Milk curds find their way into most of our refrigerators these days in the form of “cottage cheese” – a product with a pure-white, squeaky-clean, virtuous, low-fat, health-food sort of reputation. I like cottage cheese, don’t get me wrong, but I am sure you will agree that it has not a shred of naughtiness associated with it. But it could, Oh! It could, if it were tempted with the right amount of eggs and butter and sugar.
Here is a marvelous yeast-leavened “cake” or sweet bread made with curds and flavoured with ginger, then soaked in melted butter after baking:
To make a great Curd Loafe.
Take the Curds of three quarts of new milk cleane wheyed and rub into them a little of the finest flower [flour] you can get, then take half a race of Ginger, and slice it very thin, and put into your Curds with a little salt, then take halfe a pint of good Ale yeast and put to it, then take tenne Eggs but three of the whites, let there be so much flower as will make it into a reasonable stiffe Past [paste], then put into an indifferent hot Cloath, and lay it before the fire to rise while your Oven is heating, then make it up into a Loaf, and when it is Baked, cut up the top of the Loaf, and put in a pound and a halfe of melted Butter, and a good deale of Sugar in it.
The Compleat Cook (1655).
Or how about this version, with extra sin added in the form of fried snippets of dough?
To Make a Cheese Loaf
Take three chopins of new milk; put in as much runnet [rennet] as will make it curdle; press the whey gently from the curd; break the curd, and take equal quantity of grated bread and curd; beat the yolks of a dozen of eggs, and six of the whites; season with beat cinnamon, nutmeg, and fugar; mix in half a mutchkin of sweet cream and a glass of brandy; mix the bread and curd all together, and put a very little salt in it; work it all up to a paste, and dust in two or three spoonfuls of flour as you work it up; take out a piece of it, and roll it out thin to fry; then make the rest up in the shape of a loaf, and fire it in the oven; cut the fried paste in little bits to put round the loaf; cut a hole in the top of the loaf, and pour in some beat-butter, cream, and sugar; send it hot to the table.
The New Practice of Cookery, Pastry, Baking, and Preserving: Being the Country
Housewife's Best Friend (Edinburgh, 1804)
How many inches in a race of ginger?
They do sound rather fun, especially when you pour in all the butter at the end. I am sorely tempted, but since I don't know how much a mutchkin is, I have an excuse not to. :-)
Hi SometimesKate. I dont think ginger measurement is an exact science. An inch of a thick or thin piece of ginger? A race is the root - so a big race or a little race? I just think of an amount and double it when it comes to ginger because I like it!
Sandra - I will check up on the munchkin! I love the butter in at the end - but how do you think it was eaten? with a spoon or fork?
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