Farmhouse Peppercorn Blue

I am not sure how many people caught this post on my cheese blog, Little Green Cheese, but it was such an amazing discovery, that I had to share it here with you all.


Make no mistake, I must have a gift.  My cheese disasters seem to turn into fantastic creations!

Quite a while back in September 2011, I made two wheels of Farmhouse Cheddar with Peppercorns.  Kim and I opened one, shared half with friends and I wrapped the other half in cling wrap and put it into my big cheese box in the normal fridge at 4C.  I sold the other wheel to one of Kim’s friends, who loved it.

To my surprise, when I opened the cheese box on Sunday, 5th Feb, the half was still in there.  It was now over 6 months old, and still in the plastic wrap.  However something wonderful had happened.  Somewhere along the line, this cheese had become inoculated with penicillium roqueforti, and had grown blue mould.  I believe that I did have some Stilton open in the same cheese box, so it must have passed the mould on.  I was a bit dubious at first, but had a smell, and it did not smell off, just blue.  So here is the verdict:

Texture:  Now I wasn’t sure how this cheese would taste, because when it was a Farmhouse cheddar it was sharp and very crumbly.  I didn’t know how far the mould had penetrated the cheese as I had not pieced any holes in it as I would when making a blue or Stilton.  The crumbliness had gone, which had developed into a rich creamy texture that was easy to cut.

Development: Once I cut it in half, there was indeed some marbling in the top half.  As the Farmhouse cheddar had been so crumbly, there were air gaps and cracks in the top when I first put it into the fridge after de-waxing.  These gaps had helped the blue mould seep deep into the cheese, enhancing the flavour.

Taste: So then I had a taste.  OMG, it blew my mind.  This was a wonderful cheese.  The cheese was no longer sharp, but had a smooth creaminess to it, with a mild blue taste.  Then the pepper hits your palette to add to the complexity.

I have never tasted anything quite like it.  I am so pleased with this serendipitous discovery.  I wonder if I can make it again?  I might make it exactly the same, but spray it with some blue mould after two months normal maturation in the cheese fridge, wrap it up and store it in the normal fridge at 4C for another four months.  I think I will pierce it a few times to help the mould develop inside just in case.

As I have said before, cheese making is more art than science.  What a fluke!

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Comments

    • says

      I’m with Kim, nothing worst!! I always use a waxy potato and roast the potatoes whole and unpeeled first. When soft, scoop out the inner potato and discard the peel. Makes for a really soft gnocchi. Cheers

  1. Monique says

    Hey Gavin,

    I’ve been reading your cheese posts with much interest (although I don’t think I could go for a blue cheese at this point…) and am getting myself organised slowly and plan to start playing with some cheese making. But I have a question for you. My favourite commecial cheese is Mersey Valley. I love the crumbly yet creamy texture. What would be a good cheese to make to come up with something very similar? I live in dairy country so I’m planning to go for a drive and befriend a dairy farmer, hopefully an organic one, to get a source of raw milk. Once I find that, there’ll be no stopping me!! Ha ha. I think I’ll follow in your footsteps and start with a feta and maybe a brie or camembert, but when I’m ready to move onto a harder cheese, what do you recommend?

    Thanks,
    Monique

  2. says

    Oh Gavin – that looks and sounds FANTASTIC! I’ve never tried my hand at cheese yet, but am coming close to mastering bread, so when that’s done – I think I’ll try cheese! How wonderful – thanks so much for sharing your skills like this
    Greenie

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