Friday, October 7, 2011

Black Mold on Port Salut

I don't know what happened.  I am very careful to sterilize everything when making cheese, and when handling the cheese for bacteria/brin washing, turning, etc.  But four days after the second bacteria/brine wash, I found a few (less than a dozen) very small black and brown mold growths the size of pinheads on the Port Salut.

I took a sterile knife and lifted the small spots out so as not to smear the black mold across the surface, spreading it further.  The surface of the cheese is supposed to be moist but not sticky.  Well, it was moist and verging on sticky.  So after removing the visible mold spots, I dabbed the surface with clean, dry, cheesecloth to remove the excess dampness, resterilized the container and mat, and put it back to age.  But this time, I left the lid slightly ajar.  I think it's possible it was too humid in the container, making it ideal for a few mold spores present in the air while I was working with the cheese to grow.  I hope it is not something I introduced while making it.

I should have taken a pic of the mold to post, but I was so keen on removing it as soon as I saw it.  If it comes back, I'll post a pic.  I did write the author of the recipe book I used to make the cheese to see if she had any further suggestions.  I'd hate for this to be ruined.  It is one wheel nearly 3 lbs in weight.  That's a lot of cheese to toss if I cannot control the errant mold.

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