How To Make Prehistoric Cheese

How To Make Prehistoric Cheese

So we’re here today in one of the replica
Neolithic houses at Stonehenge and today we’re going to be trying to make some cheese. I have to Penny Bickle with me from York University.
So what is the process and what do we need to do first? Well the first thing we need to do is heat
up the milk. Okay. So, we’re going to pour the milk into the
pot. We have some milk here, this is just normal,
ordinary modern milk from the supermarket. But they would of presumably had unpasteurised milk Yes, they would of had milk straight from
the cow. So we’re going to put this on the edge of
the fire. Yeah. So this is the type of Grooved Ware pottery
that we found in excavation at Durrington Walls How do we know that they were eating and drinking
milk? What we do is we take a piece of the pottery,
and we clean up the surfaces and then we analyse fats which have been absorbed into the walls of the pots themselves When we got a pot like this, that has been
used. This one has actually got a bit of black, you can see the residue on the inside, it’s
not that residue that you’re testing, its right within the clay in the pot. Yeah it’s really being absorbed into the clay
and its been preserved for over a thousand years that the pot has been in the ground. So let’s have a test of the milk and see how
hot is it getting. Yes! That’s getting warmer now, its time to add the rennet. Okay, I am going to take the pot away from
the fire now. Ahhh yeah, its great. That’s quite solid, it’s really worked. Okay so what happens next? Well now we need to strain away the whey from
the curd, we’re going to use this linen cloth and put it over this pot. So if I hold that there. So the pot is still actually quite warm. Okay. But I am going to use this spoon scoop off
the curd. So you’re to ladle that into here yeah? So what I’ll do is gather up the linen. So that is the whey draining off now. So we’ll leave it like that, to suspend on
the edge and we’ll come back in a couple of hours So you can see that the whey has stopped draining
out the cloth now. So if I pop in that little pot undo the muslin It is going to be a little bit like cottage
cheese. Ohh, it looks just like cottage cheese, it
looks nicer than cottage cheese. It looks like Ricotta. Yeah it does a bit doesn’t it. Shall we try and taste a bit? Yeah I think so. That’s quite nice, it tastes very milky doesn’t
it. Yeah but it tastes like ricotta, yeah. I could put that one a pizza. Yeah, there we go neolithic cheese.


  1. I wished they would have explained how renin would be present those days and film the milk straight from a cow. That'll get way more attention

  2. People still make this cheese in Lithuania (varškė), Poland, and Russia. It’s an ingredient in a large number of lithuanian dishes. It’s sweet with sugar and covered with chocolate( sūrėlis sg/ sūrėliai.) They use lemon or vinegar because rennet is hard to procure. If you want to make this at home, I suggest you use cultured butter milk or whole

  3. ah i love this kind of cheese. i used to make it a lot with my grandma! we call it puína!
    It can also be done with lemons instead of rennet.

  4. Did they keep Neolithic calves to harvest rennet from ? And were did they get Neolithic cheese cloth to strain it?  The recipe is interesting, but I wish it had been presented more authentic to the period.

  5. Not quite cheese, but more curd cheese or cottage cheese. And you can make it without rennet. You just need something acid to make soured milk. Or bread with yeast. Or you can wait – most of the time there are bacteria in or near by the milk and the milk will sour itself. Now you'll almost boil milk to kill the bacteria, but in prehistoric and in all, before refrigerators, the milk would sour and spoil and our ancestors would do anything not to lose precious food.

  6. Still made exactly with the same method in too many villages around the world, with the difference of shaping them into moulds.

  7. Awww was hoping you'd reenact it as if you were our prehistoric ancestors, like the victorian way videos! but really informative, nonetheless

  8. In Italy they used to use twigs from fig trees as rennet, and twisted willow branches as mould. Some people still use this method to make traditional ricotta cheese.

  9. How in the world did prehistoric peoples figure out that rennet makes cheese, and how did they work out how to get it? And how did they make linen?

  10. Missing some details here, where did they get their rennet from and then where is that linen coming from?
    Maybe next time invite John Plant from Primitive Technology over, he might do it the 100% authentic way. 😉

  11. This video is irrelevant due to the fact that this didn't educate us on how they lived back then and has nothing to do with a typical recipe from the Neolithic era, it's not as if they had left any recipe behind. Maybe if they had provided some specific scientific fact regarding dairy consumption based on radiocarbon dating , and how this dietary regimen impacted civilization or their culture it would've been much better.

  12. I've noticed many comments about using lemons instead of rennet, but where would our pre-historic culinarians have found lemons? Penny and Susan commented quite a few times that the cheese tastes like ricotta or cottage cheese. I believe vinegar can be used in that cooking process. I must say that I came her from The Victorian Way hoping to find two cavemen throwing shade about cheese processing. Ah well……

  13. Wish they would of explained it better especially the liquid stuff they put in the milk have no idea what she said in the first place the name of it and could of explained what it does how long to keep it near the fire before and after! She really left out some important things that would be a good history lesson and it you want to make it your self have no earthly idea what that is she put in the milk let alone what it does to it!
    ( BIG SIGH)! 😪🤔

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.