Addressed to William Ellis
Muncy Lycoming County
Philadelphia August 4th 1806
So long a time has elapsed since I promised to procure thee a yankey receipt for making cheese that thou has most probably concluded ere now either that I have been negligent or that the important secret is only to be communicated to the truly initiated. As to the first of these causes if it were in the focus of an accusation I should plead not guilty and as to the latter I have never understood that the good housewives of Stonington and Goshea were less friendly to the equal rights of cheese makers than are our sovereign legislators to the equal rights of the sovereign peoples.
If the receipt should not prove good we may begin to suspect them of aristocratic and monopolizing tendencies but let there first be a fair and impartial trial and I think the source from which the receipt is desired will authorize me in predicting that with proper attention it will fully answer the end wished for.
To make cheese
If the dairy is large enough to make two cheeses a day there is no necessity for warming the milk; but if the milk has stood all night, it must be made as warm as when first from the cow. The cream may be taken from the nights milk.
The quantity of rennet cannot be exactly stated as that depends on the goodness try a few spoonfuls, and if it doesnt turn it add a little more too much rennet will injure the taste of the cheese.
When the milk is turned take a large wooden knife made for the purpose, cut the curd each way across the kettle Let it stand until the curd is well separated from the whey. Then set your cheese basket over a tub or kettle, put a strainer over it, and lade out your curd into it let it stand, and drain for about two hours, cutting the curd each way once in fifteen minutes. Shake it frequently whilst in the strainer twist the strainer together turn over the curd and let lie a quarter of an hour. Cut your curd into thin slices and have some of the whey scalding hot take hold of the four corners of the strainer and hold the curd in the hot whey until you think it heated through. Keep it stirring whilst scalding then put it into the basket again, cut and chop it fine put a tea cup of fine rock salt to the milk of twelve cows, mix it well together. Put it into a strainer and hoop and press it 24 hours, turning it two or three times whilst in the press.
To make rennet
Make a brine of salt and water, strong enough to bear an egg put in your rennet bags one quart of water to a bag let them be in a week or 10 days then bottle the liquor for use
Many people cut a piece of the rennet bag, the size of three fingers and throw it into half a pint of clear water, let it stand overnight, and use the liquor in the morning.
Screw presses are altogether in use.
The foregoing appears to me who am altogether unacquainted with the process to be scarcely minute enough many particulars relative to the different parts of the apparatus, manner of preserving the cheese after its being made, the method colouring & might be added then however may be all familiar to cheese makers and therefore unnecessary; but should there be anything material not mentioned. Thou wilt please inform me of it and I will endeavor to have it supplied, which I can readily do, in the course of a visit I propose to make to a part of Connecticut the next month
with best respects to thyself and family
I remain thy
William Ellis, Muncy