Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ask the cheesy cheesemonger

How do you remove that sticky curd from all over everything? Start with cold water. It knocks off curd and greasy milk residue. Then scrub in hot sudsy bubbles. Leave to air dry. That's the sanitary way to clean cheesy stuff.

Ask the Cheesemonger
This is a question that I am often asked:
-From a friend's email:
I was thinking about something as I was pulling a hunk of raw milk cheese out of the fridge. It was starting to develop mold in the crevices and tiny holes but I ate it anyway, thinking that "heck, blue cheese is moldy cheese". And then I wondered if I should have done that? When is mold acceptable? When is it, well, mold? And therefore unacceptable? And I almost always eat the rind, seemingly with no consequences. Are there times I shouldn't be? (Other than when it comes to the manchego with the superclingy wax.)

Cheesemonger Sarah says:
Mold isn't inherently bad, but it's rather unappetizing in the wrong place. I usually cut it out. I should be more specific, however. Usually you get a blue, white, or green mold on cheese. This is natural and probably comes from your veggies in your fridge or other cheese. It won't kill you but it does give the cheese a "blue cheese" flavor. Just cut away the moldy bits and enjoy the rest. The English think that a blue vein in Cheddar is a treat and often seek out cheddars with a bit of blue in them. Ticklemore Goat is a bloomy rind, semi-firm goat cheese. Due to the fact it is aged in a cave with hundreds of blue cheeses, it picks up the blue mold on its surface. If Ticklemore Goat gets knocked around in shipping, tiny fissures might form, and the blue mold will migrate into the snow white center of the cheese. It's a very aggressive mold, so it will take over a cheese quickly.

Black mold is something to avoid. Same thing with red and yellow molds. If it's slimy, or red and slimy the cheese is decaying and should be discarded. There is also a puffy mold called "cat fur" and it isn't good for you either. If your cheese has a very furry mold that looks like cat fur, take a picture, send it to me, then throw the cheese out.

Rinds: For the most part eating it is a matter of personal preference. White, bloomy rinds like what's on a brie or a soft ripened cheese are tasty and add to the overall flavor of the cheese. Same thing with soft, stinky wash rind cheeses like taleggio or Cowgirl's Red Hawk. With harder cheeses, I usually don't eat the rinds because they are tough, overly earthy flavored and detract from the flavor of the cheese. Plus, you don't know where that cheese has been and how well it's been handled. I err on the side of caution with harder cheeses and don't eat the rind. However, the rind of a good Parmigiano Reggiano makes an excellent addition to veggie soups.

Any other questions? I'm happy to be of service.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I made some cheese one week ago and it has been kept in the cold out house, this morning I found it has deep yellow "spots" and lines of black mould, what have I done Wrong, can you hlp me please.