How to Cultivate Your Own Blue Mold
One of the unique flavors that cheese offers come from an unlikely source: blue mold.
It is officially named Penicillium roqueforti. When you can cultivate this blue cheese culture at home, the techniques can save you hundreds of dollars each year.
The cultivation techniques also let you have the cultures available when the urge strikes to try making a blue cheese recipe at home.
How to Create Blue Mold for Cheese
- Leave a piece of sourdough bread out on a counter with a small piece of ripe blue cheese sitting on top of it.
- Let the cheese sit on top of the bread for about eight hours. You may need to remind some family members that it isn’t a snack!
- Place the cheese in an airtight container for at least 14 days. You’ll want to flip it every other day to ensure that the spreading of the mold is consistent.
- If you see any excess moisture developing on the inside of the container, wipe away the condensation immediately. Soggy sourdough isn’t helpful when cultivating your own blue mold.
- When you see the white color of the bread turn bluish-green, that means the Penicillium roqueforti spores are ready to get dried.
- Leave the container open for about a week to ensure that the sourdough dries entirely. You probably need to flip the bread at least once to eliminate all moisture.
- Once the bread is dry, you can store the blue mold spores in an airtight jar. It doesn’t need to be in the refrigerator, and the Penicillium roqueforti survives for several years.
How to Incorporate Blue Mold Into Your Cheese Recipe
When you’re ready to start making some blue cheese at home, take about a pea-sized area of the moldy sourdough. Add it to about 4L of milk (or one gallon). Adjust the number of spores you use based on the recipe’s instructions. If you have 2L of milk to add, reduce the moldy bread by 50%.
Mix the bread in with the milk to help the spores release into the fluid. You may find it easier to place the moldy sourdough into 1/4-cup of water to prepare the spores for your cheesemaking recipe.
Pour the milk through a strainer to remove any remaining bread that is in the fluid. Once you’ve finished this step, you can start following the instructions on your recipe.
Is It Safe to Eat Blue Mold?
The reason why some molds are unsafe to consume is due to the mycotoxins and aflatoxins they release. These substances impact the respiratory system in adverse ways, sometimes even having a carcinogenic effect on the body. Penicillium roqueforti cannot produce these toxins.
You could also use Penicillium candidum safely for a cheesemaking recipe to achieve different flavors.. The natural antibacterial properties they contain could even be healthy to include in your diet.
Blue cheese recipes are an excellent way to expand your cheesemaking prowess at home. Follow these steps to ensure you have the cultures needed for a successful experience.