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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1451

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enough to cut. Many-bladed knives greatly facilitate this part of the work, but some little practice is necessary to enable the worker to wield one successfully. After cutting, the fine particles of curd are stirred continuously until the necessary degree of firmness is attained, and these are then allowed to sink to the bottom of the vat, where they remain in warm whey until sufficient acidity is developed. When the right point is reached, the whey is drawn off, the curd is broken up, covered with warm cloths, and kept thus until ripe enough to be salted and put into cheese moulds. The cheese remains in the mould under pressure until sufficiently firm to support its own weight, when it is trimmed and ironed into a good shape, and then transferred to the drying room. Here it remains for months, being turned every day, so that any moisture contained in the cheese may be equally distributed. The whole process is extremely simple, but the success of the whole depends on the amount of acidity developed during the various stages of the work. If the curd is allowed to become too acid, a hard cheese is the result; if not sufficiently developed, the cheese is too crumbly, and consequently wasteful.

To choose Cheese.—The taste and smell are the best indications of quality. There is so much difference of taste that cheese, almost alone of all foods, is tasted by the customer before purchasing. A good cheese has rounded edges and sides, and when a piece is rubbed between the fingers it should melt and feel smooth. The bulging should not be great, however, as that indicates slight fermentation, and the cheese should be flat at the top. The best cheese is made of new milk, and contains, therefore, fat in addition to the curd. Skimmed milk cheeses are hard and indigestible. In fact, no cheese is easy of digestion, which probably accounts for its not being a universal food; it has almost every other virtue, being cheap, portable, easy to store and palatable. In every pound of cheese as much solid food is contained as in a pound of lean meat, and the food is of the flesh-forming kind, being rich in both proteid and fat.

The principal Varieties of Cheese used in England are the following: and most of these are shown in the coloured plate. Cheshire Cheese, famed all over Europe for its rich quality and fine piquant flavour. It is made of entire new milk from which the cream has not been taken off. Gloucester Cheese is much milder in its taste than the Cheshire. There are two kinds of Gloucester cheese, single and double. Single Gloucester is made of skimmed milk, or of milk deprived of half the cream; Double Gloucester is a cheese that pleases almost every palate; it is made of the whole milk and cream. Stilton Cheese is made by adding the cream of one day to the entire milk of the next; it was first made at Stilton, in Leicestershire. Gorgonzola strongly resembles Stilton, and has a large sale. Much is now made in England to imitate the original. Sage Cheese is so called from the practice of colouring some curd with bruised sage, marigold-leaves and