Author Topic: Historical article on Dunlop and Cheddar Cheese  (Read 209 times)

Offline JeffHamm

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Historical article on Dunlop and Cheddar Cheese
« on: October 11, 2013, 09:00:16 PM »
Hi,

I came across this article during an internet search.  It's from the "Otago Winess", published in 1860.  It discusses the making of Dunlop and Cheddar cheeses.  Not quite enough detail to directly turn into a make procedure, but some interesting points.  Looks like Dunlop had the curd repeatedly cut or milled (eight times it seems). 

- Jeff

Article from “Otago Witness” 1860
CHEESE MAKING.
(From the Canerbury Standard.)
   One of the most interesting papers in a late number of the Highland Society’s Transactions contains a report by Mr. Fulton, of Temple Maryhill, near Glasgow, on the mode of making Dunlop and Cheddar Cheese.  It appears that notwithstanding Dunlop cheese is, according to the analysis published, one of the richest descriptions manufactured, it sells for less per ton than many other sorts.  In 1858, while the farmers’ price for Dunlop was only from £48 to £50 per tone, that obtained for Cheddar, by Mr. Harding (of Markbury, near Briston), at the same time, was nearly £80 per ton.  In addition to this direct commercial advantage, the article thus bringing in so much larger a return is made with less waste, and when made it is a more nourishing and digestible food.  It is plain that the Highland Society were right in seeking for a report on the differences of process which lead to such differences of result.  For it is clearly ascertained that the quality of the cheese is determined almost entirely by the mode of manufacture, not, as has been hitherto imagined, almost entirely by the quality of the pasture.
   Mr. Fulton accordingly undertakes in this report to describe the Dunlop and Cheddar processes respectively.  In the former, in large dairies as cheese is made morning and evening ; the rennet, a large quantity, enough to effect the process of coagulation in a quarter of an hour, is added to the newly drawn milk.  Even less time than that named is allowed for coagulation in some dairies.
   “When the coagulum is ready for breaking up for the separation of the whey (a condition indicated by a certain firmness to the hand, and the appearance of greenish whey on a little part being broken), it is cut across from top to bottom with a long-bladed knife, so as to leave it in pieces of about two inches square, and left for about ten minutes.  It is then more minutely broken up with the dairymaid’s hands, or by stirring it very gently and carefully from top to bottom with the skimming dish.
   “The breaking up being finished, a few minutes are again allowed to admit of a little settling down of the curd.  The dairymaid and her assistants then place themselves beside the tub, and, immersing their bared arms into the mass, assist by gentle pressure the separation of the whey and subsidence of the curd, which experienced hands do in a dexterous and efficient manner, putting down the curd evenly and firmly to the bottom of the tub.”
   After lading out the whey “the curd is transferred to the dreeper – a utensil in shape exactly like a cheese-vat, only of larger diameter, and a greater number of holes.”  It there receives eight successive cuttings and changings to effect the discharge of the whey – these being given at the intervals of about five minutes.  The last cuttings are given in great detail, or they are affected by the curd milk.  “When the milk is steeped at night, the curd, after receiving three or four cuttings, is left in the dreeper till morning, when, at an early hour, the process is resumed.”
   “Salt is then sprinkled over the curd, one ounce to every three pounds of curd, and the curd is then put in the vat, and a slight pressure given while the whole is warmed before the fire.  A succession of changes at intervals of every two or three hours, from cloth and vat into fresh cloths and vats under pressure, then ensues for some twenty-four hours or more, and then the cheese is removed to the cheese-room, and turned daily for a fortnight.
   “The difference in the Cheddar manufacture as compared with that of Dunlop, lies first in the cheese being made but once a-day.
   “The evening’s meal of milk as brought in from the cows, is at once strained into the steeping tub in the diary, where it remains until morning, whne the morning meal is added to it.
   “In sultry weather, where the quantity of milk is large, part of the evening’s meal is kept separate in coolers.
   “If the heat of the mass, when the evening and morning meals are put together, be under eighty (the temperature at which the milk is set with the rennet), as much of the evening’s milk is warmed to about one hundred, as will raise the temperature to the required heat, which is accurately determined by the thermometer.  In cool weather the temperature is made two or three higher.
   “An acid reaction has set in the milk before the rennet is added, if not, then sour whey is added to it for the purpose ; a weaker rennet and less of it is used so as to make the coagulation last over an hour or more ; colouring matter (annatto) is used ; the curd, after breaking, is scalded with hot whey ; there is much less frequent cutting and breaking of the curd when once it is fit for placing in the vat.
   “When the curd is made up into a cheese (a stage usually reached by two, or from two to three o’clock) it is put into the press, and there remains until morning.
   “Pressure is gradually applied ; no weight is put on the leaver for the first half-hour, a light weight is then hung on, and at seven o’clock full pressure applied.  Next morning, after the milking and setting of the milk are over, the cheese is changed, and very heavy pressure applied for twenty-four hours.  On the the following morning a neatly fitted slip of fine calico is put on the cheese to smooth the surface, moderate pressure being applied, and in the evening it is ready for the cheese-room.
   “When withdrawn from the press, the cheese is placed into a piece of stout linen or cotton cloth, called a fillet or stay, which is kept on until the cheese is ready for sale, or has become quite firm.”
   The advantages of the English process as compared with the Scotch are commercial, dietetic, and economical.  As to the first, the process results in a cheese of higher value ; as to the second, in  a cheese of better flavour and more digestible ; as to the third, in the employment of less labour, and the saving of considerable waste.
   “The mode in which the saving of labour is effected will readily occur to the reader.  The larger quantity, as determined by experiment, probably arises from the presence of a free acid in the milk, which, acting as an additional coagulating agent, either assists or coagulates some substance in the milk not coagulable by rennet or in an alkaline or neutral condition, and thus precipitates from the milk a larger quantity of curd ; at least the curd relinquishes more readily its attraction for the whey, which comes away more thin and limpid than in the Dunlop.  The larger quantity also arises from the substance of the curd not being forced out in the form of white whey, as takes place in the Dunlop by the excessive manipulation and pressing in the dreeper.”
   With all proper deference to the Highland Society, we must – leave or no leave, but without impugning the plan of Cheddar cheese making – dissent entirely from the conclusion enunciated in the introduction to the above cheese making description.  It states that “it is clearly ascertained tha the quality of the cheese is determined almost entirely by the mode of manufacture, not, as has hitherto been imagined, almost entirely by the quality of the pasture.  On the contrary, we affirm that the soil of the pasture has a great deal to do with the quality of the cheese produced.  Not that dirty and slatternly dairymaids could make fine cheese from the milk fed of cows fed on pastures that usually produce the Gloucester, Cheshire, or Stilton cheese ; but that there are very many soils, and laid down with the very best grasses they will grow, from which the best dairymaid in the world could not produce a fine cheese.  We have seen more than one case where the dairymaids, under the superintendence of the mistresses, have produced cheeses equal to the Gloucester or Stilton, according to the process pursued, who, when removed with the cows, dairy plans, and all other requisites, to another district, and pursuing exactly the same process, could produce cheese of no better quality than that of New Zealand ; and we are not aware that there is any lower comparison to be made.  Yet good butter was obtained in both localities, the best land yielding of course the best quality.  The land here spoken of, and from which no good cheese could be produced, was not bad.  Forty bushels of wheat frequently, forty bushes of barley generally, and from one to three tons of clover or other artificial hay, was the produce expected from adjoining (next line missing).
   Excessive pressure of cheese we believe to be extremely detrimental to its quality, for not only is the whey pressed out, but the fat of the cheese also.  Stilton cheese scarcely receives any pressure.  The pine apple cheese sold in the shops, and usually of a very good quality, receives no pressure whatever.  It is hung up in a net and allowed to dry itself.  In all cases, however, cleanliness, changing of cloths, &c., is absolutely necessary.
   We say that almost all soils from which good cheeses are made, have much clay in their composition.  Now there is a description of cheese called Suffolk Bang from which a wheelbarrow wheel might be improvatised, and of which their own poet Blomfield says, and correctly :-
“Suffolk dairy wives run mad for cream,
And leave their milk with nothing but its name ;
Its name derision and approach pursue,
And strangers tell of ‘three times skimmed sky-blue.’
To cheese converted, what can be its boast ?
What but the common virtues of a post ;
It in the hog-trough rests in perfect spite,
Too bit to swallow and too hard to bite.”
   This cheese being the produce of a clay soil, has still much quality in it, and a good but not very rich flavour also, and if put to the fire to toast, will produce a vast deal more fat than we have ever seen a New Zealand cheese, so handled, produce.  Its hardness is mainly the effect of excessive pressing.  We have seen cheese presses here which, if worked to their utmost power, would, we apprehend, leave no pleasant flavour, fat, or goodness in the cheese whatever.
The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.


