Okay, I've just read a recipe for Port Salut which is also a smear-ripened cheese. It calls for the smear to be on the cheese for 12-15 days and then to brush it off under running water. Then presumably you would dry the cheese and either vacuum-seal it or wrap it in special foil.
This is a revelation for me. My Esrom #3
was pretty tasty (still have some in the big fridge) but the linens smear had not been removed and was fairly off-putting when eating the cheese. If I can let the smear do its thing and then remove it to have a finished cheese without the offending smear rind...I think I'll have a winner.
I don't believe the idea of removing the smear rind has been mentioned in any of the smear-ripened cheese recipes I have seen.
So my course of action at this point is to continue with the smear for another week, which will make it around 14 days, and then follow the brushing/washing regimen to remove it. A day or so to dry it off and then I'll vacuum-seal it for another month of affinage. I expect that the middle of May will be a good time then to cut into it.