Monday, June 10, 2013

Day 1018 : Why Ash?

Utilizing ash in cheesemaking is a centuries old technique, originally utilized as a method of perserving younger cheeses for a longer shelf life. Nowadays, one sees the usage of ash in goat's milk cheeses for the most part. But why primarily cheeses crafted with goat's milk? 

Because cheeses crafted with goat's milk tend to be highly lactic in nature meaning that they are weaker in terms of body structure and are therefore more fragile and softer. The question then becomes how to preserve a cheese of this nature right? How about with a bloomy rind as one option? But because these cheeses are so highly lactic they are also highly acidic meaning it takes a longer time to develop the bloomy rind so the addition of ash or charcoal will help reduce the acidic bent of the cheese so that the white mold grows more efficiently.

So what do I mean when I say ash? 

Ash in this context means wood or any vegetable substance that is burned in an open area producing a highly alkaline material -- obviously utilized to counteract the goat's milk acidity. Charcoal obviously would be the same sort of substance just crafted in a situation with limited air supply.

What sort of flavor profile does the ash create?

A rustic, slightly smoky and farmsteady bent that is crisp and flavorful, but not overpowering. 

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