Name my bacteria!

Well here it is – made (with love) on the 23rd April 2011 – my Italian ‘Bra’ Style cheese. Roughly 9 litres of delicious Shultz organic milk and a lazy Saturday afternoon helped to create these cheese babies and now at 64 days of age I’m ready to have my first taste.

mmm....cheese.....

This was my first go at making a slightly more ‘aged’ cheese and I was very keen to see how my new cheese cave performed  (in my curd nerd way, I was perhaps a little too excited about using my hygrometer to measure the humidity in the ‘cave’!).

However, I have to be honest – I’ve found it very difficult to find any source that can tell me whether the moulds growing on my cheeses are of the good or evil variety! While I have confidence in my hygiene practices, the cheesemaking courses I have done, have focused largely on the  ‘make’ part of the cheesemaking process but I am yet to find any good reference on ‘affinage’. In fact, I think its safe to say that ‘affinage’ is currently a largely under appreciated art here in Australia (something I hope to personally learn more about during my upcoming travels throughout the USA and Europe).

Making these cheeses has raised a few questions for me – How does the budding home cheesemaker know what’s growing on and in their cheese and more importantly what’s safe and what’s not? Obviously practice makes perfect (and I’ve got some practice to do, to get these cheeses looking a little prettier!) but I’d love to know if there is any small scale testing or reference material that anyone can recommend.

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