Curd cheese and its uses

Cows in the 18th century tended to have a lower milk yield than most modern dairy breeds. In today’s recipe for curd cheese, the product of two milking sessions are used: the “night’s milk” and the “morning’s milk”.

Once again, the recipe indicates that our unknown ladies kept a number of domestic animals on their land, including a neat (domestic bovine) for their dairy produce.

18th century recipe "to sett curd cheese" from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

18th century recipe “to sett curd cheese” from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

To set curd cheese (modernised spelling)

Take all your night’s milk and put a quart of cream to it and [add] rennet to it. When [the curd appears] take [it] up gently with the skimming dish and don’t break it. Put it in a clean sieve and put the sieve in cold water in a tub. In the morning, set your morning’s milk and when [the curd has appeared] & gathered, take the curd that is in the sieve in one hand and and a knife in the other, and put your hands down to the bottom of the tub of whey and slice the curd that was in the sieve. Then, when you have sliced that, put away the knife and put your hands down to the bottom again and break the curd of your milk together very well at the bottom. But don’t let it swim [to the] top or else, if you let the curd swim [to the] top, all the fat will go out. Then sink the curd gently again and then pour the whey from it. Salt the curd as you put it in the fat. Press it by degrees, [putting on a] very small weight at first. When you see the white whey begin to come, press it no more for that is the fat.

As well as being used for cheesemaking, the curds produced through this process could be used to make sweet dishes, such as these creamy cheesecakes:

A Georgian recipe for curd cheese cakes from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

A Georgian recipe for curd cheese cakes from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

Curd cheese cakes

Turn a quart of new milk over the fire with sack. Pour of the whey. Clean & take yr curd & breake it small & put to it four yolks of eggs well beat, an whole nutmeg grated, three spoonfulls of rose water & a qr of a pound of melted butter. Sugr to your taste.