Author Topic: Brown Dust has me stumped  (Read 872 times)

Offline Alpkäserei

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Brown Dust has me stumped
« on: October 24, 2013, 01:16:42 PM »
I have some cheese aging in the cellar at home -some cheeses for me. Everything is fin, except for one oddity I can't figure out. There is a brown dust that appears,. normally I expect a white dust, but in this case it is brown. I do not know what this is, it has not caused any problems and has not resulted in any bad flavors. It acts like the normal white dust (geo) especially in it stubbornness and unstoppable-nature (you can't kill the stuff) I've left it alone.  Just don't know what it is and I would like to

It appears after the rinds have dried off from washing and does not appear to penetrate into the cheese (i.e. it is aerobic, or so it would seem)

Some time, I might get a picture if needed.
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser


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Offline Gürkan Yeniçeri

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Re: Brown Dust has me stumped
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2013, 03:55:42 PM »
Mucor (though it should be grey or close to black I think) or old standard of camembert has been known to develope brown spots.

From Wikipedia
Quote
Before fungi were understood, the color of camembert rind was a matter of chance, most commonly blue-grey, with brown spots. From the early 20th century onwards, the rind has been more commonly pure white, but it was not until the mid-1970s that pure white became standard.


Offline linuxboy

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Re: Brown Dust has me stumped
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2013, 04:46:01 PM »
Take a pic, please, it's hard to even guess otherwise. Coloration may be all over the place even for a single species.
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Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Brown Dust has me stumped
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2013, 05:42:39 PM »




Here are some pictures.

First off, the dark color of the rind is due to the wash, don't pay attention to that. Secret recipes, etc. Just look at the brown dust. This brown dust appears on all cheeses, regardless of the rind coloration. Notice that it is concentrated most in the middle, where moisture is higher, and also that there is a white powdery film underneath, which appeared first.

It is definitely not 'spotty' and is a secondary growth that takes over once the rind dries off and the BL calms down.

The smell is not earthy or mushroomy, if anything it is slightly acidic and even citric, but that is hard to judge because acid tones might just be due to the wash solution. All the evidence weighed, I'm thinking this is just a brown strain of the same dust that is usually white, at least in the Alps, and this particular strain also happens to be particularly fast-growing.
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser

Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Brown Dust has me stumped
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2013, 05:51:53 PM »
in other news, here is the same cheese after brushing down.



Normally, I'd brush off the dust every few days or so, this one has been neglected lately and had too much dust left on it (which gave me a good opportunity to photograph and ask about it)

Now my nose is filled with a sort of dirty orangy odor

This cheese, by the way, was made July 7 2012
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser


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Offline jwalker

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Re: Brown Dust has me stumped
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2013, 07:53:45 PM »
Cheese mites ?

Just guessing.

Cheese mites are small insects
which are just visible to the naked eye.
Whey they attack cheese they will first
be detected as a brown powder on the
surface of the cheese or in small cracks
or breaks in the paraffin. When cheese
mites are permitted to act on the cheese
for a long time, they borrow into the
cheese, leaving behind them the
characteristic accumulation of brown
powder, which consists of dead mites,
living mites, cheese debris and excreta.
This brown powder has a characteristic
sharp, pungent odor.
No..........I'm not a professional CheeseMaker , but I play one on TV.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Brown Dust has me stumped
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2013, 10:03:57 PM »
That looks like classic mites. :). Vacuum them off, or ozone the room, or use DE, age on edge (I know, nontraditional anathema), or some combination of those remediation options.
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Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Brown Dust has me stumped
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2013, 10:34:45 PM »
Yes after hearing the suggestion I examined, yep that's what it is. little white bugs can be seen on close examination.

So I brushed everything off, brushed the cheese with straight wine and wiped off a good deal of liquid and disposed of it, Then washed everything nearby -shelves, etc. and discarded anything that could have harbored mites.

It's my fault for neglecting this wheel. Fortunately this is not in my aging room but in the cellar at home. Unfortunately, that means it will take a lot of cleaning before I can put more cheese down there.

If you couldn't tell, I've never battled cheese mites before. The great deal of care given to our cheeses I suspect makes them inhospitable under normal circumstances.
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser

Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Brown Dust has me stumped
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2013, 10:35:44 PM »
Are standard pyrethrins like used for farm animals effective?
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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Brown Dust has me stumped
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2013, 11:30:00 PM »
Yes, should work in theory. What concentration? Have to kill adult and larva stage, or repeat. But I have never tried pyrethrins personally. I have, however, used DE, vacuum, ozone, and edge aging, or combo of methods. current favorite is rotation to age on edge and vacuuming.
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Offline WovenMeadows

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Re: Brown Dust has me stumped
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2013, 05:22:44 AM »
LB, what is the rationale for aging on edge for mite prevention? Do they need the flat surface of a flat wheel? Or do they tend to work on the underside, between shelf and cheese?

Also, is there any reason they would prefer this type of cheese washed with wine or other alcohol, herbs, etc? (Alp's "secret recipe")?

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Brown Dust has me stumped
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2013, 05:41:58 AM »
Quote
Do they need the flat surface of a flat wheel?
They prefer an easier surface to colonize. It's a physical prevention strategy against total infestation. You'll still get the odd wheel or two with mites.
Quote
Or do they tend to work on the underside, between shelf and cheese?
not really, no.
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Offline Tomer1

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Re: Brown Dust has me stumped
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2013, 08:27:13 AM »
Whats DE?
Amatuar winemaker,baker, cook and musician
not in any particular order.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Brown Dust has me stumped
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2013, 11:10:16 AM »
diatomaceous earth. desiccates them.
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Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Brown Dust has me stumped
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2013, 11:19:06 AM »
regarding aging on their sides, the long aged cheeses will be stored this way in the final aging room, there is nothing wrong or 'anathema' about this at all, the only problem is cheeses stored such do dry a little bit faster, but it's the best way to ensure even aging and such on long-stored cheeses that only get washed maybe once or twice a week.

Researching a bit into them (because I've never had to fight cheese mites before) it seems to me, some level of mite attack in open aging conditions are inevitable, but regular washing practices seem to hold them at bay and keep them from infesting the cheese. From what I understand, if I keep the cheeses washed off regularly, the tiny mites are unable to reproduce quickly and are unable to do any more than surface attacks to the rind. With cheeses like mine, it would seem, they only become a problem if, like this case, the cheeses are neglected for a few weeks.

Also I've read they like dark, and as such do tend to attack the underside of the wheels when stored flat.
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser