History: Premium Cheese Recipe

From an address on the SECOND day of the meeting of the Maine Board of Agriculture, January 4, 1871 by X. A. Willard, A. M., of Herkimer, N. Y., Dairy Editor of the Rural New Yorker, &c., &c.

“At the late New York State Fair, the premium on the best factory cheese was awarded to the Whitesboro’ factory [in Oneida County, NY]. The process of manufacture may be briefly described as follows:

The night’s milk is drawn into the vats and cooled to 65° by Austin’s agitator and running water, the morning’s milk is run into the vat, and the whole heated to 84°, when the rennet and annotto [sic] are stirred in. As soon as the coagulated milk will break smoothly over the finger, and before it is very hard, cut and cross-cut, but rather coarsely. Heat to 96° or 98°, in the meantime stirring with rakes to prevent packing. Let it remain until the whey is slightly acid. Draw off the whey to pack the curd on each side of the vat to drain, air and acidify. Next, cut the curd in square pieces and reverse those next to the side of the vat, placing the others on them, also reversed. When the curd is quite acid, pass it rapidly through a curd mill, using steam power, and immediately salt, using from two to two and a quarter pounds of salt to one hundred pounds of curd, thoroughly incorporating the salt, and put to press directly. Press twenty-four hours, and remove to the curing room [recommended at that time to be kept at 70°F!], during daily for three weeks, and then every other day.”

New Wave of Maine Cheese on the Radio

Last night Maine Things Considered broadcast a story about the new wave of Maine cheese makers by reporter Jennifer Mitchell featuring soundbutes from Caitlin and myself. (I gave Mitchell several other names of people that she should talk with, but I’m not sure what happened with that).

In the broadcast piece I told a story about the cheese making history of Monroe, where I live, which she included in the broadcast piece, and after I got home from the interview I dug out a copy of the oral history that had been passed along to me when I started my cheese business in Monroe. I went ahead and typed it up and posted it to the Guild web site so anyone else can learn about “Skipper Cheese.”