The aging of this cheese follows the process for a washed rind cheese but this will be developed only for a short time and then washed away. This will give the cheese a warm nutty flavor. You may see this referred to as a washed rind or smear ripened cheese depending on the surface moisture control of the cheese.
The cheese should be placed into your aging space at 52-56F and 87-92% moisture. Rest the cheese on a mat that allows a little air flow underneath
For the washed rind, your objective is a cheese surface that is neither wet nor dry. It should feel a bit dampish and perhaps even a little 'tacky'. Swampy is not what we want here. Make sure you turn the cheese daily
to maintain the higher moisture use a covered plastic container as shown in these two pics
The higher moisture of the cheese should maintain the moisture level.
At about day 2-4 you should notice a definite slippery or greasy nature to your rind. This is a complex of natural yeast populating the surface and you should notice a definite yeasty or fruity smell to it.
Then at about day 5-6 days from making, you should notice a slight dusting of white mold beginning to form (you may really need to look at the surface to see it). This is the geotrichum community developing shown at the right here.
Within a few days more you mays see the first of other unwanted molds shown below. This is where the salt wash comes in for control.
When you see the white mold first forming, make up your wash from 1 cup of boiled non-chlorinated water and a tablespoon of salt. This should give you about 6% salt in your washing brine. You may also add a pinch of b.linens and geotrichum for the rind growth just as added insurance. I did have you add it to the milk originally as well.
The first signs of geotrichum growth . Note how easily it cane be wiped down.
Shortly after this other ambient molds will try to take over.
The control of choice will be a light salt wash to select for the competitive molds we encourage.
- The next day dampen a clean sanitized cloth with this brine and wipe ONLY the top surface and sides. This will spread, the growing molds around, moisten the cheese surface with your light brine to provide the salt which will discourage unwanted molds (blues, mucor, etc).
- Return the cheese to the aging space keeping the washed side up. If the surface seems a bit dry improve the moisture in your aging space or if too dry reduce it .
- On the next day turn the cheese and repeat the same above with the new unwashed surface.
- Allow the cheese to rest again with only daily turnings.
- You should again see the white mold coming again in 2-3 days.
Repeat steps 1-4 again when you see this.
At about 2 weeks you will begin to notice a slight rosy to orange color on the surface. This is a sign that the process is going well.
The picture at left shows another cheese from the cave here with a full rosy surface. This is a Raclette that has undergone the washed rind treatment and now needs another month or so to be ready. The complex bacteria/mold surface will not only keep other unwanted molds at bay but will provide a rather aromatic (in a good way) quality that enhances the cheese.
At this point the washing only needs to be done again when an unwanted mold appears. Do not allow this rind to become too moist (excessively sticky or swampy) or too dry. If too dry you may find that the surface may crack, scale, or even begin to exfoliate or lift.
The cheese can now be aged for 4-6 weeks and it will be ready for your table (longer for a stronger cheese).
The amount of washing of the rind, the temperature, moisture control, and the amount of aging time will determine how much character the cheese develops.
If you would like a mild cheese, keep the aging short and be more aggressive at washing the developing rind away when washing. Try to keep the rind thin.
If you want your cheese to have a lot of character, then longer aging and developing a good healthy rind are the way to go.