The Science of Cheese

ROUGETTE GRILL MEISTER

Last modified on 2013-09-11 13:46:56 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

GRILLMEISTER-PACKAGEROUGETTE Grill Meister is a grill-able soft-ripened cheese with a buttery paste and a rind that can withstand direct heat. Pan-fried or grilled for a barbecue, Grill Meister will be an instant hit with vegetarians and carnivores alike (and kids, too!)

Serve it as a first course over a salad or as a fantastic grilling alternative to hamburgers and hotdogs. This grilling cheese is sure to become a year-round favorite.

Available now at:
SafewayDominicksVonsPavilionsTom ThumbRandallsSmith’sFred MeyerQFCRidleysBroulim’sClark’sSpec’sPublix ∙ Henning’s Market



Coming Soon to:
GelsonsMarket of ChoiceBest Yet MarketWhole Foods (FL, WA, OR) ∙ AlbertsonsFry’sHarmonsKing SoopersEarth Fare

 

Pick a Peck of Peppercorns

Last modified on 2013-07-16 13:00:57 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

IMG_2373_A_SM_revisedThough ground black pepper can be found next to nearly every salt shaker in America, the peppercorns that go into Champignon de Luxe – Pfeffer/Pepper are not your average peppercorns. Champignon Pepper cheese is flecked with whole green Madagascar peppercorns. These peppercorns add a brisk but mild pepper flavor and a chewy bite that complements the cheese’s smooth and creamy paste.

IMG_2324_A_SM-1Green peppercorns are much less strident in flavor than the more commonly used black peppercorns, and they have a very tender outer shell. Both green and black peppercorns, as well as white peppercorns are berries of the tropical plant Piper nigrum, which are harvested and processed at different stages of development. Green peppercorns come from the first harvest, when the berries are plucked from the vine before they have ripened. They are then freeze-dried, air-dried, or preserved in brine or vinegar to prevent fermentation.  (Those used in Champignon Pepper have been preserved in brine.

This process mellows the flavor and firmness of the peppercorns so that they are not as hot-spicy or as crunchy as dried peppercorns.) Green peppercorns are still quite aromatic, with a delicate piquancy, which produces a brightening, rather than burning sensation on the tongue.

Black peppercorns are from the second harvest, from berries that have been left on the vine until just before they fully ripen. Once they are picked, they are left to ferment for a short period of time. This fermentation period develops the characteristic spicy flavor of black peppercorns. Then, the peppercorns are air-dried, which causes them to shrivel and turn hard and black.

White peppercorns are produced from peppercorns that have been left on the vine until they have fully ripened. After harvesting, the outer skin of the berry is removed, usually by blanching, revealing the berry’s white inner seed.

 

 

Mold: Friend and Foe

Last modified on 2013-05-22 03:27:50 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Cambozola mold

Mold plays an integral role in the making of many types of cheeses, but occasionally mold can make an unwelcome appearance on your favorite wedge. Whether or not the cheese is still safe to eat depends on the type of cheese (and extent of the mold growth). The following is a little guide to help you determine what to keep, what to cut, and what to chuck.

Soft cheeses like ricotta, cottage cheese, and chèvre, which are young cheeses with high moisture content, should never show mold or discoloration of any kind. If they do, toss them (also a quick whiff will be an undeniable—though perhaps risky—cue).

Cheeses with bloomy rinds, such as Brie and Camembert, are made by the application of the mold Penicillium camemberti, either to the surface or mixed into the curd. In cheeses like CAMBOZOLA, the mold is mixed into the curd and therefore naturally grows on the cut surface once it is exposed to air. Since it is the same mold found on the rind, it is edible, but if you don’t like its appearance, simply cut off the offending edge. If, however, the new growth is different in color, odor, or texture than the mold of the rind, the cheese has likely been contaminated, and your bloomy rind cheese is blooming anew. Mold on these types of cheeses can penetrate the interior paste, so if you are ever in doubt, best to chuck it out.

Blue cheeses are made by the introduction of the mold Penicillium roqueforti to the interior of the curd. Blue cheeses typically have areas of blue, green, or gray throughout the paste. But if you find off colors, such as yellow, orange, or pink, or excess moisture, it’s bye-bye to the blues.

Washed rind cheeses, such as Limburger, are made using bacteria (Brevibacterium linens). They are washed in brine during the curing process, and naturally develop a moist, orangish or pinkish rind. The brine solution inhibits mold growth and promotes the growth of B. linens. These types of cheeses should not show mold growth and should remain moist, but not wet. If you notice a change, you know your washed rind cheese has taken a dive.

