are the first step of making cheese. Many cheeses are pressed curds

Cabot-cottage-cheese-1lb

Cottage Cheese/ Curds and Milk – different names/same thing.

Cottage cheese is unpressed curds and milk..See – you’ve been snacking on curds like a tuffetless Miss Muffet all along!

Whey is also pretty common in the 21st century – as a powder. Dehydrate the liquid and Voila!

Whey_powder

Whey powder – an important component of a smoothies and power shakes and protein bars

Whey powder is also in Greek-style yoghurt.

Not in the Greek yoghurt, per se…..

Greek-style.

I went to buy some Greek yoghurt this week, to lunch with my granola. I reached for my familiar brand, and right next to it

SALE

I bought the brand on sale. I read the BIG print, not the fine print….shame on me.

Here’s what was in it:

Pasteurized milk, skim milk, whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate, live active yogurt cultures (Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus), Vitamins A,C,D,E.

And the taste? Chalky/gritty/ not nice.

Note to self – ALWAYS read the WHOLE label, even in a jiffy grocery run.

Then there’s true ricotta – that’s ‘re-cooked’ in Italian, made from re-heated whey and buttermilk,  which makes it the same thing as Gervase Markham’s  1617 “Whey Curds”.

Ricotta insaluta

Ricotta salata

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Happy Medieval cheese-makers – that basket cheese in the middle looks an awful lot like a modern ricotta basket…and that’s one handsome dog, too

Another version of the same scene

Another version of the same scene

Curds in Irish literature

The Vision of Mac Conglinne (14th century, Irish)

Stately, pleasantly it sat,
A compact house and strong.
Then I went in:
The door of it was dry meat,
The threshold was bare bread,
cheese-curds the sides.

Smooth pillars of old cheese,
And sappy bacon props
Alternate ranged;
Fine beams of mellow cream,
White rafters – real curds,
Kept up the house.

It’s not just the food, it’s the wheys

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Filed under Irish, Italian