Cheese is an article of food which is manufactured from milk. Cow's milk is most extensively used, but the milk of ewes and goats is used in the manufacture of some of the cheese of commerce. Different kinds of cheese vary greatly in appearance, flavor, texture, and degree of hardness.
Cottage cheese is the result of a natural fermentation, and was probably the first variety of cheese made from milk. The milk for cottage cheese should not be allowed to become too sour, but should be used when it first becomes thick, and while it is still pleasantly acid. Heat it to 100° F., or set it in a kettle of boiling water, stirring all the time to prevent some portions becoming too hot. When it is ready, pour into a strainer made by folding a yard of thin muslin diagonally, and sewing the sides together, and hang up to drain. When the whey has drained out, season the cheese with salt, and add white pepper, if liked. Stir in enough sweet cream to moisten, or, in the absence of that, use sour cream or butter enough to flavor nicely. Serve cold. When the milk is made too hot or heated too long the curd is hard and tough, instead of soft and creamy, as it should be. Cottage cheese may be made by putting the sour milk into a vessel sufficiently large to admit of enough boiling water being poured onto the milk to coagulate it. Proceed as before.
Rennet is used to coagulate the casein in order to separate it from the whey. Fresh-made cheese is not palatable, and has little market value.
Cheese is a valuable article of food to combine with other foods, both on account of its giving greater palatability and greater food value. It can well be combined with milk or with eggs, as in macaroni with cheese, cheese souffle, cheese toast, welsh rarebit, etc.
France produces many varieties of cheese. Among the most famous are the Roquefort, Gruyere, Port du Salut, Brie, Camembert, and Neufchatel. The Roquefort is a rich, creamy cheese, made from the milk of ewes. The veined appearance of this cheese is due to the mold inserted by the peasantry who manufacture the cheese. It is stated that in no other place are the conditions so favorable to the growth of bacteria which give to this cheese its characteristic flavor. The Gruyere is a thick, firm cheese used in cooking. Port du Salut is a soft, creamy cheese, delicately flavored, made at Bordeaux. It is of no interest to people in general, as it is not used until ripened almost to decay. Neufchatel is a rich, creamy, white cheese, somewhat resembling cottage cheese. It is used as a dessert cheese. Camembert is a small hand-made cheese, which is not considered ready for use until first covered with a white mold, then with a green mold outside of that. The Brie is a large, soft cheese, resembling Camembert.
The Gouda and Edam are Holland cheeses. The Edam is a rich cheese, though rather hard. It is round in shape, and colored red on the outside.
Of the English cheeses, the Stilton and Double Gloucester may be taken as representatives of those in which much cream is used in the manufacture. Gloucester is a cheese mild in flavor, and is a fine cheese for cooked cheese dishes. The Stilton belongs to the same class of cheese, but is so well cured that it has a very strong flavor. The Cheddar is a famous English cheese. It is pale in color, a little'less rich than the Double Gloucester, and has a delicious flavor. Parmesan is less rich in fat than either of the others. It is a large, very hard cheese, which must be grated for use, but gives a fine flavor to macaroni and some other cooked dishes. The Parmesan is colored and artificially flavored with saffron.
The American cheeses are of most interest to Americans. The bulk of the cheese made in America is manufactured by some form of the cheddar or sour-curd process, as distinguished from the sweet-curd process under which most of the above-named cheese is made. In this process the milk is warmed, rennet, an extract from calf's stomach, is added to coagulate the casein, and the curd is then cut into small cubical pieces with a many-bladed knife, and kept warm until it shrinks to expel most of the moisture, called "whey." The whey is then drawn off from the vat. It carries away most of the milk, sugar, and ash, and some of the fat, though the fat, being in small solid particles, and not in solution, as in case of the sugar and ash, is mostly held in the meshes of the coagulated casein. The curd is further heated and manipulated to make it firm, and it is then placed under pressure for a day or so, and more of the whey is pressed out. In the press, the curd is molded into cylindrical shapes, a foot or more in diameter, and six inches or less in thickness; or, in Young Americas, about six inches in diameter, and six to eight inches long. The cheese is then cured for several weeks in a curing room at an ordinary summer temperature. This process makes a cheese the most universally relished, at least by Americans and Englishmen. When made from whole milk, these cheeses are known as "Full Cream Cheddars," "Flats," and "Young Americas." When butter making is combined with the manufacture of cheese, and part of the butter fat is removed before the milk is made into cheese, the cheese manufactured is called "skim." A national law requiring manufacturers to tell the truth about adulterations or modified products would be a great benefit alike to producers and consumers. Cheddar cheese is often used in cooking, and experiments showing how its use could be extended in making many appetizing and nourishing dishes might profitably be made.