Nathan, it's been my experience that at least for hard cheeses, PLA takes awhile to get going on the linens cascade. Reblochons and similar, no, takes off quickly, as you've probably experienced. Haven't really done too much with PLA in awhile (except the little wheel, see below), so I don't know if it was something about the blend, or my affinage at the time - these were new tommes and "Beauforts", in a new cave system a couple years ago and I really knew nothing about affinage at the time (OK, I still don't
)...eventually I bagged PLA and went with my own blend, then simply went to using existing rinds to seed my cheeses, and my cave. The latter morge method was by far the most successful, and I think so long as my inspectors are OK with the process, it will be my method on all linens-heavy, hard cheeses from now on.
I used to fear rind rot, so didn't keep my rinds wet enough, I believe. With these hard rinds, the Aw is already so low, and linens love the moisture, so for instance on this little mini-alpine (really mini - about a pound - just used a gallon of raw to make whey culture, and didn't want to toss the curds so made this little dude), I keep it fairly well drenched, and linens is slow but sure. Which is what you want on an alpine, at least the ones I'm more familiar with. It's a kind of layering of live cells, and lysis, over time. Nothing like the soft washed cheeses, in my experience.
Here's this little mini-alpine, a little over 2 months. 92% RH, 55F:
What the hell, a couple more. A tomme that got no drying off period after brining....I just wanted to experiment, haven't even cared about managing blues...just wanted to see what happens with such a wet wheel in a wet (92% RH) environment. About 2 months:
And finally, a raw milk tomme that got 24 hours only of drying off, then into a 95% RH cave. It's at about 6 weeks:
You can see little flecks of blue here and there. Honestly, I think part of a blue management scheme, is to just load the hell out of one's cave. Outcompete, not eradicate. I'm sure you know this. Anyway, this one is prone to lots of little spots, the reed-basket webbing are great little crevices for minor blues infestations. I vinegar and salt them, as they come up.
Lot of words, hope there was something helpful there.
I am moving to a new location and have an entire basement, with different spaces (including a root cellar) for me to build out. My main cave will be kept at about 94% RH and 55F; it's where I'll be putting my Abondance trials. These will all be investigations of linens-heavy rinds, Nathan and if it helps, I'll post stuff here as it comes up.
BTW, I love my (concave, Abondance) hoop, harp and baguette, the flexible piece of spring stainless used to dive into the vat, and sweep up the curd in one fell swoop!: