Author Topic: Pressed Cheeses With Fine Surface Fissures - Unwanted Blue/Green Surface Moulds - Cause, Solution &  (Read 1265 times)

Offline george13

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The most frustrating part of aging my cheese is cross-contamination by green/blue mould.  I am OCD about sanitary environments, and I have an entire refrigerator designated for non blue mould cheeses, which I wash with chlorine solution and vinegar.  Every time I make an aged cheese, that festideous green mould gets into the tiny oppenings and although I wash the rind, it just manages to make a home.  Do the commercial cheese makers use some type of anti-fungal substance on the rind during the early stages of aging.  This is very frustrating.


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Offline Tiarella

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Hi George, I feel your pain.  This is a question I have also.  I think I understand from others here that washing regularly with a salt brine (and for some adding some white wine to that) will likely take your rind to a nice condition but that it must pass through some rather icky places first.  Also, I notice that temperature and humidity play a role as well as air circulation.  it seems to help if I open my cheese fridge twice a day for an exchange of air.  The wild blues definitely are opportunistic and they show up on everything.  I've been experimenting with letting them stay but brushing or wiping them.  Also trying olive oil rubs on some cheeses. 

There is something called "Natamycin" (not sure if I spelled it right) that is natural and will prevent mold.  Do a search on it.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: January 24, 2014, 07:08:41 AM by Tiarella »

Offline H-K-J

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Offline Alpkäserei

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As tiarella mentioned, washing the cheese properly is important.

What you want for a washed rind cheese is to encourage the growth of something that will make the rind inhospitable to molds. This is b. linens. You will find this are wild everywhere, just like your mold. Though if you keep your cheese in a refrigerator all of the time you may have a harder time getting them to grow -you might want to leave your cheese exposed to the air for a few hours when you wash it so that the b. linens can find it.

Alcohol and vinegar both condition the rind against mold -they are highly toxic to molds, and will kill them on contact. They will also add flavor to the rind so this you must also consider. If you do not wish the flavor of wine for example, then you can buy b. linens and make a paste that is used to wash the cheese (in German this is called a Schmier) then you rub the cheese with dry salt and wash with the Schmier.

Many big cheese operations use highly controlled conditions and extreme sanitation of their aging rooms to prevent molds because hey have hundreds of heavy cheeses to wash so this for them is cheaper. But it is not necessary, if we wash the rinds in a proper way cross contamination will not be a problem. I have on my aging shelves nice washed rind cheeses and on the shelf below or above there may be a moldy rind cheese, but since I wash all of my cheeses with alcohol the mold cannot spread.

So if you age your cheese in a refrigerator (I age mine in a cellar -there is no possibility of preventing mold from being in the air. Even though I have washed the floor and walls with lime wash) then this is how you prevent contamination:

1. You wash with alcohol or vinegar, and each time leave the cheese open to the outside air for a while so that b. linens will grow on it.

2. wash your cheese with b. linens or mix b. linens in with the culture depending on the cheese, but continue to wash at least with very salty water.

The problem with mold is that it is everywhere. There are billions of spores in the air, especially if you live in a humid environment. Everybody has mold growing on every square inch of their skin. There are microscopic mold growths on anything around that can supply a food source for it. So keeping the mold out is impossible. The solution is to make the cheese totally inhospitable for mold.
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Offline Oude Kaas

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If the rind on the cheese isn't completely sealed, mould will find its way into the cheese no matter what you use to wash the cheese neither how often you do this.


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Offline george13

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Thank you all, it is very frustrating since washing rinds all the time is very time consuming.  I will try alcohol, will vodka do the job or do I need higher concentrations.  I have tried vinegar, but I fear the smell will alter the taste.  That Natamycin looks interesting, I wonder if you would need to declare that on the ingredient list by law?  I guess more research is in order.  Thanks again

Offline H-K-J

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I will try alcohol, will vodka do the job or do I need higher concentrations.

