[Sca-cooks] Blue Cheese

Kathleen Madsen kmadsen12000 at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 5 14:54:28 PDT 2007

> Possibly neither learned it from the other.  Since
> cheese making seems to 
> begin in the Late Neolithic, it is quite possible
> that the practice of 
> producing blue cheese was invented somewhere else
> and introduced to France 
> and Spain by a third party.
> If we have to decide between the two, by the time of
> the Camino de Santiago 
=== message truncated ===

True, blue cheese did not originate in one place. 
Neither Roquefort or Cabrales were the first, merely
the first two of note that probably made it out of
their region.  Now while their history may date back
rather far the method of the cheesemaking itself has
evolved over time.  The main example being the blue
veining.  The veins in blue cheese are made by
piercing the wheel of cheese to allow oxygen access to
the interior.  This has little to no evidence of
actually being done in period, merely the annecdotal
tale of a cheese being speared back together with a
stick.  There are chevres that are made in the
traditional small log shape that use a skewer to give
them stability and it is possible that some
enterprising cheesemaker decided to try it on his
wheels of cheese to give them strength while being
handled - but there is no evidence to support it.

These cheeses started as milk that picked up the wild
spores and yeasts floating around in the area,
innoculating the cheese as it was being made.  The
blue mold spore was present in the milk from the
beginning of the make.  As the cheese was aged it
remained whole and the interior of the wheel was the
color of the milk.  As the wheel was cut open you
would see a blue blush begin to develop on the cut
surface rather than the distinctive veins that we see
today.  These blue mold growths will also naturally
occur on the outer rinds of the cheeses as well so any
time you cut into the cheese you'd be carrying those
mold spores across the cut surface as well, spreading
the spores even more.

One lesson that I have learned is that once you start
making and working with blue cheeses you have to make
rather strong steps to prevent it from innoculating
those that you *don't* want to be blue.


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