Things have been busy here at Chez Belm. I’ve spent a lot of time putting my house in order (literally) and dealing with the freshly-minted moody teenager who has suddenly replaced He Who Will Not Be Ignored. I also realized I was suffering from charcuterie burnout, but I have new projects in the works.
As part of the house-ordering I took an inventory of the Deep Storage Facility, which turned up the gouda I made back in September. It had been sitting in my cheese incubator for almost eight months, so it was time to see how it turned out.
When I examined it in full daylight, I noticed some dark patches beneath the wax coating:
I was certain that the entire cheese had become riddled with mold, and not in a good Roquefort-y way. I resigned myself to cutting it open, recording the level of contamination, and tossing eight months of work and waiting into the bin.
Much to my pleasant surprise – but not yours, since I tipped my hand with the opening photo – The cheese was free of mold except for a few patches directly beneath the wax. It had a deep yellow color and a crumbly texture.
More importantly, it tasted like an aged Gouda, which I found encouraging. I should have been making a cheese a month, alternating between Cheddar and Gouda, but now that I’m confident in my handling and production methods I’ll start a regular schedule. I think I’ve figured out a way to manage the temperature control with my sous vide rig, which should provide better consistency between batches. That’s one of the next projects, so stay tuned.