Author Topic: Rind, Natural - Unwanted Surface Mold  (Read 682 times)

Offline Scarlet Runner

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Rind, Natural - Unwanted Surface Mold
« on: December 21, 2011, 09:14:02 PM »
Made my first Asiago at long last; thanks DJ Debbi for the recipe: http://deejaysworld.net/deejayssmokepit/yabb/YaBB.pl?num=1200537380.  I thought the make went well, other than stirring probably too much during the cooking step, and it has been living in the cave (52-54F; 85-91% RH) for 2-3 weeks now.

After brining (9 hours, saturated) and air drying, I put it in the cave, flipping it and rubbing salt into it every 2 days or so. It got moldy, I scraped off mold, resalted, and put it back. It got moldy, I cleaned the cave, cleaned off the mold and re-brined the cheese about 2 hours, rubbed salt into it, and put it back in the cave. It got moldy and now I'm at my wits end.

Can I wax this thing and be done with it (it's a ~3 lb/3 gallon cheese)? Do I just let the mold grow? Erhgh!  Any advice much appreciated. And a gratuitous mold shot:



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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Rind, Natural - Unwanted Surface Mold
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2011, 09:40:47 PM »
Scrub with stiff brush, and a vinegar/salt solution. Mold management is just that, management. If you want to eliminate it, spray down with natamycin.
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Offline anutcanfly

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Re: Rind, Natural - Unwanted Surface Mold
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2011, 11:09:30 PM »
I think I came to the same conclusion a month ago... constantly brushing and treating with acidic brine was too much effort!  I finally quit and vacuum packed it.   That's not a good solution though for a cheese that's supposed age with a natural rind and eventually become  a hard grating cheese.  I'm going to switch over to cheese cream with natamycin, which will let the cheese breath and keep the mold at bay.  Hope it works!
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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Rind, Natural - Unwanted Surface Mold
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2011, 11:27:09 PM »
There is a decent alternative if you want a middle ground. In my tomme thread, I detailed an approach where you create a moisture gradient by using saturated brine. Start with that and an inclusion-free surface by pressing the curd with high pressure at the onset when it is hot (curd must be cooked completely to near final moisture target), and then inoculate with beneficial flora. A classic is the yeast form of geo (danisco's 15 for example) plus DH, if you want something fairly neutral. Spray it on, and it should cover the surface during the first week, but the outer low moisture gradient will keep it from overflavoring the cheese.

Then, if you want an added level of protection after you have a beneficial bloom, cover the wheel in diatomaceous earth (added benefit of giving you mite control). Should take care of common wild mold outbreaks in small confined aging chambers, but takes some effort.

You can use this with just about any cheese, but low (35% MFFB) moisture ones work best.
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Offline Scarlet Runner

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Re: Rind, Natural - Unwanted Surface Mold
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2011, 11:48:56 PM »
Thanks for the quick replies.  The moisture gradient sounds too involved for my skill level, so I guess I'll keep scrubbing. I assume if I scrub with salt/vinegar (is there a particular ratio?) endlessly (e.g. while it ages for a year or whatever) it won't affect the flavor and make it too salty and or vinegary? And finally- I bought a "nail brush" with plastic bristles for scrubbing with dry salt- is that stiff enough or do I need to get a wire brush from the hardware store? The rind of my cheese is pretty tough, well knit and sort of hydrophobic, so I'm not sure the soft plastic bristles really scrub away much versus just spreading the mold around...

Thanks again. Maybe I'm too lazy to make Asiago regularly!


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Rind, Natural - Unwanted Surface Mold
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2011, 11:55:50 PM »
You don't have to measure moisture or anything that involved... I was just providing an exact marker for anyone interested. You can wing it. It's not like it won't work, it just works best on drier cheeses. The reason is that with more moist cheeses, that outer dehydrated layer tends to become hydrated again, which encourages mold growth. And it's not the crucial part, the beneficial inoculant is the important part because then it outcompetes other mold.

I scrub with white vinegar with coarse salt thrown in in a saturated ratio of salt. The salt bits act as sort of grit and help to kill mold. I use a stiff nylon brush, not really soft.
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Offline Scarlet Runner

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Re: Rind, Natural - Unwanted Surface Mold
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2011, 11:58:03 PM »
Got it. Many thanks. I'll keep scrubbing away...!