Saturday, March 31, 2012

Finding Your Whey - April: Moldy Cheese isn't always a bad thing

We're still working with soft cheeses so no need for a press yet, but you might want to start thinking about getting one or making one as next month we'll be starting with some basic hard cheeses. You will need some cheese molds (forms) though.

This month, however, we're going to be working with acid, rennet, cultures and mold! Yes, you heard that right. Mold. Mold is what makes brie such a wonderful gift from heaven. It's what makes blue cheese blue. Molds help the cheese develop more flavor and can also act as an inhibitor of undesirable mold. Some molds, like the ones for brie and camembert are surface molds while molds for blue cheese work within. They effect the color, smell, taste and texture of the cheese.

Feel free to experiment. has some recipes for the more common cheeses like brie and blue cheese. Also Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Delicious Cheeses has quite a few recipes you can check out.

I made Bucheron which is basically a camembert made with goat cheese and aged for an extra long time. The form is also different as it's more of a cylinder rather than your typical camembert or brie shape. This cheese doesn't have the soft gooey insides that the other two are known to have and the flavor is much stronger. I'm also planning on trying out brie.

This recipe was going to take 3 days to make so I made sure to do it on a weekend I was going to be home for. It required 2 gallons of goat milk which was going to take us quite awhile to stockpile. To stockpile raw milk we simply froze quart jars of it as we collected it until we got all we needed.

I had 4 small molds for making chevre, which ended up being enough. Five molds probably would have been more ideal though because I was really having to cram the curds into the four to make them fit. I also needed cheese mats, and a food grade plastic box to allow the cheese to retain moisture and keep the cultures from contaminating the wine fridge.

The first thing I had to do to make it was pasteurize the milk since it's a soft cheese and isn't aged long enough. I really hate pasteurizing milk just because it can take so long but if I wanted to make this cheese I was going to have to.
To pasteurize you need to heat the milk to 145 deg F and hold it there for 30 minutes stirring to keep it evenly heated. I find that my floating brewing thermometer works best for this but I have to rubberband it to the stirring spoon because my pot isn't deep enough for it to float. After the 30 minutes is up you want to cool it off as quickly as possible in an ice bath. I cooled it of to 86 deg F so I could inoculate the milk without reheating it.

 This recipe required a Mesophilic DVI MA starter culture, Penicillum candidum and Geotrichum candidum, rennet and a brine solution.

Once the milk was down to 86 deg F I simply added the cultures, stirring until well blended. I then added the rennet stirring up and down. I left it overnight to firm up.

Without cutting the curds I scooped them into the molds filling them. The molds only took about 2/3s of the curds. I let the curds sit for just over 4 hours and then refilled the molds, packing the rest of the curds in. I allowed them to sit overnight to completely drain. The next morning I removed the curds from the molds and brined them for 10 minutes.

The brine was made up of 2 pounds of noniodized salt mixed into 1 gallon of water. Heat up the water until it's nearly boiling and mix in the salt until it's dissolved. When it cools some of the salt may precipitate out. You know the salt content is right when the cheese floats. If the cheese sinks there's not enough salt. This is good to know because you keep the brine to reuse - adding water and salt when needed. Over time it will develop it's own character from whey and cultures that are slowly added with each batch of cheese. Some cheesemakers have had the same brine for decades.

After I brined the cheeses I laid them on the cheese mats and put them in the box. The first day I repositioned the cheeses several times. I put the box in my wine fridge set about 55 deg F then for the next week I turned them to make sure they were evenly drained and allowing the mold to develop evenly over the cheese.
After three more weeks of aging the cheese was ready. It was distinctively different from brie though being quite a bit stronger. It's not creamy like brie either. It's a delightful cheese that I will make again.


  1. Oh my goodness....I just placed an order for some equipment. I'll let you know when I start on BRIE!

  2. that sounds like a yummy cheese; I sure miss my goats. I used to make a lot of soft cheeses when I had dairy goats, I tend not to pasteurize with fresh milk; I'd just use it warm from the goats and strained.

  3. Well I'm a month late, but I finally tried my hand at making mozzarella cheese and it turned out well. :) I used some of it in a Tater Tot Casserole tonight and I was pleased to see that it melted well. Thank you for the excellent instructions! I've learned SO much from your site!

  4. Hi Rachel, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  5. I decided to make squeak cheese curds last month and finally did it. I got about a pound from a gallon of whole milk, plus a little ricotta from the whey. It was pretty tasty, but a lot of work for what you get. I decided to opt out of the “moldy” cheese as I’d have to do it in our wine cooler - and we use it for wine too! I was just nervous about cross contamination. So I am making mozzarella again - it is soooo good. Looking forward to next month’s challenge.

  6. brie is in progress:

  7. O grupo C.E estar ligado aqui!!!!!