How to Make Blue Cheese At Home
The most popular and well known blue cheeses are Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Danish Blue, and Stilton. Each one has its own characteristics. Roquefort, as an example is exclusively made from sheep milk. The below recipe is quite easy to make and will yield a great tasting blue. The tricky part of blue cheese can be the fact that the blue spores are very aggressive, which means if you keep a blue cheese besides other non-blue cheeses, they might all start to turn blue. I recommend aging blue cheese away from other cheeses.
Mould needs air to grow and since the blue veins should grow inside the cheese, where there is no air, we need to create crevices inside the cheese where the blue mould can grow. Skewer needles work well for that. In this recipe we will make a small cheese so beginners can experiment without having to use large amounts of milk. Once familiar with the process, I recommend making larger wheels of at least 1 kg/ 2 lbs (up to 10 L/ 10 qt of milk required).
We review and suggest Cheese Making Kits here if you would like to get started with making cheese.
How To Make Blue Cheese
Keeping everything perfectly clean is really important. Wash everything with detergent and hot water and rinse well. If you don’t mind bleach, it’s an inexpensive way to sanitize the tools. Rinsing the tools with boiling water is a natural and effective way as well.
In order to be successful you need to order blue mould culture from a reliable source (see ingredients below). Handle the culture bags carefully:
- Store them in the freezer.
- Before opening, sanitize the bag with rubbing alcohol or peroxide.
- As a home cheesemaker you won’t need the entire bag. Sanitize a spoon with rubbing alcohol before measuring off the culture.
- Once you extracted the needed amount, fold the bag and tape it shut. Then put it back into the freezer.
- A pot that comfortably holds 2 L/ 2 qt of milk
- Thermometer, you can order one here
- Sharp knife
- Large spoon
- Cheese mould of 8 cm/ 3 inches diameter will make a nice sized cheese. Order cheese moulds here.
- A perforated plastic or bamboo mat (like a sushi mat). You can order one here.
- Pasta strainer
- Small kitchen strainer
- Large kitchen strainer that can be placed over the cheese (this is used later to develop the blue mould, there are alternatives which are explained below)
- 2 L/ 2 qt of milk.
- ¼ of a rennet tablet or liquid rennet according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. You can order rennet here.
- ⅛ tsp of mesophilic and thermophilic culture blend, you can order that here.
- ⅛ tsp of calcium chloride (not necessary for raw milk). You can order it here.
- ⅛ tsp of blue mould culture, you can order that here.
- 1 tsp of salt
- Extra salt to wash the cheese
- Pour the milk into the pot and on low heat warm it to 33 C/ 91 F.
- Add the cheese culture. Cover the pot and let it sit for one hour.
- After an hour, warm the milk back to 33 C/ 91 F.
- In a separate bowl, mix the rennet with ¼ cup of cold, non-chlorinated water.
- Stir the rennet into the milk for 30 seconds, then make sure the milk is still.
- After 30 minutes check if the milk has coagulated. A good way to check is to let it break over the finger, it should make a clean cut.
- With a sharp knife cut the curd into 1/2 inch squares.
- Let the curd set for 5 minutes.
After 30 minutes check if the milk has coagulated
Cutting the curd into half-inch squares
Let the curd set
- With a large spoon carefully stir up the curd then let it sit for 5 minutes. Repeat this for 60 minutes.
- Place the pasta strainer into the sink and carefully pour the curd into it. Let the whey drain off for 2 minutes, then put the drained curd back into the pot.
- In a bowl mix 1 tsp of salt with the blue mould culture, then add to the curd. With your hands carefully mix in the salted mould into the curd.
- Transfer the curd into the cheese mould, let it set for 10 minutes, then flip the mould onto the perforated mat.
Carefully stirring the curd
The curd is ready to drain
After salting and adding the blue culture to the curd, transfer it gently into the cheese mould
- Flip the cheese every 2 hours. Do this 4 times (8 hours), then let it sit for another 4 hours (total of 12 hours).
- After the 12 hours remove the cheese from the mould. Wash the perforated mat with boiling water, then place the cheese onto it, preferably in a cool place.
Flipping the mould onto a plastic mat
Flipping mould every 2 hours
Let sit for 3 hours after last flip
If we don’t look after the surface of the cheese, a thick blue mould will grow. For a rindless blue cheese I recommend the following two options:
- Place the cheese onto the perforated mat and onto a cutting board, preferably in a cool place.
