Sof to semisof
METHOD OF COAGULATION:
METHOD OF RIPENING:
Surace and internal bacteriaTis category o cheese is also known by the less-than-appetizing name o “stinky cheese.” And boy, can they reek! Gym socks (think high school boy’s locker room gym socks) are a common analogy. But ortunately, things don’t always taste exactly like they smell. I
these cheeses. Sof and oozing with strong, meaty, baconlike ﬂavor—and did I mention the texture? Washed rind, surace-bacteria-ripened cheeses also include some semihard to hard varieties rom the Gruyère amily (more on this group in chapter ). But in that particular style, the surace-ripening bacteria produce minimal changes and, usually, all but disap- pear beore aging is complete. Te term “washed rind” describes the aﬃ nage process o applying diﬀerent liquids (such as ales, wine, and brine) to the surace o many kinds o cheeses. Tis type o washing has a ar greater inﬂuence on the rind o the cheese than it does on the interior. So while many cheeses have a rind that is washed, they are not necessarily deﬁned as a “washed rind” cheese. For this chapter we will ocus on those where the surace bacteria prooundly inﬂuence the ﬁnal texture, ﬂavor, color, and, o course, aroma o the cheese.Tese cheese types are more popular in some parts o the world than others but are o growing popularity, thanks to more adventuresome palates and an expand-ing array o well-produced domestic varieties and better-kept imports. In this chapter I will use “washed rind,” “stinky,” and “surace ripened” interchangeably to reer to those types that obtain a sof to semisof texture, pronounced odor, and distinctive color, thanks to the activity o surace microorganisms. Let’s get to know these unique, potent cheeses better.
THE ACCIDENTAL STINKER
My ﬁrst stinky cheese was a product o happenstance. I’d made one o our usual hard cheeses called Elk Mountain and had a little curd lef over. So I put it in a small orm, pressed it, and aged it right alongside the regular wheels. It was December, so the humidity in the aging room was about percent (when the aging room cooler doesn’t need to run, the humidity stays higher). Te rinds o Elk Mountain are washed with ale, and ale, o course, brings yeasts.Afer a ew weeks I noticed that the rind on the little wheel was turning a pinkish, orange color. I ignored it and kept turning the cheeses. At one point I thought o get-ting rid o the little one, but afer about two months it started to eel sof when I turned it. Afer another ew weeks it was very sof. About this time it just so happened that we had a special cheese celebrity visitor com-ing by to see our arm, so we decided to cut it when he was there so he could tell us what had happened. Well, we cut, we tasted, we oohed, we ahhed. It was heavenly. It was stinky. It was serendipity. Te point is that you actually don’t have to know what you are doing to make these kinds o cheeses successully—at least the ﬁrst time. But knowing more will help you appreciate the process and increase the odds o success.
11: WASHED RIND SURFACE-RIPENED CHEESES