Hard, aged cheeses, such as Gruyère or Parmigiano Reggiano, which have low moisture content, can withstand most mold growth. Molds that develop on the surface of these cheeses can’t penetrate deeply into the interior of the cheese. So just cut off the offending edge (about an inch around the area of growth), and save the cheese.

Remember the best way to prevent unwanted mold growth is to store cheese properly and keep your tools clean. Wrap cheeses separately when storing, use different knives for different cheeses, and of course—and this should be an easy one to follow—enjoy your cheese sooner rather

Dairy Breeds

Last modified on 2013-04-19 02:08:05 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

What do you picture when you think of a cow? If you live in the United States, it’s likely you picture a rather large white and black-blotched Holstein. And rightly so, for this breed makes up about 90% of the dairy herd in the United States, and has been the dominant breed used in the dairy industry here for almost 70 years.

Holsteins are not only large in number; they also produce a lot of milk. (Some individuals produce up to 28,000 pounds annually!) Holstein milk also yields high volumes of milk fat and milk protein, which is an important fact for dairy farmers as they are paid per pound for these components. However, Holstein milk, compared to other dairy breeds, does not necessarily yield a large amount of cheese from this amount of milk, nor does it yield high-quality cheese.

Allgau cows

In contrast, Brown Swiss cows, which make up less than one percent of the dairy herds in the United States, produce a smaller volume of milk than Holsteins, but yield more cheese out of that volume, and better quality cheese, too.

One reason for this is that Brown Swiss generally have low somatic cell counts (SCC), indicators of infection (high counts are signs of infection). Thus Brown Swiss tend to carry less infection and therefore are able to produce more and higher quality milk.

Another reason is that the composition of the milk is quite different from that of Holsteins. Although Brown Swiss are second to Holsteins in the volume of milk protein produced, Brown Swiss milk actually has higher concentration of casein protein. Casein protein coagulates during the cheese making process, and a higher concentration means better coagulation and firmer curd. This results in higher yields of cheese per volume of milk, and also creates excellent cheese texture.

Though Brown Swiss cows are not common dairy cows in the United States, this breed is the traditional dairy cow in the Allgäu. There, herds dine on plentiful swaths of luscious alpine grasses and produce the high-quality milk that goes into Käserei Champignon cheese.

 

Champignon Garlic

Last modified on 2013-03-13 19:27:41 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

 

 

 

 

Champignon Garlic is a bloomy rind cheese, flavored with garlic and flecked with fine herbs. Though the aroma and rind are very mild, the paste is piquant, versatile enough to stand up to bold flavors or be the bold flavor.

Garlic is one of those ingredients that you can just sauté and immediately inquiries ignite about what’s for dinner. “Mmm…mmm…smells delicious…” though it’s nothing more than garlic releasing its distinctive aroma.

Garlic (Allium sativum) is in the Alliaceae family and is a relative of onions and leeks. Its distinctive odor has been attributed to the presence of allicin, a volatile chemical compound that is produced when garlic is crushed or chopped (exposing it to oxygen). Studies have shown that the presence of this compound does not last long after it is formed. Crushing or chopping garlic activates a string of chemical reactions, which transforms allicin into derivative sulfur compounds (the same ones that cause “garlic breath”).

Although garlic has been used for centuries medicinally, only recently, has research proven its health benefits. Allicin and its derivatives have been found to have anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Regular consumption of garlic has also been shown to reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, and boost the immune system. The stronger the aroma of the garlic, the more sulfur compounds are present, and therefore the more medicinal value it has. Treat what ails you or treat yourself.

The Olfactory Factor

Last modified on 2013-01-31 00:35:24 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

IMG_0546_sm

How can a cheese that yields such a strong malodor taste so good?

Take Limburger, for example. The bacterium used to ripen the cheese (Brevibacterium linens) produces such a striking sulfuric smell that it’s a wonder that someone ever decided to eat it. In fact, to this day I hear many people refuse a taste based on its notorious scent. But this is an olfactory prejudice. For when you put a slice of Limburger in your mouth, the odor actually dissipates completely, and the flavor is quite mild.

How can this be? This is because our perception of a smell changes as we eat. [1]

When you inhale before eating, scents directly travel to receptors in the nasal passageway, which send signals (i.e., “Stinky!”) to various parts of the brain.

