Cape Breton's Magazine

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Page 14 - Mary Ann Beaton Makes Country Cheese

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1974/10/1 (6692 reads)

Mary Ann Beaton Makes Country Cheese Mary Ann Beaton of Mabott Coal Mines They don't make so much of it now as they used to* Years ago pretty near every family made so much cheese* There was some sale for it but the price then was very small. But it would help to buy their groceries, I guess* And butter too. They could sell the butter* Cheese just keeps* The older it gets the better it i6. Just keep it in a cool place* It'll stand six months. Around November they'd make their cheese for the winter. It was my mother-in-law taught me. My mother made so much but my mother-in-law used to make quite a bit of it. She lived here with us for twelve years or so after we were married* Her name was Sarah Beaton. I try to have six or seven cakes put away for the winter • we call it cakes • just a round block of cheese* We used to have quite a few cows • used to have ten. Years ago they'd have as high as twelve. Right now we have six* My husband and the boys milk them* Then you have to separate the milk • separate the cream from the milk* You make butter with the cream and then you have the skim milk. And you take the skim milk and you put it to one side in a plastic pail or whatever you have large enough to put it in to save it for your cheese* The way it is, you save your cream* Every day you get half a gallon in the mornii' and another half gallon in the evenii' • and you save your cream until you have six or seven gallons and then you make your churn. And you save your skim milk* There's quite a bit of skim milk • perhaps in two days you have enough to make a cheese. It takes about fourteen gallons of skim milk to make an eight-pound cheese* It doesn't have to be all skim milk* I put some sweet milk in with it, you know* Sweet milk is the whole milk that hasn't been separated. (Apparently the milk changes slightly throughout the seasons. Mrs* Beaton told us that when you're used to it you'll know how much of each to add* She told us that it never turns out the same, not once*) You take fourteen gallons of skim milk and you let it get kind of sour* You let it sit about a day, two days • you let it sit in its container in an outhouse or in a milkhouse if you have a milkhouse* Not exactly a cool place but on a hot day it gets sour faster* When it's cold it takes parhaps a couple of days before it'll get sour* Then you take it in and put it in a tub on the stove and you warm it up • just luke? warm. And you stir it* (While she stirred, she kept a finger in the milk to test the heat* When it seemed to be getting too hot she moved the tub over on the stove* She didn't want to scald the milk or let it boil* The heat started to separate the curds and the whey*) Then I always put a little rennet in it* (Rennet is the inner lining of the fourth stomach of calves and other ruminants. Dried extract of this lining is used to curdle milk*) I believe years back they used to make their own rennet* We buy it at the store* The local co-op has it* You put about a tablespoon or two in* Without rennet it doesn't work as good* I've tried it. Rennet seems to make the whey and more curds and gathers it up better, I find* When it's warm you put your rennet in and you keep stirring it and that makes your curds and brings it all together* (She gathered the curds and took them from the tub with a wire strainer, letting the Cape Breton's Magazine/14
Cape Breton's Magazine
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