Being that the Foure Bookes of Husbandry (1578, Barnabe Googe) is mainly about farming and keeping of produce, the section on cheese mainly concerns itself with the keeping of cheese, however the author does give a nod to the higher nutritional value of younger cheese as well as the desirability of the time towards softer and more delicate cheeses rather than the hard and stronger flavoured cheeses that resulted from long keeping (obviously a necessary result when keeping in storage)
Buffe– This would most likely be referring to Buffalo (not to be confused with Bison)
Meates– food, can include plant products
EVPHOR. You have for your part very well satisfied us, touchyng the good orderyng of your Cattell: there remaynes yet one thyng for you, whiche wee all fogate to speake of, and that is the orderyng of Mylke, our cheefest foode and sustenaunce.
HEDIO. Seeing that of this cattell whereof I have entreated, the profit of the Milke is not small, it is no great reason wee should overpasse the orderyng of the same: for Milke (as Varro sayth) of all liquid thinges wherewith wee feede, is the greatest nourisher. Milke differeth in goodness, accordyng to the nature of the bodies that geve it: as the Milke of the Women, of Rine, Sheepe, Goates, Asses, Mares, and Cammels: the greatest nourisher is Womans Milke, the next Goates Milke, whereby the Poets fame, that thier god Iupiter hymselfe, was nursed with Goates Milke: the Sweetest next to Womans milke, is the Cammels milke: the holsomest, is Asses Milke: the Asse as soon as she is with Colt, geveth Milke: the Cowe, never tyll she have Calved: most comfortable to the stomache, is Goates Milke, because hee rather feedesth on Bruttes and bowes, than upon grass. Cowe milke is most medecinable, and most of all looseth the belly. sheepes Milk is sweeter, and nourished more, but is not so good for the stomache, by reason it is fatter and grosser. All Milke that is milked in springtyme, is watrisher then the milke of sommer, as likewise is the milke of young Cattell: it is holsemest beying sodden, specially with the prebbles of the Sea. The Sheepe about Pontus, neare to the Ryver Astace, doo geve (as Plinie saith) black Milke. All Milk generally (as Dioscorides writeth) is of good nourishment, but silleth the stomache and the bellye, with Winde: that whiche is milked in the spring, is thumest, but looseth the Belly most.
The difference of Milke, is taken (as Varro sayth) of the pastures, the nature of the Cattell, and the milking. Of the Pasture, when the Cattell is fedde with Barly, Strawe, and all other hard and drye Meates, and this greatly nourisheth. For cattell feede of purging hearbes, as Cadamus in his booke de plantis teacheth, that if you will pourge Melancholy, you must feede your mylche Goate, or Asse, with Polipodi, and for all other humours Sene, for the Dropsie with Spurge, or Agarick: for cleansyng of the blood, with Funuitotye, or Hoppes: and if you will onely loose the belly with Mercury, or Mallowes, so farre Cordanus. Our countrymen doe cheefely commend for milke, the Pastured where groweth Spery, and Clavergrasse, and that is all bedeckt with yellowe flowres. For the Cattell, the difference is the betwixt the sicke and the healthy, the young, and the alde: and for the milkyng, that is best, that is not long kept after the milkyng, nor that is milked immediatly uppon the Calving, a grosse unholsome kind of Milke. To trye whether miulke me mingled or not, you shall take a sharpe Rushe, and puttyng it into the Milke, let it droppe from thence uppon your Nayle, and if the droppe runne abroade, it is a signe there is water in it: if it keepe together, it shewes it to bee pure and good.
Of Milke is made Butter, whose use (though it bee cheefely at this daye among the Fleminges) is yet a good and profitable foode in other countreys, and muche used of our olde Fathers, yea even of the verie Patriarches (as the Scriptures witnesseth) the commoditie thereof, besides many others, is the aswaging of hunger, and the preserving of strength: it is made in this sort. The milke, assone as it is milked, is put out of the Payle into Bowles, or Pannes, the best are earthen pannes, and those rather broade then deepe: this doone the seconde, or the third day, the Creame that s’wyins aloft, is fletted of, and put into a vessell rather deepe, then bigge, round and Cilinder fashion: although in some places they have other kinde of Charines lowe and flatte, wherein with often beatying and moovyng up and downe, they so shake the milke, as they sever the thinnest parte of from the thicke, whiche at the firste gather together in little crombles, and after with the continuance of the violent mooving, commeth to a whole wedge, or cake: this it is taken out, and either eaten freshe, or barrailed with Salt.
The Buttermilke that remayneth of the Butter, is either kepte for the famely, or geven to Calves and Hogges, as a daintie foode.
Cheese is also made of the Milke of Cattell, the Milke beeyng powred into a Vessell of earth, putting into it a little Rennet, the quantitie of a Walnutte, in a great vessell of milke, where by it turneth into Curd.