But inhaling while chewing produces different results. Chewing releases scents that also travel to receptors in the nasal passageway, but via the throat (called retronasal inhalation). Again, signals are sent to various parts of the brain. But as you chew, taste receptors are simultaneously transmitting signals to other parts of the brain. But in one part of the brain, called the anterior insula, signals of scent and taste co-occur. Here scent and taste cannot be perceived distinctly. Instead, the two perceptions integrate. No other senses overlap like this. This is flavor country.

A foul odor and a sour taste, for example, may yield a mild and tangy flavor. Just because a cheese smells bad, doesn’t mean it stinks.

[1] Bakalar, N. Sensory science: Partners in flavour Nature 486, S4–S5 (21 June 2012) 

A Cut Above: Choice Cheese Knives

Last modified on 2012-12-17 00:54:51 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Have you ever been to a holiday party where the cheese plate knives are all the same or inappropriately matched with the cheeses and you wind up digging with desperation with a butter knife to eek out a hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano? Have you? Ever?

Okay, well I can’t help you too much if you are an attendee (unless you are a daring guest with a pocket cheese knife), however if you are the one hosting, here’s how to avoid pairing a cheese with a knife that just doesn’t quite cut it. (BTW, these puns are inescapable when you are talking about cutting the cheese. Ahem. So be prepared when you go a-cheese-knife-shopping.)

From lower left, counterclockwise: campana, cuoro, semi-soft cheese knife, spreader, and cleaver.

 

Soft cheeses: For very young and soft cheeses, such as chêvre, or cheeses with a runny interior like a Robiola, choose a spreader. This type of knife looks a lot like a miniature butter knife.

Semi-soft cheeses: For firmer, but still soft cheeses, such a Camemberts or Champignon Mushroom, use a cheese knife with holes in it. The holes prevent the paste of the cheese from sticking to knife, allowing the structure of the cheese to be maintained.  Typically, these knives have two tines at the end, which you can use to skewer the cheese and serve. Both of these cheese knives can be found in most cheese knife sets.

Crumbly and firm cheeses: A campana is a knife with a wide bell-shaped blade, used to slice into firm cheeses or to break off cheeses that have a crumbly texture, such as blues like Stilton. A cheese plane (not pictured) is also an excellent tool for slicing firm cheeses like Emmental.

Hard cheeses: A cuore is a heart-shaped knife used to break off chunks of extra-hard cheese, such as a Parmigiano Reggiano or aged Cheddar. The cleaver is used to cube younger Cheddars and Swiss cheeses or cut cross-section wedges of Manchego.

Lactose-Free

Last modified on 2012-11-21 15:56:40 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Although I can’t do much to oppose those that refuse dairy in their diets on principal alone, to those that cite lactose as a dietary issue, I might have good news: Many cheeses are naturally lactose-free or very low in lactose.

Lactose is the predominant sugar in milk. It is broken down in the human gut by an enzyme called lactase. Lactase turns lactose into two digestible sugars called glucose and galactose which are released into the bloodstream. Some people, however, have very low levels of lactase. In the absence of lactase, lactose is broken down by bacteria in the large intestine, which releases carbon dioxide as a byproduct—obviously, not a comfortable process for the human body.

Cheese, however, is actually very low in lactose right from the moment the cheese-making process starts. Quite a large amount of lactose is removed when the curds (solids) are separated from the whey (liquid). Whey contains most of the lactose. And the more whey that is removed by pressing, the lower the lactose content. Furthermore, the longer a cheese ages, the less lactose it contains. During the ripening process, bacteria break down the lactose. Yep, that’s the same process that the bacteria in your gut perform to break down lactose, except they do all the work for you before you eat it. (Thanks, bacteria!)

The Taste Cycle

Last modified on 2012-10-19 03:37:23 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Have you ever noticed that it’s hard to stop eating spicy chicken wings? You take a bite, and your mouth burns, like flames passing across your tongue each time you breathe in and out, and little beads of sweat form across your brow, and you think, “That’s my last, I can’t take another bite,” and then you have a nip of celery and a swig of beer and there you are, chowing down another.

Okay, so for those of you that are shaking your heads “No,” read no further. But I know some of you know what I am talking about, and I know some of you want to know why…

So gather ’round my spice-addicted, nerdy, foodies. I’m going to break it down.

Capsaicin, Casein, and Carbonation.

Cayenne pepper, as you may know, is the main ingredient in buffalo hot sauce. Cayenne pepper has capsaicin, a chemical compound found in the white interior edges of peppers which gives them their characteristic “hot” taste.

