Farmhouse cheese makers in France started using ash generations ago, finding it helped preserve their Autumn cheese through the winter, which of course was a vital food source.
Originally, ashes from burnt vine cuttings taken from fireplaces, would have been used. This provided an instant, natural rind for protection and neutralised the surface acidity, allowing good moulds to grow.
The Ash is mixed with salt before applying to the cheese. The cheese will usually develop a blue-grey, mottled rind with a lovely, nutty texture and a strong creamy flavour.
Directions. Mix with salt before applying. In a few days the black rind will become grey as the white mould grows through. After 8-10 days the entire rind will be white.
Further more, if the mould growth is blue instead of white the cheese is too acidic; grey and hairy, the cheese is not acidic enough, retaining slightly too much moisture.
Store in a cool, dry place. Keeps indefinitely.