Blue cheese is a very controversial product that many continue to look at with apprehension. Meanwhile, research by Malaysian scientists shows that it is very beneficial for health (in reasonable amounts, of course). Microscopic fungi grown on dairy products have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system and have an anti-inflammatory effect. However, there are some disadvantages to blue cheeses. But first things first.
Pages of history
According to legend, a simple French shepherd became the unwitting creator of cheese with a noble mold. One day he stopped in a cool cave in Mount Kombalu to dine and spread out his simple food: bread and sheep's cheese. But, suddenly seeing a beautiful stranger, he rushed after her, forgetting about food and everything in general. The shepherd did not catch up with the girl, and returned to his bundle of provisions only a few weeks later (the bad weather prevented him). During this time, both cheese and bread had time to mold. But hunger tormented the young man so much that he had no choice: he tasted a piece of moldy sheep's cheese and was amazed at its unusual taste!
This amorous story happened in a place called Roquefort-sur-Soulzon in 1070. The recipe was repeated by local monks, giving the king among the cheeses with mold the same name - Roquefort.
For the production of cheeses, only special types of noble mold from the genus Penicillium are used. It can cover the top or penetrate the cheese head and be blue, green or white.
Cheese with a white crust is aged in cold cellars. The most popular representatives of this species are Brie and Camembert.
In blue cheeses, mold ripening occurs inside the product, while the richness of the taste depends on the length of time in the cellar. Popular brands of cheese with blue cheese - Roquefort, Gorgonzola lance d'Amber, Danish Blue Cheese, Bleu d ' Auvergne.
All goes to good
Mold radically changes the properties of cheese at the level of chemical composition - the mass becomes softer due to the active breakdown of casein into amino acids. In addition, mold enriches cheeses with vitamins of groups A, B, D, E and PP and essential amino acids (formed from proteins during ripening). And that's not counting the fact that cheeses contain a lot of calcium, phosphorus, sodium and other micro- and macroelements.
The piquant taste of the varieties with mold is due to the high concentration of fat breakdown products (this process occurs under the influence of fungal microflora). However, everything is good in moderation!
Despite the fact that the mold, which is used to make cheese, is not a raw material for the production of penicillin, it still contains active substances that destroy bacterial cell walls (it is on this property that the effect of antibiotics is based). True, it acts not only on pathogenic microorganisms - mold prevents the beneficial microflora from using the nutrient medium, which can cause dysbiosis.
In the process of vital activity in our body, mushrooms secrete slightly toxic substances that can accumulate and cause poisoning. Therefore, it is better to use it with moldy cheese in dosage. British doctors even calculated the norm: no more than 30 grams per day.
The shelf life of cheeses with mold is no more than two months. However, due to the specific smell and taste, it is rather difficult to determine the freshness of the product. Therefore, pay attention to the appearance.
In blue varieties, the channels for the entry of mold should not be very noticeable: in aged, ripened cheeses, they are deformed by fungus or filled with the bulk.
Blue stripes take up less of the cheese. If there are a lot of them, then the product is most likely spoiled.
The cheese should not crumble, its ideal consistency is soft, loose and slightly damp.
When choosing brie or any other varieties with white mold, sniff the head. Good cheese should have a mushroom smell of penicillin. If the smell has caught the ammonia notes, the product is overexposed.
Pay attention to the composition! It should not contain any dyes or preservatives. Allowed ingredients include only milk and lactic acid products, penicillin, salt and rennet.
In brie, the cheese mass is homogeneous: several small holes are allowed per head. Otherwise, it is a substandard product.
Please note that it is not recommended to store cheese in the refrigerator at home. It is necessary to wrap it with a cotton cloth dipped in salt water and send it to a dark, cool place. Soft varieties are stored for no more than three days, hard varieties - no more than seven.
Text: Natalia Kapitsa