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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/513

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THE CHEMISTRY OF COOKERY.

form, as the curd of new milk, it carries with it the fatty matter, or cream, and therefore, in order to study its properties in a state of purity, we must obtain it otherwise. This may be done by allowing the fat-globules of the milk to float to the surface, and then remove them—i. e., by separating the cream as by the ordinary dairy method. We thus obtain in the skimmed milk a solution of casein, but there still remains some of the fat. This may be removed by evaporating it down to solidity, and then dissolving out the fat by means of ether, which leaves the soluble casein behind. The adhering ether being evaporated, we have a fairly pure specimen of casein in its original or soluble form.

This, when dry, is an amber-colored, translucent substance, devoid of odor, and insipid. This insipidity and absence of odor of the pure and separated casein is noteworthy, as it is evidently the condition in which it exists in milk, but very different from that of the casein of cheese. My object in pointing this out is to show that in the course of the manufacture of cheese new properties are developed. Skim milk—a solution of casein—is tasteless and inodorous, while cheese, whether made from skimmed or whole milk, has a very decided flavor and odor.

If we now add some of our dry casein to water, it dissolves, forming a yellowish, viscid fluid, which, on evaporation, becomes covered with a slight film of insoluble casein, which may be readily drawn off. Some of my readers will recognize in this description the resemblance of a now well-known domestic preparation of soluble casein, condensed milk, where it is mixed with much cream, and in the ordinary preparation also much sugar. The cream dilutes the yellowness, but does not quite mask it, and the viscidity is shown by the strings which follow the spoon when a spoonful is lifted. If a concentrated solution of pure casein is exposed to the air it rapidly putrefies, and passes through a series of changes that I must not tarry to describe, beyond stating that ammonia is given off, and some crystalline substances, such as leucine, tyrosine, etc., very interesting to the physiological chemist, but not important in the kitchen, are formed.

A solution of casein in water is not coagulated by boiling; it may be repeatedly evaporated to dryness and redissolved. Upon this depends the practicability of preserving milk by evaporating it down, or "condensing." This condensed milk, however, loses a little; its albumen is sacrificed, as everybody will understand who has dipped a spoon in freshly-boiled milk and observed the skin which the spoon removes from the surface. This is coagulated albumen.

If alcohol is added to a concentrated solution of casein in water, a pseudo-coagulation occurs; the casein is precipitated as a white substance like coagulated albumen, but, if only a little alcohol is used, the solid may be redissolved in water; if, however, it is thus treated with strong alcohol, the casein becomes difficult of solution, or even quite