Author Topic: Penicillum candidum - Propagation?  (Read 1974 times)

Offline Cornelius

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Penicillum candidum - Propagation?
« on: April 25, 2009, 02:57:40 PM »
Hi everybody,

Does anybody have any experience with letting white mold ripened cheeses develop their mold naturally? I always read how in the old days, molds developed on the surfaces of cheeses simply because they were present in the cave. Now, it is obvious that in today's commercial production molds are added in order to ensure consistency, however, there must still be a way to follow the traditional method.

I have been making white mold ripened cheeses since about Christmas and have dedicated a fridge to the sole purpose of aging those cheeses. In the beginning I naturally had several cheeses stuck to cheese mattes and those became gooey and sticky, but with no more than white mold. I decided to not wash these mattes and simply hang them inside my cave (fridge). They have been there and a few were added ... I monitor them to make sure nothing else grows on them, but beyond that, they are happy.

I continue to mist my fresh cheese batches with re-hydrated spores, but I would like to stop because they are expensive and not available where I live (btw, I never add any spores/molds directly to the milk and simply use an atomizer to spray some on cheeses which are about to go inside the cave). Is it possible to let the molds propagate naturally and is there a danger in doing so - could other (potentially harmful) molds/bacteria take over? I currently add one batch of fresh cheese to the cave weekly and I am sure a certain amount of mold that grows on my cheese does not grow as a result of my atomizer, but I have yet to test the virgin cheese in that cave ...


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Offline Cornelius

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Re: Penicillum candidum - Propagation?
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2009, 02:26:03 AM »
I have been meaning to update this post as I have abandoned this process a while back. Other, black, molds started growing on the mats and it was too difficult to try and keep them under control. I guess the white (candidum) mold grows on acidic/salty surfaces and once these properties are gone (consumed by the mold), other molds will happily take over.

I could never really tell whether or not my cheeses really developed mold growth from the mold spores that were present in the fridge ...

Offline FRANCOIS

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Re: Penicillum candidum - Propagation?
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2009, 07:01:30 PM »
That is also a really good way to give someone listeria.  All cheese contact surfaces should be cleaned after use.  There are sanitation laws in dairies for a reason.

Offline Cornelius

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Re: Penicillum candidum - Propagation?
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2009, 02:43:51 AM »
Francois,

Thanks for your input - I wish you'd joined the forum a little earlier as I had those mattes hanging in my fridge for a good month ...

I do thoroughly clean everything else when making cheese and sanitize work surfaces as well as storage areas and utensils/mattes/etc - it's just that you read everywhere how the cheese caves in Europe naturally propagate the molds (or at least used to) and hence I thought I give it a try ...

Offline FRANCOIS

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Re: Penicillum candidum - Propagation?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2009, 05:11:58 PM »
Any surface that is not food contact is fine to let mold flower on.  I used to have quite an ecosystem on my aging room walls, but the mats and shelves would get regualrly power washed.


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Offline Cornelius

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Re: Penicillum candidum - Propagation?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2009, 02:21:32 AM »
Sigh ... then my above experiment was ok after all? The mattes you see in the photographs where just hanging there to provide the mold growth - I obviously had my cheeses on fresh and cleaned mattes. It just seemed a shame to through those mattes out, they had wonderful white mold growth happening. So, just to understand this, Listeria will not spread from moldy aging room walls, but if the cheese sits directly on moldy mattes/shelves it might? Many thanks.

Offline FRANCOIS

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Re: Penicillum candidum - Propagation?
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2009, 04:43:44 AM »
Listeria is contact generally but it can go airborn (aerosolize).  It's a concern with power washing plants actually.  If the mats had mold and only mold (no chunks of stuck on curd) you are fine.  Most of my crust was sustaining itself on masonary floor tiles and patches of metal wall where whey and washes had splashed.