Unlike most food products, cheese benefits from mold. Did you know that without mold a large number of cheese varieties wouldn’t exist? Mold is a key ingredient in cheesemaking for cheeses such as blue and gorgonzola as well as bloomy-rind cheeses such as brie and camembert,
Mold, and the bacteria that forms it, play an important role as a cheese ages and develops a unique flavor and texture. The molds used in cheesemaking are useful because they are flavor-producing, but harmless to eat.
The mold that forms the blue veins in blue cheese varieties is a result of the cheese being pierced with strains of Penicillium glaucum bacteria. As the cheese ages and the veins access more air, the mold begins to form and grow into the beautiful blue that you see in an aged blue cheese.
Bloomy-rind cheeses, such as brie and camembert, are aged from the exterior inwards by using a velvety white mold grown from Penicillium candidum or Penicillium camemberti. The mold “bloom” forms the white on the outside of the cheese, while the inside becomes smooth and sometimes runny.
Which of these varieties of moldy cheese will you celebrate National Moldy Cheese Day with, blue or bloomy-rind?