Using my new cheese wire (the SS wire courtesy of Wayne...thanks!), I cut into my Esrom today. I took a small sampler wedge and rewrapped the rest and put it back in the fridge. I let the wedge stay out, covered with plastic wrap, for several hours. The cheese was only slightly oozy when first cut, but after coming to room temperature it oozed from each rind surface. Not exactly what I had in mind for this cheese style, but I'm keeping an open mind. It's supposed to be a sandwich cheese.
I needed some crusty bread for this tasting so while the cheese was coming to room temperature, I made a couple loaves. Nice.
I invited my wife over to use her nose and later, her palate to give me another sensory viewpoint. She couldn't detect anything unsavory (smelly socks, etc., which is supposed to be the hallmark of b. linens). She's really put off by the smell of my Manchego, but I really don't smell it like she does. We both agreed on a slight bitterness, but it didn't seem to keep me from devouring most of the wedge. Yeah, she tried a little
Even though there is ooziness at the rind, the rest of the cheese borders a little towards crumbly. I was able to slice it very thinly though. The salt level seems right on target and neither one of us sensed any sourness (acidity) as in earlier cheese efforts. I saw maybe one small mechanical opening in the paste (it had been pressed very lightly).
There are two areas of concern to me: the ooziness and the slight bitterness. I'm wondering if either or both of those characteristics will be mitigated by continued aging in the fridge.
At this point I am encouraged with my seeming first experience with a washed rind cheese. I would like to try this again with the new brick mold. This make used mucor rennet. I have calf rennet now and would use it in the next effort. I learned a lot from this cheese. Curious work that those little bacteria do.