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 roomgym 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 avor—and did I mention the texture? Washed rind, surace-bacteria-ripened cheesesalso include some semihard to hard varieties rom theGruyère amily (more on this group in chapter 4). Butin 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 a nage process o applying dierentliquids (such as ales, wine, and brine) to the suraceo many kinds o cheeses. Tis type o washing has aar greater inuence on the rind o the cheese thanit does on the interior. So while many cheeses have arind that is washed, they are not necessarily denedas a “washed rind” cheese. For this chapter we willocus on those where the surace bacteria prooundly inuence the nal texture, avor, color, and, o course,aroma o the cheese.Tese cheese types are more popular in some partso the world than others but are o growing popularity,thanks to more adventuresome palates and an expand-ing array o well-produced domestic varieties andbetter-kept imports. In this chapter I will use “washedrind,” “stinky,” and “surace ripened” interchangeably to reer to those types that obtain a sof to semisoftexture, pronounced odor, and distinctive color, thanksto the activity o surace microorganisms. Let’s get toknow these unique, potent cheeses better.
My rst stinky cheese was a product o happenstance. I’d made one o our usualhard cheeses called Elk Mountain and hada little curd lef over. So I put it in a smallorm, pressed it, and aged it right alongsidethe regular wheels. It was December, so thehumidity in the aging room was about 95 percent (when the aging room cooler doesn’tneed to run, the humidity stays higher). Terinds o Elk Mountain are washed with ale,and ale, o course, brings yeasts.Afer a ew weeks I noticed that the rindon 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 twomonths it started to eel sof when I turnedit. Afer another ew weeks it was very sof.About this time it just so happened that wehad a special cheese celebrity visitor com-ing by to see our arm, so we decided tocut it when he was there so he could tell us what had happened. Well, we cut, we tasted, we oohed, weahhed. It was heavenly. It was stinky. It wasserendipity. Te point is that you actually don’t have to know what you are doing tomake these kinds o cheeses successully—at least the rst time. But knowing more will help you appreciate the process andincrease the odds o success.
11: washed rind surFace-riPened cheeses