Author Topic: Mouldy basement taste  (Read 1475 times)

Offline sofusryge

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Mouldy basement taste
« on: January 06, 2013, 09:44:26 AM »
I made my first Parmesan a couple of month ago. It didn't vent well - the curds got all to dry, and although i initially got a decent knit, the cheese cracked up pretty bad ind the cave. It contracted some blue mold on the surface and in the cracks. In a rescueattempt, i cut of and discarded the outer cracked up parts of the cheese, and waxed the remains to keep it from drying out further. In the weeks to follow, i watch a bit of blue mold grow under the wax, in the parts where it had entered the cracks. I let it grow in these few spots, in the believe that it would only ad a touch of "blue" to parts of the cheese.

Today i wanted to re-wax the parm, as i was going to wax a Caerphilly anyway. I peeled of the wax and scooped out the parts that was infected with the mold. The cracks where pretty much filled with the dark blue/blackish stuff. I had a taste of the cheese beneath the mouldy parts, and yuck! It had a terrible mouldy basement taste and smell, absolutely horrible  :o Not nice "blue" taste at all! The rest of the cheese got converted into (very expensive) chicken feed - the taste seemed to have slightly permeated the whole cheese.

How to recognise this type of mould ind the future? It makes me a little nervous of the Stilton ripening unprotected in the cave, and what about my plans of making a wild rind style Tomme next week? If it contracts this sort of mould, it will not be edible.



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Offline BobE102330

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Re: Mouldy basement taste
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2013, 10:40:42 AM »
I feel your pain - I lost a wheel of montasio the same way - it was in a vented container in the basement. I thought I's be OK since I didn't smell any moldy basement smell and it was very dry. 

What are you using for a cave?  Scrub down your cave with a sanitizer or bleach solution.  You want to kill that nasty stuff, and let the cave get "reinfected" only with good molds.

Does your Stilton smell of PR?  Then you should be OK. 

Good luck.

Offline sofusryge

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Re: Mouldy basement taste
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2013, 10:48:06 AM »
This is my cave: http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,10288.15.html  - look at reply #25. To large and troublesome to disinfect I'm afraid. The Stilton smells nice so far, but it's going to age out for another 60 days in the cave.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Mouldy basement taste
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2013, 12:09:51 PM »
Quote
If it contracts this sort of mould, it will not be edible.
This is not necessarily true. If you produce an inclusion-free rind and age it so it does not crack, any wild mold, even the very proteolytic ones do not penetrate very far beyond the surface. Read my tomme thread where I detail the process for using cloth to ensure a rind free from inclusions.

If your cave has an infection like that, it's not very suitable for making softer cheeses like blues and bloomies. Have to clean or use containers for microaffinage.
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Offline Tiarella

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Re: Mouldy basement taste
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2013, 12:45:36 PM »
This is a helpful discussion.  I'd love to have my fledgling theories corrected or validated or tweaked.  it seems to me that there is no way to avoid wild mold spoors that travel freely everywhere.  They travel on our clothes, breezes,etc and the best we can do is create a cheese rind bioterrain that is comfortable, hospitable and attractive to the fungus, bacteria and yeasts that we want and inhospitable to the ones we don't want.  it is like our body bioterrain.....the germ theory was retracted by Pastuer on his deathbed if I remember correctly.  He saw healthy cells turn into disease fungi, virus', and yeasts when the bioterrain was too unhealthy.

What I think I've been learning for my particular situation (and I don't know enough to know how much it or parts of it apply across the board) is that blue molds are going to hit all my hard cheeses and I can brush, wash  or wipe it off to control it and that at some point it stops being an issue.  I have not waxed or cream coated any cheeses yet so while that is a viable option it's not one I can speak to.  I have had luck rubbing hard cheeses with olive oil once their rind is dry and this has kept mold away even on some with a few minor surface cracks.  Paprika/olive oil paste coated cheeses have done well with the blue mold patted down or rubbed to discourage it and I'd also like to try this with an entire progression of succession molds but haven't yet.

I've also used Alp's alpine method of rind formation with some success although this is still.a new process and not proven out yet, nor have I mastered it.  I do notice though that no blue molds grow during this method and I like that. 

I am trying Mycodore in my latest Tomme make to see what I can do with that. 

My aging happens in mini-cave boxes with me adjusting ventilation and in a wine fridge(sometimes within boxes, sometimes not).  I have B linens wild and from PLA, I have blue mold(yeasts?) and by now a fair amount of PC around given how many batches of bloomy cheeses I've made.  For me it's working so far to be curious about what is happening on a rind and to think of my response choices and choose based on which direction I want the cheese to head in.  At this point I am not set on a particular cheese coming out a certain way as long as it's tasty  (no guarantees but mostly good outcomes) and that makes it a bit easier to not fret.  I also can't see any possible way to avoid the wild stuff without disinfection chambers that I have to pass through every time I enter the cheese area and since my cheeses are made in our kitchen with vegetables and roots stored in the same room it's already too late by the time they get to the aging area.

At first I was overwhelmed by cheese aging care but now it's feeling more relaxing because I've seen how easy it can be to address the various incursions of hitchhiking micro-organisms.  There is so much to learn but I'm enjoying it!


