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Basic Welsh Rarebit with Milk


2 tablespoons butter
3 cups grated old Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
A dash of paprika
1/4 teaspoon English dry mustard (optional)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup evaporated milk or buttermilk
4 slices hot buttered toast


  • Prepare toast crusts and warm serving plates. See tips below.
  • Over boiling water melt butter and cheese together, stirring steadily with a wooden or plastic spoon in one direction only.
  • Add seasonings and do not interrupt your rhythmic stirring, as you pour in a bit at a time of the milk-and-egg mixture until it's all used up. It may take many minutes of constant stirring to achieve the essential creamy thickness and then some more to slick it out as smooth as velvet.
  • Keep it piping hot but don't let it bubble, for a boiled Rarebit is a spoiled Rarebit. Only unremitting stirring (and the best of cheese) will keep it from curdling, getting stringy or rubbery.
  • Pour the Rarebit generously over crisp, freshly buttered toast and serve instantly on hot plates.

Usually crusts are cut off the bread before toasting, and some people toast one side only, spreading the toasted side with cold butter for taste contrast.

Lay the toast on the hot plate, buttered side down, and pour the Rarebit over the porous untoasted side so it can soak in.

If you don't have evaporated milk or buttermilk, you can use thin cream or whole milk instead.

This basic recipes can be made without eggs, although the beaten egg is a guarantee against stringiness. When the egg is missing, we are sad to record that a teaspoon or so of cornstarch mixed with milk generally takes its place.

Many Welsh Rarebit lovers have found that Tabasco sauce steps up the flavor of natural cheese and put it in at the start. We can only tell you, it is little used and needs a cautious hand, but some addicts can't leave it out any more than they can swear off the Worcestershire sauce.

When it comes to pepper you are fancy-free. As both black and white pepper are now held in almost equal esteem, you might equip your hutch with twin hand-mills to do the grinding fresh, for this is always worth the trouble.

Rarebiteers are of two minds about fast and slow heating and stirring, so you'll have to adjust that to your own experience and rhythm. As a rule, the heat is reduced when the cheese is almost melted, and speed of stirring slows when the eggs and last ingredients go in.

The school that plumps for malty Rarebits and the other that goes for milky ones are equally emphatic in their choice. So let us consider the old compromise: "The idea of cooking a Rarebit with beer is an exploded and dangerous theory. Tap your keg or open your case of ale or beer and serve with, not in your Rarebit."

NOTE: Although the original bread for Rarebit toast was white, there is now no limit in choice among whole wheat, graham, rolls, muffins, buns, croutons, crackers, or any other bread you like.

Did You Know?

Another name for Welsh Rarebit is Welsh Rabbit. It is a dish made with a savoury sauce of melted cheese and various other ingredients and served hot, after being poured over slices (or other pieces) of toasted bread, r the hot cheese sauce may be served in a chafing dish like a fondue, accompanied by sliced, toasted bread. The names of the dish originate from 18th-century Great Britain.


No Welshmen in Heaven

God became weary of all the Welshmen in heaven, 'which with their krakynge and babelynge trobelyd all the others', and asked the Porter of Heaven Gate, St Peter, to do something about it. So St Peter went outside the gates and called in a loud voice ' Cause bobe, yt is as moche to say as rostyd chese ': at which all the Welshmen ran out, and when St Peter saw they were all outside, he went in and locked the gates, which is why there are no Welshmen in heaven.

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