Natural Cheese Rinds: 101


What does it mean to be a "washed rind" or a "bloomy" rind cheese? A washed rind cheese is one that is washed by hand in a brine (saltwater) solution to inhibit mold growth and encourage growth of a specific bacteria called brevibacterium linens (commonly referred to as B. Linens) which thrive in this briney environment and result in a tacky, orange, smelly rind. A sulphur compound called Methanethiol produced by B. Linens is the molecule largely responsible for the pungent, stinky aroma. Needless to say, our stinky, washed rind cheese lives up to it's antagonistic (or "bad guy") name, Prince John!

In contrast, in our Maid Marian Camembert, a bloomy rind or soft ripened cheese, we have encouraged the growth of white mold on the rind by inoculating or adding a powdered form during the cheese make. Other bloomy rind cheeses have a combination of mold (Penicillium candidum, Penicillium camemberti), yeast, or yeast-like fungus (Geotrichum candidum) that bloom like tiny flowers on the exterior of a ripening cheese. This live rind breaks down the fats and proteins of a cheese, causing an increasingly creamy to runny texture over time. Bloomy rind cheeses, such as our Maid Marian Camembert, have "mild and lactic" flavors that often resemble onion or mushroom. Stop by the Ag District Center and pick up our Prince John Washed Rind and Maid Marian Camembert to see this flavorful contrast! And remember...don't be afraid to eat these rinds, it's where most of that great flavor comes from!