Good Evening Cheesy1’s,
Earlier today I was contacted by Andy Swinscoe from The Courtyard Dairy who had originally researched into blue veining and asked if I could collaborate with The Courtyard Dairy on this post, so below is an update to the original post. Enjoy and don’t forget to visit http://www.thecourtyarddairy.co.uk/ the Cheesemonger Of The Year 2013.
So why exactly does blue vein start to grow in a Cheddar & other types of cheese that doesn’t have any mould culture in? Well quite simply the air gets into a hole which has either formed when it is turned or has formed a crack during maturation, thus allowing air to create blue veins as the air is reacting with the cheese.
With a little research conducted by Andy Swinscoe from The Courtyard Dairy I can provide a more thorough explanation. When cheese was first developed to turn blue it was through this process of leaving it to the air so it is perfectly edible and some cheeses today are still turned blue through this method; as it is creates an unusual characteristic in the cheese but can be desirable. The blue is usually derived from the Penicillium family because it is salt & acid resistant so its perfect to grow in all manner of environments. When cheese makers add blue mould to their milk at the start of the cheesemaking they know what the outcome will be and the flavours that will be expected, but a cheese that should not contain blue mould will create an interesting flavour and sometimes make for a unique tasting experience that is not desired. You shouldn’t worry about it being bad because the mould shouldn’t cause any danger because it doesn’t produce mycotoxins which mould produces in other foods, and that is down to the fact that cheese has conditions difficult for it to form due to lactic acid bacteria, pH and the water activity.
The point is though that this is a defect which most cheesemakers will look to avoid and the cheesemonger will cut out to avoid selling to customers. I know that my customers find the blue unappealing in the cheese but it is the next step on to accepting cheese for what it is, and I think it illustrates a cheese which is traditional & well matured. If in doubt it is always worth asking your cheesemonger to let you try some of the cheese with blue in because you never know it might be a more developed taste you will like!
In a day & age where we question where our food has come from at least this is one telltale sign that your cheese has been matured in a traditional manner, and it adds to the province of the cheese.
I hope that this helps and if you have any questions then you can check out the post by Andy Swinscoe over at http://www.thecourtyarddairy.co.uk/blog/what-is-the-blue-veining-in-traditional-cheddar-and-can-i-eat-it.html to hopefully find the answers.
Have A Good Evening,
(Excerpts of Information & All images used with courtesy from The Courtyard Dairy, Andy Swinscoe.)