When capsaicin comes into contact with your tongue or skin, it causes an imbalance at the cellular level and triggers sensory receptors to transmit a pain signal. (A similar reaction occurs when a food is temperature-hot.) In turn, this pain reaction causes the nervous system to release endorphins, chemicals which reduce the sense of pain and actually induce a sense of well-being (endorphins produced by the human body are, by the way, actually related to opiates). Hence, most people feel a “rush” when eating spicy-hot foods.

Although endorphins may reduce some of the pain, it’s likely that some sense of “burning” will persist. Lucky for us, there is another type of food that can take away the burn. And that is…cheese. That is to say, the casein protein found in cheese and other dairy products.

Casein proteins latch onto capsaicin compounds on the tongue and “wash” them away, in the same way detergent removes dirt. Casein is uniquely good at “scrubbing” away capsaicin because casein is fat-loving and capsaicin is fat-soluble, and their compound structures are attracted to each other. (Cold water, by the way, will do nothing to douse the flames from a capsaicin “burn” because H2O just doesn’t love fat the way these guys do.)

But now this washing machine in your mouth will certainly need a rinse cycle. And that’s where your cold, delicious beer of choice comes in. Not only will the beer reduce any of that remaining cayenne burn (as capsaicin is also somewhat alcohol-soluble), the carbonation and acidity will also serve to lift the paste of the cheese from the palate, and actually bring forward the cheese’s flavor (which is why quality cheese here is key). Lastly, the carbonation creates a tingling, refreshing sensation that “cleanses” the palate for that next bite.

And so the process begins again…

Pairing Wine and Cheese

Last modified on 2012-09-11 01:14:58 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I know I am not the only one who feels some sense of intimidation when discussing wines with aspiring sommeliers. However, take note that if you know the flavors of the food you are pairing, you can use your own culinary knowledge and the tasting notes you’ll find in most wine stores to find some bottles that are worth exploring. It’s a good way for a novice to begin to pair wines.

In the same way we pair flavors of food, there are some basic characteristics  we look for when pairing cheese and wine. In cheese, take into account the aromas and flavors, saltiness, sweetness, bitterness, and fat content. In wine, take into account fruit flavors, sweetness, bitterness/tannins, acidity, and body/alcohol content.

Keep in mind that wines that are highly rated on their own are not necessarily sure bets when it comes to pairing with food. The trick of pairing anything is to find the right mix of elements. You might be surprised to find an unlikely pairing of flavors may work because of the other characteristics, and vice versa.

Here are just a few pairing of wine and cheese characteristics that generally work, some of which you are probably already familiar with if you have cooked up a thing or two in your kitchen.

Saltiness and Sweetness:

Salty cheese generally pair well with low-acidity and sweet wines.

Cheese Flavors and Fruits:

The fruit flavors present in a wine are critical to examine when pairing with a cheese. Cherries, blackberries, and plums can sometimes conflict with flavors of surface-ripened cheeses producing a bitter flavor. When trying to find a good match, think about the fruits that work well with the cheese, and seek out similar fruit flavors in a wine.

Acidity and Fat:

Double- and triple-crème cheeses tend to coat the mouth, so a wine with some acidity will cut through the fat and allow the flavors of the cheese and wine to mingle.

Bitterness and Sweetness:

Bitterness in a cheese or a wine tends to be a difficult pairing, but a little sweetness can soften even the bitterest bite.

Body and Fat:

Alcohol, like acidity, can cut through the fat, and fat can usually mellow out a strong element of alcohol.

Note that alcohol and bitterness/tannin are the characteristics to be most aware of when exploring your wine pairing options. These elements have a strong influence on the resulting taste and can be picky dance partners.

Also, while it may seem like a food and wine with similar characteristics would not make good pairings, this is not always the case. Sweet foods can work with sweet wines and acidic foods can work with acidic wines (though bitter and bitter are bitter enemies). One of the two (food or wine) tends to balance out the high notes of the other. If a food is highly acidic, for example, countering it with an acidic wine, can diminish (in a positive way) any acidic characteristics of the food.

Remember that creating successful wine and cheese pairings should be a pleasurable experience, like pairing flavors in a new recipe.

Experiment, explore, and above all enjoy.

Travelin’ Cam’

Last modified on 2012-08-07 02:29:26 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Although today Käserei Champignon is well-known for its unique Cambozola, the first type of cheese that Champignon produced was actually Camembert. Julius Hirschle, cheesemaker and founder, developed a Camembert using the milk from local Bavarian-raised cows. The resulting Camembert’s subtle aroma of mushrooms inspired the company name “Champignon” (French for mushroom).

