How to Control Blue Mold in Soft Cheese Production

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Proper sanitation is the first line of defense against blue mold.
Proper sanitation is the first line of defense against blue mold.

Blue or green molds in some cheeses lend a distinctive, pungent flavor. They are often introduced intentionally during production to make blue-veined cheeses like Roquefort and Gorgonzola. But there are also undesirable blue molds that form on soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert during production. These molds are easy to prevent and remove, so don't discard perfectly good cheese before attempting to control unwanted mold.

Instructions

    • 1

      Prevent unwanted blue molds from forming by properly sanitizing all equipment and the aging area. Although cheese production requires some bacteria formation, too much or the wrong sort of bacteria can spur blue mold formation. The mold resulting from unwanted bacteria can result in E. coli and Salmonella, so proper sanitation is paramount for food safety.

    • 2

      Ensure proper air circulation in the aging area to prevent unwanted blue mold formation. Stagnant air exacerbates the growth of undesirable, potentially harmful blue mold. Inspect the ventilation regularly to be sure the air moves adequately through the manufacturing and aging areas.

    • 3

      Salt the cheese sufficiently to both flavor it and prevent blue mold formation. Cheese is salted with non-iodized kosher, canning or cheese salt flakes. The salt preserves the cheese by helping extract whey, forming a rind that inhibits bad mold formation while allowing desirable molds to grow.

    • 4

      Cut away blue mold that has formed on the outside of soft cheeses and re-salt the exposed area to prevent re-growth.

    • 5

      Evaluate the equipment, starter and milk if blue mold forms continually in each new batch. The equipment could be unsanitary, or the culture starter or milk may be contaminated. Start with sterile equipment, safe handling procedures and new ingredients to remedy the problem.

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