Due to the Swiss, German and Dutch ancestry of many Mennonites, cheese is popular in many forms. Typical recipes, some brought from Europe, included cup cheese, egg cheese, soda cheese and stink cheese. (The name comes, no doubt, from the method in which the cheese is allowed to ripen in a warm place for five days, rather than the usual three.)
In the Mennonite Community Cookbook (1950), Mary Emma Showalter writes: “Grandmother made each of them often enough to tell by the touch of her experienced fingers how much to scald the sour milk. She also knew when the curd had aged sufficiently to bring out the desired flavor of each type.”
Following is the book’s old-fashioned recipe for crock cheese.
- 1 gallon thick sour milk
- 1 1/2 tbsps. butter
- 1 1/2 tsps. salt
- 2/3 cup cream
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
Scald milk to 120 degrees F. or until it is too hot to hold your finger in it. Drain through a fine colander or cloth sack. Place in a crock and crumble until fine.
Add the salt and mix well. Cover with a cloth and set to ripen at room temperature for three days.
Mix soda in the cheese and let stand three hours. Melt butter in an aluminum pan or skillet and add the cheese. Stir until dissolved and then add the cream. Continue stirring until mixture comes to a boil. Pour in flat dishes or bowl to mold.
For stink cheese: Allow cheese to ripen in a warm place for five days instead of three.