This Wiki Article discusses different oil types use to oil rinds of aged cheeses. Oiling cheeses is, along with having a rind with high salt and low moisture, a traditional method of protecting cheeses from unwanted surface micro-organisms. Why, frequency, and methods of applying oil to rinds are discussed in the Wiki: Oiling Rinds article.
Selection of oil type for aging oiled rind cheeses is a personal preference, any edible oil (when used in moderation) with relatively long shelf life before oxidizing and going rancid will work. Oxidation can be mitigated by adding citric acid to the oil. Saturated fats like tallow or lard are the most resistant to rancidity. Mostly monounsaturated oils like olive oil and canola oil have long life before going rancid. Mostly polyunsaturated oils like grape seed oil go rancid quickly.
The following list is of oil types and their pros and cons effects, listed from most to least popular.
Olive Oil is about 75% monounsaturated oil (liquid at room temperature and semisolid or solid when refrigerated).
- Extra Light Olive Oil imparts a light flavor.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil imparts a strong fruity flavor.
- Herb infused olive oils will impart additional flavors. Basil is good for stronger cheeses, dill or crushed fennel for milder cheeses.
Rapeseed (canola) oil is about 58% monounsaturated and imparts a mostly neutral aroma and flavor.
Peanut oil, slight odor and flavor.
Butter has heavy saturated fats that last a long time before going rancid. However butter also contains proteins that over time degrade causing the oil to go rancid and thus it is not popular for oil sealing cheese rinds.
Butter does impart a popular buttery flavor.
Clarified Butter / Ghee
Clarified butter (commonly known as Ghee in India) is unsalted butter that has the milk solids and water removed so all that remains is pure liquid golden-yellow butterfat. The heavy saturated fats in clarified butter make it last a long time before going rancid. As clarifying removes the protein, it is comparable to lard.
As the process of clarifying the butter removes the milk solids, clarified butter imparts a light less rich buttery flavor than regular unsalted butter. But it can provide a nutty caramely “beurre noisette” aroma and flavor depending on how much the butter was cooked in the clarifying process.
Clarified butter or Ghee is available commercially or can be made at home from unsalted butter from recipes on the web.
Lard (pig fat), is about 40% monounsaturated fat and comparable to clarified butter.
Grape Seed Oil
Grape seed oil is high in polyunsaturates which can quickly go rancid thus it is only good for short aged cheeses as it will leave off flavors in cheeses aged for several months.
Sesame Seed Oil
Sesame seed oil has similar longevity issues to grape seed oil, it imparts a sesame flavor and additionally darkens the rind.
- Soy Bean Oil
- Avocado Oil, mostly monounsaturated fat.