Leicester Cheese
A recipe for making fresh cheese - contributed by Michael Hobbes

Original recipe from Platina:

De Caseo. Even though cheese is served as a third course, this is nevertheless the place to set forth its virtue, since it is made from milk, which we have just discussed. It is often used in preparing many dishes. Take curds that are not too coagulated, so that the cheese does not turn sour, as often happens, and with a hand that is not too thin or too hot, but fleshy and gentle, reduce the curds into a mass and put it from the container into moulds or pails or small baskets; press it until the whey within come out. After the cheese has been salted it is put in a place where it is somewhat exposed to smoke; when it has absorbed the smoke and has been aged a little, it will be good to eat.

- Andrews, E.B. trans. Platina. De Honesta Voluptatae. L. de Aguila. Venice, 1475. St. Louis: Mallinckrodt, 1967.

Modern recipe:

  • 2 ½ Gallons Milk
  • Rennet
  • Mesophilium Cheese Starter
  • 3x3 section of Butter Muslin (do not use craft cheesecloth weave is too loose)
  • Cheese Press (either purchased or constructed)
  • Cheese Mould
  • Salt, flake or kosher
  • Calcium Chloride (if using pasteurized milk) 
The day before you are to make the cheese, pour half a gallon of milk into a sealed container. Add mesophilium cheese starter and set in a spot where it will not be bothered. When you are ready to make the cheese, take the milk and allow it to warm to room temperature. Next, in a double boiler, bring the temperature of the milk to 95° F. When it has reached that temperature, add starter culture (if you save a little, you can freeze it for later use and never have to buy it again). If using pasteurized milk add just a touch of calcium chloride before renneting to help break down any sugars that caramelized during that process. After one and one half hours, gently stir in rennet (use your judgment as to how much to use we used ¼ tsp. per gallon) make certain that the temperature is constant at 95° F. After 2 ½ hours, the curd should be set up. GENTLY, cut the curd into roughly 1 cubes. Next it is important to heat the curd to 110° F to cook the curd and force out excess water. You will know when the curd is done because it will be shiny (generally about 1 hour). Strain the curd to remove the excess whey and place in a bowl. Next gently stir in salt to taste and then place the curds in a muslin-lined mould. Gently push the curds into the mould until the form an even layer. Cover the curds with muslin and place in the press. Apply 15 lbs. Pressure for 90 minutes. Remove cheese from press, flip, and return to press. Apply 30 lbs. of pressure for 2 ½ hours. Remove from Mould, flip, and return to press. Apply 50 lbs. pressure for 18 hours. Remove from Mould and place on a cheese board somewhere dry. Next, allow the cheese to settle for three days and then apply a thin coating of wax. Allow to age for 2-3 months and then serve. Should make 1-2 lbs. of cheese.

Adapted from: Carroll, Ricki and Robert Carroll. Cheesemaking Made Easy. Pownal, VT: Garden Way Publishing, 1995, p. 68.

Leicester Cheese is featured in Coronation Feast of H.R.H Kenna

Metric, Celsius, & Gas Mark Equivalencies

Michael Hobbes is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, living in Columbus, Ohio. He was recently awarded the Laurel, the SCA's highest honor for arts & sciences, for his work in cooking.

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