Dairy products supplied much of the protein eaten by the peasants during the Middle Ages.
- Sheep's milk was more common than cows’ milk during the medieval period.
- Use non-fat (skim) milk since homogenization was not invented until 1899.
Before that time, cream was typically skimmed from the top of the milk (to be used separately) before the milk used.
- Butter was a luxury during the Middle Ages.
- In medieval times, butter was often clarified to improve its keeping properties.
- After the fall of Rome and through much of the Middle Ages, butter was a common food across most of Europe,
but one with a low reputation, and was consumed principally by peasants.
- Butter was not accepted by the upper class until the early 16th century when the Roman Catholic Church allowed its consumption during Lent.
- Virtually all general types of cheese are period. Some specific medieval cheeses are Munster, Cheshire, Beaufort, Emmental, and Comté.
Ricotta is also period.
- Munster was developed in the 7th century by the monks of the "Monasterium Confluentes" in order to preserve milk and feed the great numbers of people crowding round the monastery.
- Cheshire is one of the oldest English cheeses, it can be dated back to Roman Britain and is also mentioned in the Domesday Book.
- Comté was produces at "fruitieres" (founded in 1267), the ancestor of dairy cooperatives in the Doubs region and produced big wheels of these cheeses.
- The oldest writings mentioning yogurt are those of Pliny the Elder, who lived in the 1th century AD
and wrote about ancient barbarous nations that knew how “to thicken the milk into a substance with an agreeable acidity".
- Yogurt was eaten in the Middle East before, during, and after the medieval period.
- Yogurt did not become popular in Europe until it was used to cure the King of France (François I) in 1542 (severe
Fats and Oils