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.