Most of our cheeses are turned twice a week. Yes, this is a labour of love so why do we turn our cheeses, and more importantly, what difference does it make?
Well, there are actually several benefits:
First and foremost it’s all about moisture. Although some cheeses can appear relatively dry, they're still undetectable levels of moisture remaining in the cheese. Small canals have naturally developed within the cheese creating a cheesy circulatory system. In the absence of a beating heart or turning to pump that moisture around the cheese, certain unwanted qualities might emerge. An unkept cheese that has been resting on one side throughout its maturation period, will allow gravity to get to work, forming pools at the bottom of the cheese. This creates an unequal distribution of fat and protein throughout the cheese thus, creating improper development of the texture and taste. If left for too long, the breakdown of the interior can happen quicker in those pooled areas giving the cheese a little bit of a beer belly which of course, isn't as aesthetically appealing.
It's a lovely thought that our intervention, turning our cheeses, acts like a heart, causing that much-needed goodness to be evenly distributed throughout the cheese.
Secondly, biofilm. Biofilm is the relationship between the rind and the wood creating a small colony of good microflora. Turning the cheese allows both sides of the cheese rind to develop evenly, rather than on one side. Rinds and surface moulds are a whole another subject matter to cover perhaps another blog, but for now. They're important. Very important.
There's also a rather odd study with shows food that is treated with love and care, rather than neglect tastes and looks better (check out Heston's experiment on rice). Also, a side effect of hands-on cheese allows us to get it to know it a bit better, touch and feel give us an intrinsic response to what the cheese may need.
There are some other reasons and truck ton of variables such as airflow, surface humidity and type of cheese, however, I believe the ones listed above contribute massively to a general better profile of our artisan cheese.
I hope you enjoyed another small insight into the art of maturing cheeses, and any questions that you may have popped up as you were reading, don't be shy and speak to us.