If you start a gouda in the time between morning milking and seven fifteen mass — one hand stirring the culture, the other stirring the breakfast hash that will stay warm in acast iron skillet until we get home — , the hour-long rennetting just about matches the long sermons at the monastery. Someone cuts the curd while the breakfast eggs are frying. Gouda curd is cooked at a low temperature, by adding hot water to the whey, so there is no need for a water jacket — not that we have a water jacket. Short pitching and pressing times mean that the cheesemaker finds herself, at nine-thirty in the morning, with the breakfast dishes done, a five-pound cheese in the press, and time to call her mother, help people with their math lessons, and hang a load of laundry.
All this is noteworthy in a life where melee is punctuated only thinly by episodic completion.