Friday, October 7, 2011

More on Black Mold

The author of the book I use for cheese recipes, Debra Amrein-Boyes author of "200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes", was kind enough to respond to my question about my mold.  Initially, she said it could be errant mold spores in the air that took hold, especially since it appeared my ageing conditions were probably too moist.  However, in a follow up, I explained that my b. linens bloom had not yet shown up, so she believes it's spoilage bacteria forming, again, because the cheese is in a too-humid condition.

She instructed me to wash the entire cheese again in brine, and treat any spots of mold with a vinegar/brine wash, but only apply it to the spots.  Then let it dry a bit before returning to the ageing container.  I also need to allow more air circulation while in the ageing container, so the lid is ajar a little.  I may have to reinoculate the surface with b. linens, but that's OK.  I have plenty of it still in the freezer.  I'll just have to let it rehydrate for 12 hours before use.

Ms. Amrein-Boyes said that the surface of the cheese is fairly alkaline (high pH), and this makes it ideal for mold growth.  That's why vinegar is good at spot treating.  So if anything gets in, it takes hold.  I have to be vigilant on the black mold until the b. linens takes off.  Evidently the molds compete and once one really gets established, it tends to inhibit other molds.  That's why getting the black mold out and establishing the right mold will be important.  All I can say is wish me luck in this struggle.  But at least I learned a good lesson.

Many thanks to Debra Amrein-Boyes for taking the time to answer my email.

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