This Camembert may be mild in flavor, but it is big on adventure. Not long after its development, tins of Champignon’s Camembert were loaded on a steamer and sent on a voyage around Africa. Cheesemakers wanted to test how the cheese’s flavor and aging process were affected by travel and change in climate. Not only did the cheese withstand the long journey, but the wheels had ripened and improved in flavor.

 

Camembert cheese actually has a natural preservative: its rind. The bloomy rind, owed to the coating of Pencillium candidum/camemberti added just before ripening, gives the cheese its soft texture and creaminess, but because it is a living mold, it also acts as protection against other microorganisms. In fact, scientists have begun studying the role of Pencillium candidum used on cheeses in order to develop similar protective living surfaces.

Storing Camembert in tins certainly adds  another layer of protection and has the added advantage of convenience. The cheese is first wrapped in wax paper and foil before it is hermetically sealed. Because the cheese is not exposed to air, the tins preserve the cheese longer in the refrigerator than plastic-wrapped cheeses. Though these tins still must be kept cold, they are excellent to travel with, fitting easily in a cooler or cold pack to sustain you on your next voyage.

Can You Freeze Cheese?

Last modified on 2012-07-04 14:12:21 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

My first response to this question is always: Why would you want to? But this question has probably crossed the minds of any of those who have ever hosted a party and overestimated your cheese-fans. What to do with those leftover quarter wheels of nearly untouched cheese?

Unfortunately the answer for most cheeses is that freezing is not a good option. Soft-ripened cheeses have a high moisture content and should not be frozen. Just think of what happens to moisture when it freezes: ice and expansion. This results in a breakdown of the structure of the cheese, turning soft paste into crumbs. The texture is mealy and grainy, and no amount of thawing will reconstitute it. You’ve lost your brie.

Now some hard cheeses like cheddar reportedly can withstand freezing, but may best be used thereafter in cooking. They also become more crumbly in texture, but tend retain their flavor. If you choose to try this (and I always encourage experimentation) wrap the cheese in foil and plastic wrap for no more than two months.when ready to use, let it thaw completely in the fridge.

Bottom-line: If you find yourself with more cheese than your household can handle, spread a little love while it’s still fresh: wrap up some wedges as parting gifts or, better yet, make a plan for another wine and cheese party next week!

Limburger

Last modified on 2012-05-24 03:15:13 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

The cheese stands alone.

Limburger may be notorious for clearing a room, but don’t let it’s reputation deter you. In truth, it’s odor is on par with other pungent cheeses, like Taleggio or Epoisses, but of all the other odiferous cheeses, this cheese unduly gets the bad wrap.

Limburger is a surface-ripened semi-soft cow’s-milk cheese. During it’s maturation, the cheese is washed at regular intervals with Brevibacterium linens. In breaking down the milk proteins, B. linens produces sulfur compounds, which, unsurprisingly for those that have ever smelled sulfur, are responsible for the bad reputation. The process yields a peach-colored, edible, slightly sticky rind with a notably pungent scent. But take a bite and you may be surprised. The interior of the cheese is pale yellow, smooth and dense, growing softer as it ages. Despite it’s nose, the cheese actually has a rather mild, buttery taste with just a slight tang.

However, this dual personality can make Limburger as much of a challenge to pair as it is to convince guests to taste. The odor of the rind can overwhelm milder wine pairings, breads, and crackers. Rye crackers or breads, and even caraway seeds on their own, are a perfect match (I know, “Seeds and cheese?” you ask, but seriously, try dipping a slice and you will be pleasantly delighted.) As for beverages, a white Alsatian wine or similar can offer a welcome break from the aroma while complimenting the mild taste. Beer can also be a fantastic match, but go for something that has legs or Limburger will walk all over it (no light beers, please).

Classic vs. Black Label: Different Shades of Cambozola

Last modified on 2012-05-24 03:20:56 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Those that frequent the cheese counter may wonder when they see the name Cambozola on two different-looking cheeses and ask: How can they both be Cambozola?

Both are semi-soft cheeses made from cow’s milk that have grazed on the grasses in the Bavarian valleys of the Allgäu region. The two cheeses differ most noticeably in appearance. Classic Cambozola has a white mold rind more similar in appearance to a Brie or Camembert. Cambozola Black Label is a smaller wheel in circumference but taller than the Classic and has a gray mold rind. In terms of taste, both are creamy, slightly nutty with hints of pungent blue. The Black Label  is aged longer than the Classic Cambozola and in cold cellars. This process and extra aging yields a richer cheese with a very creamy texture. The distinctive gray rind has a more pungent scent and adds a slightly more pungent “blue” flavor. Classic Cambozola is a good choice for those that typically shy away from blues. It’s mild flavor will spark the curiosity of novice blue-cheese tasters, while the Cambozola Black Label will entice those with more adventurous palettes.

