Sunday, February 25, 2007

Wrinkles are beautiful

The cheese has finally started to firm up! The lard is drying out a lot faster, and with the exception of a few wrinkles, the rind is looking a lot better.

Still a decent amount of mold, but currently none of it seems to be spreading.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Half Way There

Happy Half-way Birthday Cheese!!

To celebrate the cheese's 90 glorious days of existence, I broke out the last of the homemade pumpkin ravioli. (The ravioli that are filled with the ricotta from the cheese's leftover whey.)
Brown butter, shallots, 4 types of mushrooms, fresh sage and a hint of nutmeg... mmmmm!

Here are the birthday pictures. (Note the cheese was too cool to wear a party hat.)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

And He Shall Be My Squishy

It is almost the cheese's half-way birthday, he will be 3 months old this Monday, and my goal was to core and taste the man. Sadly, while the edges are firming up, the sides and the middle are still squishy - like a ripe banana.

The good news is that it smells more and more like cheese. Less and less like sweet salt marsh, gaining a stronger rotting/funky smell. The closest real-cheese-smell I can relate it to is generic blue cheese smell, but I wonder if that is just because of the mold.

Note the gray colored spots are really blue-green, and the spot in the middle above the white one is dark brown. (Owning a camera phone does not a photographer make.)

I brushed off all the mold, with the exception of the orange spot from the underside that refuses to budge, I think things are looking a-ok.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Fridge Woes 2

7:23 am
65 degrees
humidity over 80%

Apparently the timer didn't tell the fridge to turn on last night. The mold that had just started growing last night, has flourished.

After 20 minutes, 2 extension cords, a surge protector and a new outlet, I got the fridge back up and running. (With enough time to spare to grab free coffee and doughnuts before work!)

I have yet to hear from the "dairy consultant," so I am just going to brush off as much mold as I can and try to keep temp around 50.

Monday, February 5, 2007


The mold fiasco from yesterday left me nervous, so I called in the big guns... a dairy consultant.

Removing the extra muslin apparently unleashed a furry. The sweet apple smell is gone. Cheeseman smells like a footlocker and mushrooms.

Sunday, February 4, 2007


I began brushing off the excess mold forming on the outside of the cheese. This was pretty easy, since much of the lard was still soft, except for the edges. Then I used a chopstick and moist paper towel to collect the mold, working my way around the cheese.

I decided to lift up one of the "bandages" to see how the surface was doing.

Low and behold, a lot more mold; mold in colors that was not on the chart of cheese molds.

As I peeled back the layers, more mold.

Mold Of Unusual Size!

At this point, each time I scraped the mold, my nose started to run (spores flying all about and my allergies when haywire).

With cuticle cutters, I stripped back all the extra muslin.

I was ok until this...

Orange mold usually only forms on washed rind cheese. What is it doing here?!

I scraped off as much as I could.
Most of the molds do not like salt, and the mold chart recommended washing the rind with a brine solution (after scraping off extra mold) to keep the surface clear.

(Glistening from the bath)

Back in the cheese hut, with the handy-dandy new timer set to turn on and off every 6 hours, and the hydrometer reading in the 70s.

Saturday, February 3, 2007


A cheese friend lent me Farmstead & Artisan Affinage Training Manual by Peter Dixon. It contains a bunch of articles about cheese and affinage (the art of aging cheese). Sadly, there were no pictures, but there is a chart that lists types of molds by color.

So far, I think the cheese has at least three types, maybe four.

BLUE - Penicillium

WHITE - Scopulariopsus, Penicilium or Geotrichum

PURPLE - Aspergillus

While a few of these can produce good flavor, most of the advice says to brush/wash off most of the molds. This will be tomorrow's project.

Friday, February 2, 2007


The cheese smells like sour apple candy today.