Some time ago I had to go to china for work. I was away for 10 days. A friend takes care of the cats but I also was making cheese at the same time. A Leerdammer. It seems a bit strange to ask somebody if she can take care of the cheese as well.
Leerdammer ripens for a period of 4 weeks at a temperature of 18 C. This is quite warm and I guess this temperature helps the propionic bacteria to grow and multiply inside the cheese. Apparently this bacteria is not as strong as P. roquefortii or P. candidum so I guess it needs some help.
However this temperature not only helps propionic but it also helps the others.Resulting in this:
Yes it IS cheese! Isn't it fantastic? How do you like the hair?
A work of art but quite disgusting to have in your refrigerator. It appears that every fungus or mold or whatever has found a home. I had no idea that it looked like this and asked my friend if she could turn the cheese while feeding the cats. She claims that she did....
This is not the first cheese that I made but I did not see anything like this before in my life. I stared at it as if you would stare at a car crash. Horrified but fascinated at the same time.
I picked it up and the blue fungus turned into a blue fog. It simply falls off like dust. I cleaned the cheese with a brush and water. After that I cleaned it with a salt and vinegar mix to kill all remaining bugs. And look at the result:
It is perfect! You can see how swollen it is. I am sure that the propionic bacteria did their job and made lovely holes inside.
And they did!
This cheese was perfect. The skin protects the inside so nothing happened there. I am more than a bit fascinated by that. The skin almost feels like leather!
Usually this type of cheese has to be very big to help the holes to grow. This was made of only 10 liters of milk so I was very happy with this holy cheese.
Unfortunately my success also caused the disappearance of the cheese. My wife was here and liked it a lot so she took it with her when she went to Turkey and ate it with her friends leaving me cheeseless.
Anyway. It is a cheese that can be made relatively quick. Only 2 months before the next one is finished..