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Offline Boofer

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Re: Historical article on Dunlop and Cheddar Cheese
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2013, 09:18:31 AM »
Thanks for posting that, Jeff.

I believe I would agree, based on personal experience, that overpressing results in a hard, less-rich product. You want to expel excessive whey from the curds but not drive out the butterfat. I had built my Dutch press with the idea that I had to apply really tremendous pressure to achieve a finely crafted cheese. Experience has demonstrated that LESS IS MORE.

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Offline JeffHamm

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Re: Historical article on Dunlop and Cheddar Cheese
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2013, 02:08:03 PM »
Hi Boofer,

With my stacked weights, I get to around 2.5 PSI, and that seems to work fine, even for cheddar types, as long as I press in the pot or otherwise keep the curds warm.  I would think one is fine for more pressure than that, but some of the makes talk of 20+ PSI, which I'm never going to approach.  Still, with modern equipment, and the gass powered presses, I think it's possible to easily overdo it on the home front (in fact, with some of the great home built Dutch presses we've seen here, even those could probably over do it!).  I figure, once you reach a good knit, you don't need more.

- Jeff
The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.

Offline Boofer

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Re: Historical article on Dunlop and Cheddar Cheese
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2013, 09:42:30 PM »
Hi Boofer,

With my stacked weights, I get to around 2.5 PSI, and that seems to work fine, even for cheddar types, as long as I press in the pot or otherwise keep the curds warm.  I would think one is fine for more pressure than that, but some of the makes talk of 20+ PSI, which I'm never going to approach.  Still, with modern equipment, and the gass powered presses, I think it's possible to easily overdo it on the home front (in fact, with some of the great home built Dutch presses we've seen here, even those could probably over do it!).  I figure, once you reach a good knit, you don't need more.

- Jeff
Agreed.

I originally designed my press with the maximum barbell weight I had at the time: 75 pounds/34 KG. That was calculated, with the 4-pulley component and the long lever, to deliver 40.6 psi/(2.85 KG/sq. cm.) with a pressure of 1736 pounds/787 KG. I guess I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to fall short in the pressure department. ::)  In hindsight, total overkill.... :P

-Boofer-
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Offline JeffHamm

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Re: Historical article on Dunlop and Cheddar Cheese
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2013, 12:31:57 AM »
Hi Boofer,

Not necessarily.  I've found lots of references to 40 PSI in historical make procedures.  Now, they are doing commercial makes, with much larger cheeses, and probably pressing when cold, so all that needs to be considered as well.  Personally, I'm happy with my 2+ PSI from stacking weights.  Works well enough so far.

- Jeff
The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.


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