Roman ceramic Cheese Press

Contributed by The Hunterian

Roman ceramic Cheese Press

This cheese press, from Balmuildy Roman fort, is from the collection of the Hunterian Museum and was selected by Louisa Hammersley, postgraduate student at the Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow. Louisa writes - cheese presses are rare finds in Scotland and this is an extremely well preserved example. Without refrigeration, it would have been impossible to keep milk fresh during the 2nd century and it was normal practice for milk to be converted into butter or cheese to enable long-term storage. Bacteria formed as milk warmed, causing it to curdle, curds and whey were separated, curds were treated by cutting and shredding to make hard cheese. They were then placed into perforated cheese presses which allowed whey to be drained away and curds hardened into the shape of the press. I like this because cheese is still made the same way today and it shows how Roman practices influence our lives in the present day.

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  • 1 comment
  • 1. At 18:32 on 14 November 2012, Kitren wrote:

    As was pointed out with similar artifacts found in Great Britain, this is a cheese mold, not a cheese press. An historic explanation, posted at follows:

    F for Faisselle (Cheese strainer)

    This is a cheese mould, that comes in different shapes and sizes, with holes made in it so that the whey which is added can drain. The word comes from the Latin fiscellae. These strainers were originally made from baked clay, stoneware or porcelain, and later in wood, iron, aluminium, plastic

    Two more related words:

    FAISSELLIER : instrument used for pressing curds in Neufchatel cheese.

    FAISCINE : word related to the above with Latin origin meaning a whey mould and used in the region around Tours.

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Balmuildy farm, Strathclyde


second century AD


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