|(Q) I have a question about using geotrichum candidum. Your Butterkase recipe calls for a wee bit of it. How vital is the inclusion of the geotrichum? Might I get a satisfactory result without it?
(A)The geotrichum will dry off the surface after the initial yeast layer is established from the ambient environs. It will form a thin barrier and prevent other unwanted molds from establishing on the surface.
|(Q) I recently made the Alpine Tomme cheese and after the first week of curing in the cave, it developed an assortment of colored molds. I tried brushing it off, but was unsuccessful so I used a brine solution to try and clean the mold off.
While the mold itself (I think) was all removed and I haven't had a problem since (and the cheese smells right, too), the mold discolored the rind of the cheese and none of my efforts have been able to remove that. Is this a problem or do I not worry about it?
(A) This was likely due to cave moisture being too high. Or, you just didn't get to the mold soon enough. Wiping with a fine dampened cloth earlier may have helped.
Mold will stain but it's not a problem. In fact, it makes your cheese look a bit more homemade.
|(Q) I have been making cheese for about a year, using raw milk from my own goats. About 2 weeks ago I made Gruyere. When I took the cheese from the form for the first flip, small pieces of curd broke away from the consolidated mass. I re-wrapped the cheese and finished the process. At the second flip, a few more pieces came away. Now, I am aging it and I have mold growing in the divots around the curds.
(A) Gruyere is one of those cheeses that should come together very easily and, within an hour, be pretty compact with a smooth, tight surface. Your description sounds like your curds were too dry going into the form. The openings will be a real problem - trying to keep clean from mold.
|(Q) I recently made my first batch of Jack cheese using your instructions. It is in my cave which has a temperature of 52-54F and humidity of 78-85%. Dark spots, which I assume are mold, keep showing up.
I have scraped and cut them off, washed the cheese in a saturated brine and coated it with olive oil, but they return. Is this normal? All equipment was sanitized. The recipe doesn't call for the cheese to be waxed or wrapped. Is this an option for future batches?
(A) The best method to keep a clean rind is to make sure you keep the surface clean early in the aging process. We recommend using a cloth dampened in a 6% brine. It's just enough to discourage the mold, but not enough to change the salt % in the cheese.
If you leave the moisture too high going into the form, mold will be a much bigger problem to control. Once the mold begins to form, it is hard to keep ahead of it and it will leave a dark stain even when removed.
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