- With a skewer poke holes from the side all the way through the cheese. The blue mould will grow along these holes since air can flow through. The more holes you poke, the more mould veins you will have.
- Then sprinkle about half a tsp of salt over the surface and gently rub it in, either with your fingers, a cloth, or a vegetable brush. Do it on the side as well, but not on the side that is face down. You can order a vegetable brush here.
- Place a strainer over the cheese and cover the strainer partially with a damp cloth. This will keep the cheese moist. Keep the cloth damp.
- The next day, flip the cheese and repeat the salting on the other side of the cheese and around the side.
- Flip the cheese daily. As soon as you see blue mould develop on the surface, sprinkle some salt over it and brush the surface.
- Do this for 2 weeks. Then wrap the cheese in wax paper. It is now ready to be consumed as a mild blue. If you want it mild, refrigerate it now. If you want to age it more, keep it in your cool place wrapped in wax paper for another 2 to 8 weeks.
Poking holes into the cheese with a skewer will allow the blue mould to make veins
Brushing the outside of the cheese with a vegetable brush will avoid that the blue mould will overtake
Option 2: Waxing the cheese:
Waxing the cheese will avoid the blue mould to grow on the surface. Waxing will also keep the moisture in the cheese and doesn’t require as much care.
- Order some cheese wax here.
- In a pot, melt the wax and dip half of the cheese in the liquid wax. Let the wax dry for 2 minutes.
- Dip the other half of the cheese into the wax and let dry. With a kitchen brush you can make the wax smooth and even.
- Once the wax has dried, poke holes into the cheese with a skewer. Go from the side all the way through. The mould will grow along the holes, so the more holes you poke the more blue veins you will have.
- Place the cheese in a cool place on a cutting board and flip it every two days.
- The cheese will be ready for consumption after 30 days. You can age it longer if you wish.
Dip half of the cheese into the melted wax
Dip the other half of the cheese into the wax
How to best age blue cheese:
If you are a serious home cheese maker and want to make mould ripened cheese on regular bases, it is a good idea to create an aging box or even an aging room.
- There are some ready to use solutions on the market. We can really recommend this cheese aging box. ( see picture below)
- A specially designed clay brick can help keep the moisture in your cheese box (see picture below).
- An old fridge can make a great cheese aging room. It is important to create some airflow by cutting a hole in the top and the bottom. Make sure to cover the holes with a fly screen.
- A plastic storage box is an easy and inexpensive way to create a cheese aging box. Place a perforated plastic mat or a bamboo mat into the bottom and put your cheese on it. Partially close the lid to keep the moisture in. You can add some damp paper towel, a sponge or a clay brick (as mentioned above) to keep it moist. Leave the lid a tiny bit open to start with. Don’t close it shut. The cheese needs air. Flip the cheese daily and keep the towel/sponge/brick moist. If the cheese begins to dry out, close the lid more. If the cheese gets slimy, then it needs more air.
Blue cheese takes a bit of practice to make. You need to find the right environment where you can maintain the moisture and a consistent temperature. You will have to figure out for yourself how many holes to poke, so you will end up with the amount of blue veins you like.
Play with it and have fun!
- The milk doesn’t coagulate or coagulates only weakly: Did you use the proper amount of rennet? If you use liquid rennet, is the expiry date good? Did you mix the rennet with clean and non chlorinated water? Is your thermometer accurate?
- The curd in the mould doesn’t drain properly and the cheese stays very soft: This could be when your culture is not active. Is the expiry date of the culture good? Did you keep it in the freezer? It could have to do with the milk. Sometimes homogenized milk can retain water and the cheese will stay very soft.
- The blue mould doesn’t grow: Is the expiry date of the blue mould culture still good? Did you store it in the freezer? Are you keeping the cheese in a humid environment? Is your towel kept wet on top of the strainer that covers the cheese? The lack of humidity is most likely the main reason for poor mould development.
- Black mould dots grow on the cheese: Mould spores can be everywhere and are airborne. With a knife remove the back spots, then move the cheese to a different area. Brush the cheese with salt water or wax it as described above.
Leave us a comment below about how your recipe turned out. Feel free to suggest ideas or what you would like to see in our recipes.