Types of Cheese: Blue Cheese
Granston Blue (Llangloffan), Landsker Blue, Soft Blue (St. Florence), Gorau Glas (Quirt)
Blue cheese is a mould ripened type, with blue green veins throughout the cheese. Many are only made when the milk is most suited to this type of cheese and thus are not available throughout the year. Granston is typical of cheese made only when the milk is deemed to be at its best. Some such as Landsker are pressed whereas others are a softer creamier type of cheese. Gorau Glas has the distinction of winning a gold award at the 2002 British Awards.
Some varieties have a white mould on the surface and blue mould within the body of the cheese. This combination of the two Penicillium moulds provides a mild soft cheese usually classified within the soft ripened cheese category. Although some of the Blue mould cheese now available are the result of modern technologies, they first occurred naturally. Where cheesemakers stored their cheese in caves or cellars, those places often provided the correct humidity and temperature conditions for the wild or natural yeasts and moulds to grow.
In a booklet on the practice of Cheshire Cheesemaking dated 1892, there is mention of the 'green fade', a minute fungus growth. Cheese, which naturally blued were regarded as very special cheese, 'accidents' in the maturing process that were much sought after.
The Penicillium roqueforti mould, obtained from specialist suppliers, is now normally added with the milk. Reassurance can be given that eating this type of cheese does not create any antibiotic resistance or affect the usefulness of the antibiotic penicillin.
Blue cheese is not pressed as it is essential for the curds to be loosely packed, leaving space for the mould to grow. The mould requires air to grow and turn it a blue colour. This is aided and also controlled by piercing the cheese with stainless steel needles - never copper needles as is still stated by some. The tunnels created by the needles, allows air into the body of the cheese and it quickly develops the attractive blue mould picture.
The flavour of a blue cheese varies according to the type of milk and season. It should be mellow, with a slightly piquant, possibly peppery taste with mushroom overtones.
There should not be a bitter aftertaste. The cheese is left unwrapped during maturing and the rind can be eaten. This is a mixture of micro-organisms left to develop naturally and they also have an important part to play in the flavour and texture development of this type of cheese.
Types of cheese: washed-rind-cheese.