The next day they are moved to the warm space at 58-62F and 92-95% moisture where they will rest for several days.
Cheese in the traditional caves in the Aravis region where they are produced on the farms
There is still a lot of work left to get the character of the washed rind.
Most of us do not have these natural moist and stable temperature spaces for aging that they traditionally use in the caves and cellars of the mountains so we need to find our own solutions for the aging environment.
Here I have a resting space at 58-62F and a cold room at 52F and 80-85% moisture but just not quite suited for the Reblochon. Neither is moist enough to ripen this cheese so I use covered plastic trays to maintain the moisture at 92-95% for the cheese as shown below.
I had mentioned earlier as well the importance of the boards used for aging this cheese and how they are washed only with hot water and left in the sun for a day. The board I use below is used only for my reblochon and much of the surface flora is in the board now I am sure.
At this point, you are well on your way to a fine Reblochon but you are not done yet. What comes next is the finishing or affinage and this will take a bit of 'TLC' on your part.
The real character of the Reblochon comes from the washed rind surface and the enzymes that they produce. This will change both the texture and flavor of the finished cheese. The specific molds you add along with some natural yeast from your environment will form a very competitive surface which should exclude any other growths.
As this surface develops, it will produce enzymes that will change the proteins and help to soften the interior of the cheese.
Below is a ripening schedule:
day 0 (make day) the cheese is made, salted and allowed to rest overnight
day 1&2 The cheese rests at 58-62F and 92-95% moisture. this will allow the ambient yeast from the room to establish itself. On day 2 prepare a wash using 1 cup of clean water (boil and cool if not sure) and 1Tbs salt plus a pinch of each Geotrichum and B.linens . A pinch of sugar may help as well. leave this overnight in a sanitized jar with cover at room temperature to develop.
day 3 or 4 at this point you should notice a distince sweet fruity smell and the surface will seem a bit greasy feeling. This is the growth of yeast that prepares the surface and reduces the acidity.
As soon as this develops the surface can be washed clean with cool salted water (1cup +1Tbs salt) using a sanitized cloth. Not everyone does this but I learned this from one of Reblochons finest affineurs, Jos Paccard. The yeasts initial work is done and this presents a clean slate for the next stage of mold development.
The top surface and sides should be wiped with the salt/mold solution prepared on day 2 above. The next day turn the cheese and repeat. Then turn daily from here on.
The surface should never be too wet nor too dry. It should seem dampish but never swampy or slimy. Also avoid drying too much.
day 7 you should begin to notice the white mold of Geotrichum beginning to show
day 9 the Geo should now show on the surface a well established growth and the cheese now and move to the cool space at 52-56F and maintain the 90+% moisture.
The top surface and sides should be wiped with the salt/mold solution prepared as on day 2 above. The next day turn the cheese and repeat. Then turn daily until wrapped.
day 14 at this point the surface should be well established. The cheese can now be wrapped in the Washed rind wrap. It still needs to be kept cool and protected from moisture loss but the wrap will act as a buffer to stabilize moisture until ripe.
Try to do the wrapping at cave temperature because if the cheese is brought out to room temerature it will tend to gather condensation and cause the wrap to stick. In France they use a thin circle of spruce veneer to protect the paper.
day 45-60 the cheese should be ripe depending on the degree desired.