Varro doth better like the Rennet of the Leuret, or the Kydde, then the Lambes: howbeit: we commonly use the Calves Renner: others use sundry ather means onely with heate, warminf it in Tinne vesselles, and after dipping these Vessels in colde Water, whiche is the sweetest and cleanliest manner: others put in the seede of wylde Saffron, and being so turned, the Whay dooth greatly pourge fleame: others agayne use the mi(l)ke of the Figge tree, and then doth the Whay pourge both choler and fleame: some turne it with Oximell, or syrope of Vineger, whiche if of all other wayes the holsomest: some besides, use the little skinne of Birdes Guysards, and other, the flowres of wylde Thystles, or Hartichockes.
The newer and better the Milke is, the better wyll be the cheese: for made of two sorts of milke, or milke that is to neare fleeted, it soon sowreth, and wareth hard and nought, and is not to enduce any whyle. Agayne, being made of fatte and newe Milke, it will very long endure, and long continueth in his fatness and softnesse: about a two or three houres after you have put in your Rennet, the Milke commeth to a Curd, whiche is straight wayes put into Formes, or Cheesefattes, and pressed: or if they bee but small, they are only pressed with the hand. If they be of any quantitie, they have great weyght uppon them, it is very needefull you presse out the Whay with as muche speede as you can, and so sever it from the curd, and not to let it lye slowly drayning of it selfe. Those that make greate Cheeses, have mouldes for the purpose, and weightes and presses answerable. After this, they take them out of the Press, and laye them uppon Hardelles, or fayre smothe Tables, in a shadowy and colde place, and close frow all windes, springling them all over with Salt, that they may sweate out all their sourenesse, laying them so, as they touche not one the other. When they bee nowe wel hardned and thickned, they are taken up, and pressed agayne with greater weyghtes, and rubbed over with parched Salte, and after layd in presse againe, whereby it is thought they will neyther have eyes, nor be over drie: whiche saltes hapneth to rome when they be either not well pressed, or too muche salted.
Some use to put into the borrome of their Payles, the greene kernelles of the Pine apple, and milking into them, doo cause it so in turne. You may also cause your Cheese to relishe of what soever you will, as Pepper, or any other Spice: but Columella countes that for the best Cheese, that hath least mixture in it. The Strongest Cheese, and hardest of digestion, are those that are made of Buffes Milke, the next are such as are made of the Milk of Ewes, but the myldest, and lightest of digestion, are those that are made of Goates Milke: the Cheese that is made of mares Milke, is of the same quantitie that the Buffe Cheese is. There is Cheese also makde of Cammels Milke, and of Asse Milke: the Cheeses that are made of Buffes Milke, are at Rome in great estimation of all other cattell. Suche as are touched both above and beneath, and have more then soure pappes, you can make no Cheese of their Milke, for it will never curd. In our dayes, the best Cheeses are counted the Parmasines, made about the Ryver of Po, esteemed for their greatnesse, and dayntinesse, of whiche you shall have brought int other countreys that way above threescore pounde. Next are commended the Holland Cheese, the Cheese of Normandy, and the English Cheese. In England, the best Cheese is the Chesshyre, and the Shropshyre, then the Banbury Cheese, next the Suffolke, and the Essex Cheese, and the verie worst the Kentish Cheese. The places where the beste Cheese is made, appeareth by this alde English Distinchon, better sensed, then footed:
Banbury, Langtony, Suffolke good Cheese, Essex go though by, Shropshyre, cum Cheshyre, Hertford may well with the best peere.
Of the discommoditie of Essex Cheese, our Englishe Martiall John Haywood, thus meerily wryteth:
I never saw Banbury Cheese thicke yenough
But I have seen Essex Cheese quicke yenough.
Cheese they say will beste endure, and is longest preserved, if you keepe them in heapes of Pulse, or Wheate, and if you steepe your Rennet in juyce of Byrche, you shall bee sure to have neither Myte nor Creeper in your cheese. The Cheese that is soft and newe, doth more nourishe then the dry, and be more comfortable to the stomoack, not long in digesting: the old is contrary, according to the proverbe, No Cheese good but the new. Old Cheese will become new in taste, if you lay them in Time, Vinegar, or in Wine: if through age it bee hard and bitter, let it be rubed over with Meale and undried Barley, and then dipt in water, and after, the outer rinde scraped of. We have oft times, proved, that hard Cheese wrapped in Cloutes wet in Vineger, or Wine, and oftentimes sprinkled with wine, and so layde up, returne to a softness, and a verie pleasant taste. Some lay it in Leaven, covering it close therewith, and thereby make it soft. It is reported, that Zoroastes lived twentie yeeres in wilderness with Cheese so ordered, as it never waxed olde.
EVPHOR. Of the Whay that commeth from the Cheese, being sodde with soft fyre, rill the fatnesse of the Cheese swim aloft, are made Welcurds:
HEDIO. You were moont to love them well.
EVMEVS. I doo in deede, specially if there be good store of newe milke put into the Whay.
The olde wryters doo teache the making of a kinde of white meate, not much unlike to Welcurdes, which they called Melcan, and made it in this sort. Thei put into a newe earthen vessell Vinegar, and suffered it to boyle softly upon the fyre, till the vessell had drunke up the Vineger, and into that vessell thei powred in milke, & set it where it might stand stedfast, whereby they had within a while their desire. But me thinketh I have for my part done yeough, it commet now to your turne EV MEVS to goe forward with the rest.