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Offline Al Lewis

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Re: Mouldy basement taste
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2013, 03:18:22 PM »
I'm very new to this but from what I've read any mold on the cheese that is there during waxing or vacuum bagging will continue to grow and destroy the cheese.  Also, I was under the impression, from the videos I've watched and info I've gleaned off of sites, that parm should really be coated in olive oil and flipped and wiped regularly.  Hope I'm right because I plan on making a big one soon.


Offline sofusryge

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Re: Mouldy basement taste
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2013, 12:22:53 AM »
Linux: I would not want this sort of mould even on the outside of the cheese. Although the core might be edible, the smell is very unappetizing. But maybe it wont get to that very smelly stage unless it grows undisturbed in a moist environment under the wax. The cave is not necessarily the problem, the cheese could have been infected at various occasions before it got to the cave. I guess I'll find out during the affinage of the next few cheeses.

Tiarella: I do not mind wild spores on my cheeses, i just want them to contribute to the flavor in a positive way  ::) Like you i make my cheeses in my kitchen next to all the other things that are going on in a not so typical kitchen, and that almost begs for all sorts of spores floating around everywhere around the cheese. I have to learn to control them better though.

Al: You are right, a Parm should not be waxed. Trouble is, my Parms are 2 lbs cheeses, not at all like the 100 lbs wheels that the Italians produce. If i'm going to age them for a year, I'm afraid they will resemble big yellow hockey pucks when i try to cut into them.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Mouldy basement taste
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2013, 12:43:56 AM »
I get what you're saying, but there is a surprising bit about cheese with a good rind... even with the worst mold and the worst smell, if it has no inclusions, and is aged out well, when you cut off the rind, the inner paste is tasty. The worse the mold, the drier the cheese needs to be to be edible. You're right though, all that only works on a larger cheese.
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Offline Boofer

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Re: Mouldy basement taste
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2013, 09:07:40 AM »
If i'm going to age them for a year, I'm afraid they will resemble big yellow hockey pucks when i try to cut into them.
Perhaps instead of coating with olive oil, several layers of a cream coating applied to the dry, developed rind of a Parm might be a suitable alternative. I've never heard of that but my recent experience with it on my 6-month-old Beaufort #4 preserved the cheese very nicely. The rind stayed dry under the coating, the paste did not lose moisture excessively, and the cream coating permitted the exchange of gases from the cheese.

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Offline mightyMouse.tar.gz

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Re: Mouldy basement taste
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2013, 12:49:57 PM »
I get what you're saying, but there is a surprising bit about cheese with a good rind... even with the worst mold and the worst smell, if it has no inclusions, and is aged out well, when you cut off the rind, the inner paste is tasty. The worse the mold, the drier the cheese needs to be to be edible. You're right though, all that only works on a larger cheese.

Agreed. I have had some cheese with some pretty nasty stuff on the outside come out really good on the inside.
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Offline sofusryge

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Re: Mouldy basement taste
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2013, 10:33:55 AM »
Well, found the nasty mold on another Caerphilly aging in the cellar. I spotted a few very small patches of the greenish/blueish mold growing on the cheese, which i removed with a saturated brine at once. a few days later it popped back up, and i took it to the kitchen and gave it a thorough scrubdown with saturated brine and vinegar. I let it airdry for some hours, but the bad mouldy basement smell just stuck to the rind to such a degree, that i chose to cut of the rind and vac pack the cheese. Fortunately, the innards smelled just fine  8) It's one of two Caerphillys that i have aging at the moment. I'm doing a bit of experimentation with cultures to determin the difference in taste profile, so I'm glad that i was able to salvage most of the cheese.

I think I've found the source of the contamination though. The roof over my garage is leaking, and the water seeps through some wooden ceiling panels at the entrance to the cellar, dripping down on the cellar floor. As the wooden ceiling panels are quite mouldy, this will of course provide a steady source of contaminants to the environment of the cellar. Gotta sort that out come summer. Until then I'm gonna wax or vacpack everything that goes in to the cellar to avoid more throwouts.

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Mouldy basement taste
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2013, 06:31:06 AM »
If you can bear to experiment, may I suggest that you leave one cheeses without wax or bag and just keep wiping rind off when you see mold?  If there're no cracks I think it might be fine inside.  Or try some competing molds....?  keep us posted.  I'm curious how it goes.

Offline sofusryge

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Re: Mouldy basement taste
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2013, 03:40:28 AM »
Tiarella: It would be an interesting experiment, as LB says - if the rind is properly maintained, the cheese inside will probably be OK to eat. Trouble is, the smell is very bad in a bad way, enough to put me off the thought of eating the cheese hours after I've been exposed to it. I'm not very fussy about smells and tastes, i happily eat very old Danbo-style cheeses that reeks of ammonia and almost liquefy (danish "Gammelost"), but the mouldy basement smell just puts me off in a very definitive way.

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Mouldy basement taste
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2013, 06:31:50 AM »
Aaah, I see.  That IS very sad.   :(

Offline Al Lewis

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Re: Mouldy basement taste
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2013, 07:15:08 PM »
Sofus do you guys have Kilz over there?  http://www.kilz.com/primer/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=b5ee90033f9ff110VgnVCM1000008a05d103RCRD  If so you could treat your cave with it.  I have used it in the past and can definitely recommend it.  It will seal your walls from moisture and kill any mold or mildew that tries to form on the walls or floor.  It won't help the roof but you could staple some plastic sheeting up to isolate that problem.  Just a thought.