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Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking: Washed Rind Surface-Ripened Cheeses

Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking: Washed Rind Surface-Ripened Cheeses

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Learn how to make washed rind, surface-ripened cheeses! This category of cheese is also known by the less-than-appetizing name of “stinky cheese.”
Learn how to make washed rind, surface-ripened cheeses! This category of cheese is also known by the less-than-appetizing name of “stinky cheese.”

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Published by: Chelsea Green Publishing on Sep 17, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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The Ultimate Guide for Home-Scale and Market Producers
Foreword by Ricki Carroll
Rush Creek Reserve, a stellar example of a spruce bark–wrapped washed rind cheese, from Uplands Cheese Company, Wisconsin
 Sof to semisof
 Surace 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, surace-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 surace-ripening bacteria  produce minimal changes and, usually, all but disap- pear beore aging is complete. Te term “washed rind” describes the anage process o applying different liquids (such as ales, wine, and brine) to the surace 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 surace bacteria prooundly 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 “surace ripened” interchangeably to reer to those types that obtain a sof to semisof texture, pronounced odor, and distinctive color, thanks to the activity o surace microorganisms. Let’s get to know these unique, potent cheeses better.
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 successully—at least the first time. But knowing more  will help you appreciate the process and increase the odds o success.

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