Friday, March 7, 2014

How to Make Cheese Glue, c. 1300

Tacuinum sanitatis, ÖNB Cod. Vindob. s. n. 2644, f. 30r (14th c.) 

"Take old cheese, and cut it into little pieces, then put them in water for two full days or more. Then grind them well on a marble stone. Then add to them almost as much good quicklime, and grind them well together, and it is the best glue; use it immediately while it is moist. This glue joins wood very well and when it is dry it is dissolved by neither fire nor water." 
Secretum philosophorum (c. 1300)
State-of-the-art adhesive technology circa 1300! Behold its excellence, its durability, its beguiling cheesy aroma.


  1. Ah, but what kind of cheese? Does anything in modern cheese making that would throw this off and I would need some kind of "natural" cheese?

  2. My personal experiments show that a non-hard cheese works really well. But I didn't soak my hard cheese (I tried hard and soft cheese to see what worked) for as long as this text suggests. I used Theophilus On Divers Arts and it worked fantastic with the soft cheese.

    Modern cheese recipes would be no different to medieval cheese recipes, only thing that has really changed cheese-wise is the sanitation side of things.

  3. Kevin: Just as long as it is "cheese" and not "cheez" - in other words, as long as you actually have paracasein to bond with the calcium in the lime to make your casein glue - you're probably A-ok.