Cheese Mold

The magic of cheese mold

It's amazing what a little cheese mold can do. Add the right mold to a vat of milk curd and, voilà, you've got blue cheese, blue cheddar, or gorgonzola. Or coat your cheese with Penicillium camemberti and it won't be long ‘til you're sampling the wonderful white rind of a camembert or some other bloomy rind beauty.

In Wisconsin, we're mad for cheese mold. We love all the pungent flavors and earthy aromas that mold brings to the table. If it's quesadillas or nacho night, we're fine with the mild flavors of a baby swiss or monterey jack. But when it's time to take our taste buds for a night out in flavor town, we're hanging with the moldy cheeses every time.

Take a walk around our website to meet some of Wisconsin's most famous cheeses made with mold. Search our index for recipes for a creamy blue cheese dressing or smoked cheddar mac and cheese. Get answers to all your cheesy questions like "How is feta cheese made?", "How is parmesan cheese made?", and "Can a person live on cheese alone?" Or scroll down for an in-depth look at the magic of cheese mold in the cheesemaking process.

Making cheese with mold

Lots of cheeses use mold at different stages of the cheesemaking process. Cheese molds basically fall into two categories: white and blue.

Blue cheese molds like Penicillium roqueforti and Penicillium glaucum are responsible for most of the blue cheese varieties in the world. These molds can thrive in environments with very little oxygen, which makes them perfect for growing in the tiny cracks that exist throughout a ripening cheese. When making blue cheese, the cheesemaker adds the mold to the milk early in the cheesemaking process. During the aging process, the cheese is pierced with needles, bringing oxygen into the center of the cheese and allowing the blue-green veins of the blue cheese mold to grow.

White cheese molds like Penicillium camemberti are used to make bloomy rind cheeses like brie and camembert. The rind is coated with the white cheese mold during the aging process, encouraging the cheese to form the velvety, edible rind these cheeses are famous for.

Videos: Discover Your Next Favorite Cheese

FAQs: What is cheese mold?

What is cheese mold?

Cheese mold is a collection of molds that are used by cheesemakers throughout the cheesemaking and cheese aging process. Cheese mold is one of the few ingredients in cheese, along with milk, salt, starter culture, and rennet. Starter cultures have bacteria that transform lactose in the milk into lactic acid, while rennet enzymes in cheese coagulate the milk to separate curds from whey.

Is cheese mold the same as bacteria?

No. Molds are a type of fungi, while bacteria are not. Both fall under the category of "microbes" that are essential to cheesemaking.

What is good cheese mold vs. bad mold?

Good mold is the stuff that's used to make blue cheese and bloomy rind cheese. Bad cheese mold is the stuff you see on fresh cheeses like cream cheese, ricotta, cottage cheese, and shredded cheese in the refrigerator. You should never eat a fresh cheese with bad mold, as it can make you sick. If you see mold on a hard cheese like parmesan or asiago, you can simply eliminate the mold off by cutting 1 inch from the outside of the cheese.

Why cheese mold tastes better in Wisconsin

When you want to taste the product of some really good cheese mold, choose a cheese from Wisconsin. Our cheesemakers have been obsessively making the world's finest cheese for 180 years, and obsession is what you want when it comes to cheese mold. Working with this stuff is pure science, and our makers are the best cheese scientists in the world.

Of course, that's what you'd expect in a state where you need a license to make cheese, and from a place that has the only master cheesemaking program in the world outside of Switzerland. So, just make sure your blue or bloomy rind cheese has a Proudly Wisconsin Cheese badge on the label. That way you know you'll be sampling the best that cheese mold has to offer.

Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?

Back to Categories

Wisconsin Cheese Feed

Check out the world’s largest cheese platform.

Join our
ever-expanding Cheese Feeds:

View our Current Issue

View Now