A Question of Mold

Question: Are all blue molds good for cheese?

A short answer will say not all molds are desirable on cheese, but some are a confirmation of quality.

Most of the lactic goat’s milk cheeses will welcome Penicillium album, a mold that changes from white to blue as it slowly covers the mold A Question of Moldcheese. According to the Syndicate of Pelardon from France, “this type of Penicillium is very interesting as we can conduct different types of affinage (maturing) than with the traditional Geotrichum”. Penicillium produces proteolytic and lipolytic enzymes which influence aroma and play an important role in ripening/aging. Under blue Penicillium the paste begins to become creamier and homogeneous. The aroma of the cheese becomes more subtle.

Other blue molds like Glocum and Aspergilus are undesirable in dairies. They are easy to recognize as they produce an unpleasant earthy taste. Good artisanal cheesemakers will use Penicillium album, which is much more natural than microfiltration, ultra pasteurization or additive again blue mold like antifungal E235 (a GMO).

mold2 A Question of Mold

If you are confused between good and bad blue mold, just cut off the rind and your taste buds will never know the difference. Do not ask artisan cheesemakers to manipulate their natural product to avoid these brightly colored molds, because they are a part of the natural cheese making process. Changing centuries old traditions makes the term ‘artisan’ become meaningless.

Denis Cottin


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One Response to “A Question of Mold”

  1. Erin Says:

    Thank you for answering this often asked question, Denis. I have a Coupole goat cheese that I just received and it is lovely with bright greenish/blue spots and the cheese is remarkably delicious, spots and all!