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Question

I was wondering if you have any tips for washing cheese. I have made a small semi soft brie style cheese and would like to give it a wash, possibly in some beer?

Answer

You can wash any cheese, though it is easier with harder rather than softer types, if too soft the cheeses are difficult to handle. Generally a washing solution contains the bacteria Brevibacteria Linens, which can be bought as a culture or used from a previously washed cheese, in a 3% salt solution. If you want to incorporate anything else, like the beer you mention, then use about 10%. Smear the cheese with the solution, using a sponge or cloth, and store the cheese on a rack in a sealed box with water in the base, so the cheese stays damp, in a temperature of about 12C. Wash the cheese twice a week for 3 weeks at least, putting the solution in the fridge between washes. Initially the cheese will go sticky, before the bacterial coat grows, that’s perfectly normal. Once established, wrap the cheese in a camembert wrapping paper, to allow gas to exchange, and continue to ripen at 12C until ripe to your satisfaction.

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