The cheese industry often refers to stinky cheeses as washed-rind. They are a great alternative to those that love a strong cheese but are bored of the overly ripe Camembert or sick of the salty flavours of blue cheese. But have you ever wondered why feet smell like cheese?
Why do Feet Smell like Cheese?
The cheese is washed continuously in brine. A bacteria known as Brevibacterium linens (B-linens) thrives in this environment and forms on the cheese. Similarly, as your feet sweat during the day, b-linens bacteria develop on your feet. This is why washed rind cheese can smell like feet.
How to make Washed-rind Cheese
The washed rind cheeses are made the same way as white mould, as they contain the same bacteria and starter culture. Remove this bacteria by adding salt to the cheese. Washing the cheese more frequently in brine ensures that the B-linens thrive and develop, creating an intense orange colour and strong smell.
These b-linens can also be found around where flamingos live- which is why flamingos’ legs are pink/orange in colour.
The b-linens break down the cheese starting outside and working their way inwards. As the cheese matures, these b-linens continue to break down the cheese, eventually leading to an overripe cheese which has a strong ammonia smell.
How do I Serve Washed-rind Cheeses?
Washed rind cheeses often come in two different varieties; hard and soft. The harder style, such as the Swiss cheese Gruyere, works best as the basis for a good cheesy pasta sauce or using the classic Raclette to melt over potatoes and prosciutto.
Some of the best-washed rind cheeses come from the UK (Stinking bishop), France (Epoisses and Pont l’Eveque) and Italy (Taleggio).
Soft washed-rind cheeses are perfect for a cheeseboard. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving to allow the cheese to become room temperature. A perfectly ripe Epoisses is melt in the mouth heaven!
Soft washed rind cheeses match perfectly with beer. The yeasty earthy flavours found in cheeses such as Tallegio and Epoisses complement the similar flavours found in beers such as Belgian Ale.
For those that prefer a fruitier flavour, a dark full-bodied fruity red such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon will make the perfect accompaniment to your washed rind.
Can I Eat the Rind on Washed-rind Cheese?
You can eat the rind on washed-rind cheese. Similar to brie and camembert, the rind enhances the flavour and can increase in intensity depending on how mature each wheel of cheese is.
What is the History of Washed-rind Cheese?
The monks discovered washed-rind cheeses in Northern France, who often fasted due to religious reasons. They used the washed rind process to recreate a meaty earthy flavour on the cheese.
Should Washed-rind Cheese have White Mould on it?
White mould can be common on washed rind cheeses. The maturation process (known as surface ripening) is similar to white mould cheeses (brie and camembert). A small amount is not harmful, however, it is possible to scrape off large amounts with the back of a knife.