It has been well over a month since I made my first cheese of 2014, my first Taleggio and it has been a fun and funky time for these four little cheeses. But wait you are thinking you made five, sorry there are only four left now. I have two words that describe what happened to one of the cheeses – “Quality Control”. I will get to that later, but it is time to talk about washing the rind and brining on the “Funk”
Like most washed rind cheeses, Taleggio is washed with a brine solution, but unlike other cheeses you do not add any more linens to the brine. That is right, just a simple salt brine. The transformation is stunning and the “Funk” definitely is here. I started to wash the rinds on the third day of ageing and then every second day for two weeks.
Every two days I would pull the ripening box out and wash the Taleggio with the brine. I used a piece of cheesecloth that I washed and sterilized in between each washing. I always started with the little round cheese and then moved on to the large squares.
I kept up with the washing and the ridges started to wear down and fill in. As this happened the smell started to get a little funky. Not in a bad way, but in a glorious stinky cheese way. I was in heaven and my wife made sure that she was nowhere near the cheese during “inspection” time.
As you can see the ridges are really starting to wear down from the repeated washing. This is helping to create what I am calling “pockets of funk” which I hope will five that little burst of stinky-cheesy-goodness to the person that gets that piece.
As the cheese ages you don’t have to wash the rind as much. To me this seemed like a good thing as they were starting to be hard to handle. The paste under the rind was starting to get soft and the rind would tear if handled too roughly. Also one of the squares seemed to be drying out.
It was good, the paste was soft, but not runny or gooey. The sandwich was amazing, it almost tasted like there were cured meats in it. This was what I was looking for.
Overall I am quite pleased with how they are aging. I plan on bringing one to a family function in a few weeks and one to our next League of YEG Home Cheese Makers meeting along with a few other cheeses. The basement smells of these funky little darlings every time I open the fridge, I love it, my wife not so much.
I will have more pictures up on the Facebook page as usual
Until next time go and make some stinky cheese!