How Is Blue Cheese Made? Everything You Need To Know About It

Anusuya Mukherjee
Oct 20, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Nov 03, 2021
Tasty blue cheese on a wooden background
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.5 Min

Cheese has been a favorite ingredient among several cultures and in different forms, but only certain people understand the uniqueness of blue cheese.

It is a marriage of dynamic flavors that only takes your taste buds on a joyous ride, leaving your palate content and stratified. On the contrary, some are assuredly disgusted by the smell or even flavor of blue cheese, and why they detest it is completely justifiable.

Admirers, as well as haters of blue cheese, have probably wondered what gives blue cheese its significant streaked appearance and strong flavor, which is why we have compiled the entire process of making this cheese to help you understand what goes into making it. There's no need to live in doubt about what goes into making blue cheese anymore!

Keep reading and judge for yourself whether you want to give it another shot!

If you love reading random bits of knowledge, take a look at why do pipes burst and why do your ears pop.

What is blue cheese?

Blue cheese is a delicacy from centuries ago that was said to have been discovered by mistake. It has a distinct smell, as well as flavor, and marbled, green-blue veins appearance, which varies depending on the type of Penicillium bacteria used. Blue cheeses include a wide variety such as Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Stilton, and Danablu, the list can go on.

It is believed that the first blue cheese, Roquefort, was discovered after a boy abandoned his meal in a cave, which consisted of a loaf of bread and ewes' milk cheese, in pursuit of a pretty girl he saw in the distance.

After returning to the cave, he found that the cheese had ripened into Roquefort in the presence of Penicillium roqueforti, which was due to the spores from the mold formed on the bread.

An additional reason why the sheep's cheese transformed into blue cheese is that it was found in a naturally temperature-controlled cave with accurate moisture content, offering favorable environments.

Stilton cheese is among the new-age blue cheeses, whereas Gorgonzola has been traced way back to AD 879, but it was observed that this blue cheese wasn't blue-veined until the 11th century.

How to make blue cheese dressing?

Blue cheese is made from goat's, cow's, or sheep's milk which has been aged with the mold Penicillium roqueforti. The cheese is later allowed to ripen with these cultures with different processes depending on the specific variety. The curing duration and type of bacteria give all the varieties their distinctive flavor, smell, and texture.

It all starts when raw cow's, goat's, or sheep's milk goes through pasteurization, followed by the addition of a mold culture to convert the lactose into lactic acid, which in turn transforms the milk from liquid to solid.

Later, rennet is added to curdle the milk and these curds are then cut to release all the whey protein, which is later drained and formed into cheese wheels.

The actual blue cheese is made when Penicillium roqueforti and salt are sprinkled over the cheese to prevent spoilage, and roughly after 60-90 days of aging goes into yet another tricky process.

The characteristic blue veins form after the cheese has been 'spiked' using stainless steel rods to allow air inside for oxygen circulation and increase mold growth.

Although the process is roughly the same, the crumbly or creamy texture, thick to fine veins, and marvelous flavor of each type of blue cheese depend on the type of milk used and the feed of the livestock before milking them.

In addition, every cheese maker in the world uses a slightly different technique which gives you variations even among blue cheeses like Roquefort, Gorgonzola, or Stilton cheese.

Tasty blue cheese with basil on paper

What does blue cheese taste like?

Of course, the impeccable marbling is the most striking feature of blue cheese, but the flavor palate with its textures that range from creamy to crumbly, and the characteristic aroma of these cheeses are simply a step higher.

The most prominent flavor of this food is usually tagged as sharp and salty, but it may vary depending on the different types of blue cheeses.

To understand the flavor of blue cheese better, let's take the example of the commonly produced Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and Stilton.

Gorgonzola is considered a full-flavored blue cheese with hints of saltiness, and an underlying earthy flavor, making it a perfect flavor additive for many foods or even interesting pasta filling recipes. Roquefort takes the traditional blue cheese flavor more seriously, with its noticeable sharp, salty taste.

It also has tangy hints with a creamy texture, making it an amazing salad topping or even an ingredient for dressings.

Lastly, Stilton is a blue cheese with a nutty aftertaste and may produce a pasty feel in your mouth. It has a complex flavor with an almost sharp, salty finish with a semi-soft, moist texture.

Overall, the variety of textures and flavors among all the types of blue cheese are a result of different methods used when the curds are produced, with how much oxygen-rich air is at play, as well as the aging period.

How long does blue cheese last?

Knowing how to store cheeses, and the shelf life of blue cheese more specifically, is a must because you certainly don't want to eat any cheese that has gone bad. Under ideal circumstances, a packaged block of blue cheese will last up to six months and maybe a few weeks more from the production date.

If it's an opened block of cheese, you've got about three to four weeks to finish it before it goes bad.

Blue cheese with a crumbly texture usually has a longer shelf life, which means it can last for up to six months, and if the package is sealed, it may remain fresh for two to three weeks more. However, after opening, it is best to use the cheese within a week.

If you're still unsure, watch out for a sign to check if it has gone bad. If fuzzy mold or an altered coloration has developed, you want to toss that cheese straight into the garbage bin.

Similarly, if there is a stronger pungent odor or it has become crusty, again, the cheese is not recommended for use.

Sometimes, a pinkish hue may be seen, which is safe to eat as long as it's within the expiration date. If consumed fresh, blue cheese's health benefits and impeccable flavor are to die for.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for how is blue cheese made then why not take a look at why do we fast or why do people dance.

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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