Blue Cheese #4 – The Great Deceiver, or One Cheese Does Not Make A Success!

I am in the weeds here folks!  I’ve tried to make a lactic blue cheese, with varying success.  The first was a salt lick but looked pretty, the second didn’t even get any blue on it, but looked pretty as well.  The third and most successful to date was a spur of the moment decision to add some p. roquforti to one of my Camembert, it was not pretty but super tasty.  The fourth attempt had everything going for it, great coverage and the sampler cheese, well…

A nice looking blue!

A nice looking blue!

Before starting I went back to my notes on the previous cheese and decided to eliminate the addition of geotricum to the mix and just stick to the blue mould.  After all I do have a strain of geo that is in my fridge that has been impossible to get rid of.  I used my standard lactic cheese recipe and added the mould at the time of ripening.  The cheese was ripened for 24 hours and drained for 40 hours.  I added salt to the “tops” during the last 12 hours of draining and salted the other sides when they were un-moulded.

Five potential blues ready to go.

Five potential blues ready to go.

They had their own ripening box and their own cheese fridge too, all with the hope of a successful combination of mould and cheese to produce something that would resemble blue cheese.

After four days the blue started to show up.

After four days the blue started to show up.

It was then when I decided that I wanted some blue veins so I sterilized a thermometer and began to poke some holes.

It was a new experience that I kind of enjoyed.

It was a new experience that I kind of enjoyed.

The upside was I had some cheese to sample.  It was creamy and blue.  I was hooked.

The upside was I had some cheese to sample. It was creamy and blue. I was hooked.

I kept the cheese at 10 degrees Celsius and at 95 % humidity for a few more weeks, checking on the development as I waited.  The blue covered almost the all of the cheeses by the end of week two.

They started to smell like blues, this was a first.

They started to smell like blues, this was a first.

The holes stayed open, at least at the surface.

The holes stayed open, at least at the surface.

A fine dusting of geotricum came to the party.

A fine dusting of geotricum came to the party.

I was quickly becoming a fan of blue cheese, what the heck was happening.  I always swore I would never make one, and now this was my fourth attempt.  That was always in the back of my mind, but soon it was time to wrap them in foil and continue aging them.

Ready for the wrap.

Ready for the wrap.

All ready for a bit more ageing.

All ready for a bit more ageing.

A few days later I decided to try one to see if I was completely hooked and a full fledge blue convert.

I chose the little round one as my taster.

I chose the little round one as my taster.

I selected an Anjou pear to go with it.  The plan was to have the cheese on sliced pear with some honey.

I selected an Anjou pear to go with it. The plan was to have the cheese on sliced pear with some honey.

Alas the blue stayed on the surface, but you can see how creamy the paste was.

Alas the blue stayed on the surface, but you can see how creamy the paste was.

You can see where the holes were made.  I was disappointed that the blue stayed on the surface.

You can see where the holes were made. I was disappointed that the blue stayed on the surface.

The aroma and flavour were amazing, just the right amount of saltiness combined with the mild blue flavour throughout the past, stronger towards the rind.  I could not stop eating the cheese.  It was amazing, I am a blue convert!

This sounds perfect right?  Well fast forward a week and I want to have some blue cheese on a burger, I open up the cheese fridge and there are pools of milky goop on the bottom.  I see that it is coming from the foil wrapped blues.  I gingerly opened one to see that it had almost liquified and was surrounded by this milky white goop, I opened another one and another.  All were that way, what went wrong.  I have some suspicions, but I think I can rule out evil space monkeys.  I think that somewhere along the way there was some sort of contamination.  I am not sure what, but I am glad I did not share this cheese with any friends.

I have a solution, instead of trying to come up with a blue formula I will head into my cheese making books to find a tried and tested recipe for a blue cheese.  After all I am a convert.

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