There’s Blue in my Cheddar!
You might be surprised to learn that a blue streak running through cheddar and other hard cheese was once a sought-after characteristic. This mould, while different to the introduced mould strains of Stilton, Roquefort and so on, is nothing to be concerned about.
The word ‘cheddar’ refers to the cheese, a Somerset village, and is also a verb which describes how the eponymous cheese is made. After being cut, stirred and heated, the cheese curds are drained on a long table. Here begins the cheddaring process. Over an hour, the curds are cut into large blocks, stacked on top of each other, flipped over and re-stacked into small piles which then forces out more whey liquid under its own weight.
After being milled into pieces the size of a walnut and mixed with salt, the curds are placed into large, lined hoops for shaping then stacked and pressed further. Traditional Cheddar is also wrapped in two layers of cheesecloth and smeared with lard which allows them to breathe.
The considerably large size of the wheels (25kg ) allows for the cheese to remain in good condition for months and even years. You can imagine as these wheels are hand-turned during maturation they occasionally get knocked, developing cracks which then allow moulds to sneak in. Of course, you won’t see this in their waxed, suffocated cousins.
While modern society has been taught to value sterile, highly industrialised foods, we at Harper & Blohm, value more traditional processes which embrace character. Whilst not common or deliberate, a blue mould streak can actually be part of an artisan product. Flavour is experienced as a combination of taste and smell so, unsurprisingly, a streak of blue mould can actually add nuance as well as complexity.
Browse Harper & Blohm's ever-evolving range of Cheddars here