This wiki article discusses semi-sealing traditional natural rind development of pressed cheeses during aging. These encompass a range of rind development methods commonly used by cheese makers of old and still very common. This article does not cover high sealing and often more modern cheese protection systems such as:
- Wax Coating (common on Gouda and Edam cheeses for protection during shipping).
- Sealed Vacuum Plastic (common on many cheeses).
- Cheesecloth wrapping and larding (common on some cheddars).
- Milk based edible casein based bag or cloth wrapping cheese as common with large Gouda wheels. This is the same material used for modern labels on large cheeses.
Rinds of cheeses are started to be formed during the pressing stage of making cheese, they are a critical component of cheese during aging as it protects the interior of the cheese to allow it to ripen harmoniously by acting as a barrier to unwanted micro-organisms and to dehydration. Its presence thus affects the final flavor of the cheese.
Salting plays an important role in natural rind formation. Heavily surface salted cheeses develop a thick, tough outer rind, typified by the Swiss range of cheeses. Cheddar, another natural rind cheese, is less salted than the Swiss varieties, and consequently has a much thinner rind.
Different natural rind developments are discussed below:
Clean Natural Rind
To create a truly hygienically clean natural rind with no induced microorganisms is very hard to do due to high chance of airborne wild contaminants and thus this method is almost never done.
Brine & Salt Rubbed Rind
Cheeses can be intermittantly once per week washed with saturated brine and then rubbed with coarse salt to build a hard thick neutral pH natural rind. It is important to keep the humidity of the aging environment down after rubbing the salt on as the resultant moisture on the rind as the salt is absorbed as brine can cause areas of unwanted yeast infection. Cheese makers often oil their cheeses after several weeks of brining and salting.
Oiling rinds with food grade oil is very common and discussed in the Wiki: Oiling Rinds article.
Benign Microorganism Rinds – Added During Pressing/Brining Phase
A protective rind is preferred from ????bugs.
Benign Microorganism Rinds – Added After Pressing/Brining Phase
Many cheeses have their natural rind coated with a permeable barrier to control unwanted microorganisms during aging. Examples are washing the rind with a fluid with live microorganisms such as beer, cider, wine.