Why is blue cheese blue? According to Nora Singley, former Cheesemonger and TV Chef on The Martha Stewart Show, blue cheese is the result of a chain reaction caused by the interaction of mold with oxygen.
Anything Blue review – a tasteful chemistry class with Nora Singley, the Pope of Blue cheese
How does that happen? Well the blue mold is injected in the heart of the cheese with a needle, before the cheese is pierced throughout, introducing 02.
The creamy Blue result appears, and thrives, in a humid atmosphere.*
Find out more about Nora’s extensive knowledge of blue cheese, as well as tips and tricks to make it even bluer, below!
By the way, TheKitchn (.com) is an amazing resource for food-related Q&As, recipes, ideas, etc.; they also feature a Story about another Blue Cheese, the ‘Bleu de Gex’ as well as a yummy Arugula, Pear & Blue Cheese Salad recipe.
* Think it’s disgusting? I hope you never drink milk, alcohol and never eat any kind of meat or shellfish, as bacteria proliferation play a huge part in all of these…
‘Cheese nerds, come hither.
Have you ever really thought about why blue cheese is the color that gives it its name? And what’s the key element necessary to activate that blueness?
Blue cheeses are unique for many reasons, but most significantly, they stand out from the other families of cheese because of the way they ripen. While most other cheeses are bacteria-ripened, like washed-rind cheeses, blue cheeses ripen from mold activity. And, simply put, this mold, whose spores are introduced into milk at the beginning stages of cheesemaking, is blue.
But it’s not that simple. Blue mold won’t grow just because you add it to milk. When a wheel of blue cheese is formed, it’s actually white in color, inside and out. […]
It’s only when a cheesemaker pricks those wheels all over with long steel needles that the blue mold will start to proliferate. Those needle pricks introduce oxygen to the inside of the wheels. Without the oxygen, blue mold can’t grow. It’s the key to blue mold survival. Once oxygen is introduced, blue mold begins to travel outwards, closer to the rind, ripening the cheese as it migrates outwards.
Blue cheese is the only style of cheese that ripens from the inside-out as opposed to the outside-in. (Reason #2 that makes blues unique.)
Often, you can actually see the distinct paths of blue, like long striated lines, like at the top of the the slice in the picture at left. Or you’ll see small circular holes where the needle went into the wheel and where blue mold began its growth, like in the picture of Roquefort at the top of the post.
And sometimes, if it’s been freshly cut off a wheel, a new slice of blue cheese will become bluer and bluer before your very eyes, a trick that’s sure to impress if you can time it right.’
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