Two or three shots of it in the cheese maker and I'm ready to go, don't even worry about the mold after that :P
seriously, I'm not to sure how the Vodka will work, I'm thinking it would also depend on the type of cheese.
I'm sure there are others who will have a better answer for you. ;)
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Offline timothy

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hi i made a farm house blue which is aging nicely then 2weeks later i made a edam an i forgot to clean the press head. now my edam has blue mold growing through it. would the fact that i didn,t clean my press contaminate my edam? so now has it become a blue edam?

Offline Alpkäserei

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If the rind on the cheese isn't completely sealed, mould will find its way into the cheese no matter what you use to wash the cheese neither how often you do this.

proper washing should make a smooth, sealed rind. If you can't do this, then it must be that your pressing is so poorly done as to leave huge cracks in which case there is nothing to be done to keep mold and yeast away.
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Offline Tiarella

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Alp,  maybe this is a good time and place to go over what you said on another thread about washing the cheese to get a good rind.  I think you said that washing with water/white wine/salt would create a great rind but it would go through a icky phase first.  I can't remember how you described that phase and I'd like to hear about it again and maybe an explanation of what is happening during that phase.

I am trying your suggestion by the way......and I do have a washed curd cheese that is sort of sticky, slimy and I'm hoping it's just that phase you talked about. 


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Offline Oude Kaas

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If you can't do this, then it must be that your pressing is so poorly done as to leave huge cracks in which case there is nothing to be done to keep mold and yeast away.
This is exactly my point. Even small fissures or holes between the curd will allow for mould penetration into the cheese, they don't have to be huge cracks!

Offline Alpkäserei

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When you wash the rind a number of things happen. One is you are dissolving the surface of the cheese to some degree (even more so if you have alcohol) and another is you are helping to breed b. linens on the surface.

The enzymes of the cheese as well as enzymes produced by the bacteria on its surface form a sticky paste, which is obviously quite high in proteins as it is very glue-like. You will actually get slime in your wash brine from this too -don't worry about it or throw out the brine, it is just cheese enzymes and not spoilage.

This goo can get pretty heavy at times (like the middle of a humid summer) and this is a good thing, it will naturally fill any tiny fissures and smooth over all imperfections in the cheese. The exception of course are large cracks which are past hope.

Now a recap in simple terms.

We wash our cheese daily -but only the side that will be on top. We wet our brush with the wash brine, and rub it around until we have a nice cream. The first wash or two there is not much, but after a few days it is very thick.

The liquid 'melts' the surface of the cheese to make this cream, which harbors beneficial bacteria growth.
It is important that during the first stage of rind formation, the rind be always wet. If it dries off to the point where it is merely damp, that is when mold will grow. Mold grows on damp, not on wet.

You don't want it too wet. It should not be wet to the point where it is drippy or runny. You want to use each time just enough brine so that it forms a good thick cream, and then rub this cream all around so that it smooths out the surface of the cheese.

Also when you make a washed rind like this, it will smell kind of like dirty feet. That's a good thing. But once you let it dry off, the smell goes away.

After a rind has been thoroughly conditioned like this, mold will not be able to grow on it. I have even tried to introduce blue mold to the surface of such a cheese and it simply cannot grow.
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Offline Tiarella

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Thank you!!!  That was an even more thorough explanation and now I know to not let the cheeses get too dry.  I had thought they had to get dry before I put them back into the cheese fridge. How long do you keep up this regimen?

Offline Tomer1

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Offline H-K-J

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We wash our cheese daily -but only the side that will be on top. We wet our brush with the wash brine, and rub it around until we have a nice cream. The first wash or two there is not much, but after a few days it is very thick.
The liquid 'melts' the surface of the cheese to make this cream, which harbors beneficial bacteria growth.
It is important that during the first stage of rind formation, the rind be always wet. If it dries off to the point where it is merely damp, that is when mold will grow. Mold grows on damp, not on wet.


Great information, wish I had it five days ago, I haven't been trying to get a slurry on my Swiss so now I will be washing a little more vigorously :-[
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