Interestingly, the gray mold of Cambozola Black Label apparently was once a characteristic of original Camemberts (and for more on this cheese’s history, see Pierre Boisard’s Camembert: A National Myth). However, around the early part of the twentieth century, a shift in consumer preference  for white rinded, less “rustic” cheeses led to a a shift in the cheese’s ripening process. Lucky for us the strain of bacteria that caused the gray mold has been revived to produce the Black Label.
Aside from the cheese platter, I find that Classic Cambozola is excellent on slices of bread, sandwiches, burgers, vegetables, omelets, and generally melts beautifully over anything I can think to put cheese on. While the Cambozola Black Label could also certainly top them all, I find it’s extra creaminess makes it melt quickly and thinly when under the broiler. I prefer this richer cheese at room temperature. No need for high heat—this unique cheese melts in your mouth.

 

Why so blue?

Last modified on 2012-03-18 20:44:08 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Blue cheese is a type of cheese made through the introduction of blue mold spores into the milk during the cheese-making process. For the sake of consistency, most blue cheeses are made by the regulated addition of the mold into the milk during the stages of production (some blue cheeses rely on airborne spores, but the results of the cheese can be as inconstant as the wind). Penicillium glaucum and Penicillium roqueforti are the two molds used to produce blue cheeses. Penicillium roqueforti is the mold used to produce assertive blue cheeses versus the the milder Penicillium glaucum.

Mold spores may be introduced into the curds before they are pressed or added once the cheese has begun to age. In the latter process, the cheese is punctured with needles to allow air to reach the interior. The air activates the culture and the mold begins to develop.

 

Mold is a type of organism that breaks down organic substances and is integral to the cheese-making process. The mold’s enzymes break down the fibrous structure of the curds, transforming the consistency of the cheese. The process is carefully controlled in order to consistently produce a particular type of cheese.

While many blue veined cheeses tend to have a more crumbly, fissured textures, the unique Cambozola does not. Cambozola is produced using the cultures Penicillium roqueforti and Penicillium camemberti resulting in a pungent blue cheese with a very creamy texture.

 

Why wrap in wax?

Last modified on 2012-03-12 03:28:10 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

So my appetizers were so “mini” that I had plenty of cheese left over. What to do? Well besides devouring it, which is too often my preferred method of storage, I decided to save it for another day. While eyeing the ripened cheese, the hand might first reach for the cling wrap: something you might think will keep that moistness and preserve the flavor.

But no! Waxed paper may your cheese’s friend. Slightly more unwieldy for the domestic, as it means methodically folding and taping, but waxed paper can wrap your leftover cheese up in a pretty package that will keep them flavorful and fresh. That is because the  cheese is still ripening. The cheese needs to breathe, meaning the bacteria on the surface mold is still alive and needs oxygen to survive. As the cheese ripens, it also lets off moisture. The cheese cannot let off moisture when wrapped in plastic.

Soft cheeses will store well wrapped in waxed paper in the fridge, but they should not be stored longer than ten days. Alas, you’ll just have to find the time to indulge…

 

 

What’s in a Rind?

Last modified on 2011-11-18 12:08:02 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

The rind is the outer surface of ripened cheese. During the ripening stage of the cheese-making process, temperature and humidity affect the growth of certain bacteria and enzymes that physically and chemically alter the cheese. Adjustments in humidity, temperature, and the length of time the cheese ripens result in cheeses with different flavors, appearances, and textures.

Cheeses can be categorized as internally ripened and surface ripened. Internally ripened cheeses are covered with a protective substance, such as brine or wax.  Some well-known internally ripened cheeses include Gouda, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Manchego. You might recognize them by their harder outer surface.

Surface ripened cheeses can be covered with bacteria or other microorganisms, or be set in an environment which will exhibit growth of microorganisms. These microorganisms react with the cheese and impart the cheese with a particular flavor and texture.  Surface-ripened cheeses can have a bloomy rind or a washed rind. Cheeses with bloomy rinds, such as Brie and Camembert, have a white outer surface. Cheeses with washed rinds, such as Rougette Bavarian Red, typically have an orangish color and are slightly more pungent.